« Home | One of the Big Two's modern PC writers admits sale... » | SJWs hijack Spider-Verse sequel to desecrate Gwen ... » | Documentary about Stan Lee at Tribeca film festiva... » | Jason Aaron continues the modern PC defamation of ... » | Image's union workers turn against them in labor c... » | J. Michael Straczynski returns to Marvel to script... » | Elon Musk's comparison of George Soros to Magneto ... » | Islamist in Europe creates transsexual Muslim supe... » | Manga translator arrested for child pornography gi... » | Russia bankrolls a comics contest villifying Ukraine » 

Friday, June 09, 2023 

How Marvel's movieverse supposedly devoured Hollywood

That's what a whole article at the New Yorker is telling, as they detail some history of how it was all built up, yet won't get into how, in the past few years, it's being built down:
Growing up in Missouri, Christopher Yost had boxes of Marvel comic books, which his mother bought at the grocery store. None of his friends read Marvel; it was his own private world, a “sprawling story where all these characters lived in this universe together,” he recalled. Wolverine could team up with Captain America; Doctor Doom could fight the Red Skull. Unlike the DC comics, whose heroes (Superman, Batman) towered like gods, Marvel’s were relatably human, especially Peter Parker, a.k.a. Spider-Man. “He’s got money problems and girl problems, and his aunt May is always sick,” Yost said. “Every time you think he’s going to live this big, glamorous superhero life, it’s not that way. He’s a grounded, down-to-earth dude. The Marvel characters always seem to have personal problems.”
Seriously, the descriptions they're giving of DC's heroes is ridiculous. They may not have focused on personal problems like Marvel's did, but to say they "tower like gods"? That makes it sound like they were literally immortal, which was not the case; they had weaknesses, screwed up at times while fighting the baddies, and not only was Superman vulnerable to Kryptonite radiation, he was also vulnerable to magical energies. Why, even the claim May Parker was "always sick" is also an exaggeration, and Mr. Yost might want to examine what a fiasco Spidey and other Marvel books became since the turn of the century, all because some PC advocates decided Peter shouldn't be married, or retain success in his plainclothes careers, but what's really telling is the contempt heaped upon Mary Jane Watson. And they're clearly oblivious to how recent Marvel is more like a whole Mary Sue, so what's that about personal problems? Today, it's only on the political level. The way they reduce this to a whole superficial perception is repulsive.
Twenty years ago, few people would have bet that a struggling comic-book company would turn a bunch of second-string superheroes into movie icons—much less swallow the film industry whole. Yet the Marvel phenomenon has yanked Hollywood into a franchise-drunk new era, in which intellectual property, more than star power or directorial vision, drives what gets made, with studios scrambling to cobble together their own fictional universes. The shift has come at a perilous time for moviegoing. Audiences, especially since the pandemic, are seeing fewer films in the theatre and streaming more from home, forcing studios to lean on I.P.-driven tentpoles like “The Super Mario Bros. Movie.” Kevin Goetz, the founder of Screen Engine, which studies audience behavior, pointed to Marvel’s sense of “elevated fun” to explain why it gets people to the theatre: “They’re carnival rides, and they’re hefty carnival rides.”
And few would've thought the zygote would've been shoved into abuse and neglect even before they went Hollywood, with the Clone Saga spelling the deterioration of Spider-Man in 1995, the "teen Tony" in Iron Man leading to an awfully poor direction before the 1st volume was cancelled during the 1996 Onslaught crossover, and the Age of Apocalypse an example of decline for X-Men. Just what are they trying to get at, exactly? These very filmmakers hadn't a clue what would make the comics work well, didn't complain about the editorially mandated crossovers that injured much of the character focus they supposedly admired, and it's clear at this point they couldn't care less if the company had folded back in the day, even if it would've been for the best artistically. Also note how they bring up the way these popcorn blockbusters led to a situation where star power is suddenly not a selling point, let alone acting talent, further mentioned below:
Marvel’s success, he added, has “sucked the air out of” more human-scaled entertainments. Whole species of movies—adult dramas, rom-coms—have become endangered, since audiences are happy to wait and stream “Tár” or “Book Club: The Next Chapter,” or to get their grownup kicks from such series as “Succession” or “The White Lotus.” Yet even prestige television has become overrun with Marvel, “Star Wars,” and “The Lord of the Rings” series, which use the small screen to map out new corners of their trademarked galaxies. Hollywood writers, who are currently striking over the constricted economics of streaming, also complain of the constricted imaginations of TV executives: instead of searching for the next “Mad Men,” they’re hunting for Batman spinoffs.

Marvel’s fanciful house style has rubbed off even on Oscar winners. This year’s Best Picture, “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” had a Marvel-ish meld of walloping action, goofy humor, and multiverse mythology; it could have easily functioned as the origin story for a new Avenger. Marvel, meanwhile, has colonized nearly every other genre. “WandaVision” was a pastiche of classic sitcoms; “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law” was a feminist legal comedy. Detractors see the brand’s something-for-everyone approach as nefarious. An executive at a rival studio, who called the M.C.U. “the Death of All Cinema,” told me that the dominance of Marvel movies “has served to accelerate the squeezing out of the mid-range movie.” His studio’s comedies had been struggling at the box office, and he groused, “If people want a comedy, they’re going to go see ‘Thor’ or ‘Ant-Man’ as their comedy now.”
And PC's sucked the oxygen out of the Marvel movies themselves, as Thor 4 made clear, in example, so the studio executive's argument is not very accurate, and besides, this misses a much bigger, sadder picture: PC's been destroying the comedy genre, and if it's hurt both movie and TV comedies, chances are the Marvel movies have been affected as well. What's to laugh at then? Not a trip to the bank, that's for sure.
The result is a lot of hand-wringing over “the death of the movie star.” In an I.P.-driven ecosystem, individual stars no longer attract audiences to theatres the way they used to, with a handful of exceptions (Tom Cruise, Julia Roberts). You go to a Marvel movie to see Captain America, not Chris Evans. “It’s actually surprising to me how almost none of them have careers outside of the Marvel universe,” another agent said. “The movies don’t work. Look at all the ones Robert Downey, Jr., has tried to do. Look at Tom Holland. It’s been bomb after bomb after bomb.”

Marvel has similarly gobbled up screenwriters, special-effects artists, and workers from nearly every other profession in Hollywood—including directors, who are often snatched from other genres. Taika Waititi made the vampire mockumentary “What We Do in the Shadows” before getting placed in charge of Thor. Chloé Zhao went from moody, micro-budget Westerns to Marvel’s moody, macro-budget “Eternals.” Career paths that once led to Oscars now lead inexorably to the some-assembly-required world-building of the M.C.U. An agent who works with screenwriters complained, “I worry for the film industry, because, if you’re Chloé Zhao and you want to tell a story on a big canvas, mostly you’re limited to trying to tell it on a canvas of a big superhero.” He added, “It’s a pair of golden handcuffs.”

Dissenters have been loud. In 2019, Martin Scorsese pronounced Marvel movies “not cinema,” earning the undying enmity of comics fans. Last year, Quentin Tarantino lamented Marvel’s “choke hold” on Hollywood and said, “You have to be a hired hand to do those things.” When I mentioned this comment to Joe and Anthony Russo, brothers who directed four Marvel movies, including the highest grossing, “Avengers: Endgame,” Anthony said, “I don’t know if Quentin feels like he was born to make a Marvel movie, which is maybe why he would feel like a hired hand doing it. It depends on your relationship to the source material.” Joe added, “What fulfills us the most is building a sense of community around our work.” People involved in Marvel projects often talk about “playing in the sandbox,” which is another way of saying that the brand takes precedence over any individual voice—except that of Feige, the affable face of the franchise.

Industry people like to speculate about “Marvel fatigue,” which is mostly wishful thinking—though a recent series of creative missteps and corporate machinations have rivals salivating. As much as competitors gripe about Marvel, though, they’ve spent the past decade trying to emulate it. Marvel’s nemesis, DC Studios, which is owned by Warner Bros., has a hit-or-miss record, with often gritty, self-serious movies that lack Marvel’s zip and quality control. Last year, Warner Bros. brought in James Gunn (who directed Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy) and Peter Safran to reboot DC’s film universe, presumably in the image of the M.C.U. Sony, which shares the Spider-Man franchise with Marvel, is building out its Spider-verse with characters like Venom. In 2017, Universal announced its own Dark Universe, based on its classic monsters, such as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Russell Crowe) and the Invisible Man (Johnny Depp). After the first installment—“The Mummy,” starring Tom Cruise—disappointed, the plan was scrapped.
Sounds like apologia for the social justice direction they've recently taken, since they don't see fit to mention any of it. All they do is cite Eternals without acknowledging the movie was one of the first real failures in the film franchise, that does a terrible injustice to Jack Kirby's creations. Though it's certainly funny how they admit one of the biggest mistakes DC's movies made was forcing the same darkness they foisted upon their comics post-2000 onto the movies as well, some of which have their own share of PC ingredients, and that's not brought up by contrast.
Thirty-odd films later, Marvel’s critics (and even some fans) groan at the formula. There’s the climactic C.G.I. slugfest, often pitting a good iron man against a bad iron man, or a good dragon against a bad dragon, or a good witch against a bad witch. There’s the self-referential shtick, the interchangeable villains. There are presumed-dead characters who reappear, as on a soap opera. Most plots boil down to “Keep glowy thing away from bad guy,” and the stakes are nothing less than the fate of the world, which come to feel like no stakes at all.
Well they're definitely no longer entertaining, that's for sure. But if they believe villains should be at the forefront of a focus next, I will absolutely not support that, because villain worship's been going too far over past years as it is.
Origin Story No. 3: another resurrection. In 1989, the billionaire Ron Perelman, notorious for his hostile takeover of Revlon, scooped up Marvel for $82.5 million, calling it a “mini-Disney in terms of intellectual property.” But he considered movies too risky. Instead, he padded out the entity, renamed Marvel Entertainment Group, with trading-card and sticker acquisitions. By the mid-nineties, Marvel’s famed “bullpen” of comic-book writers and artists had lost many of its star talents, and the bulk of the staff was laid off. Incensed by the declining quality, fans boycotted. Compounding Marvel’s financial woes, a Major League Baseball strike tanked the trading-card business. By the fourth quarter of 1996, Marvel was posting losses of four hundred million dollars. The stock price plummeted. Perelman filed for Chapter 11. [...]
This glosses over - and certainly fails to clearly mention - that declining story quality and art continued even after they'd gone into bankruptcy, and certainly when they were later bought out by Disney. Though as many would probably agree, it would've been better if Marvel had closed down as a comics publisher if that's what it took to avoid the far-left fiasco they've become ever since. Or, they could've abandoned the monthly pamphlet format, switched to trade-only, and that would've been a start for a better business model. Alas, it's all meaningless to these press sources.
In early 2009, Maisel met with his former colleague Bob Iger, who had become the C.E.O. of Disney. Without consulting Perlmutter, Maisel suggested that Disney buy the newly ascendant Marvel. Perlmutter was assured that Disney would preserve Marvel’s corporate culture, as it had with Pixar, and that he would remain its chief executive. The acquisition was finalized on the last day of the year. Maisel resigned, fifty million dollars richer. “I wanted to leave and live a life—find a wife, which I still haven’t done,” he told me. He’d installed Feige as the studio’s president and figured that the franchise was in good hands, though he seems bewildered by how Feige’s contributions have eclipsed his own. “Kevin was a kid who I promoted, and I was his biggest fan,” Maisel said. “But Kevin wasn’t even in the room where it happened.” He’s currently planning a new universe of animated musicals based on Greek and Roman myths, starting with Justin Bieber as Cupid.
"Corporate"? Well that's certainly telling too, seeing where they've been going ever since. What they didn't preserve was meritocracy. That's been thrown away for the sake of social justice propaganda too. And how did Feige's "contributions" eclipse Meisel's? I think it was already mentioned.

There's really nothing in this puff piece that we haven't been lectured about before, and it makes no attempt to explore why the Marvel movie franchise is now on its way down, as are the comics too, and have been for a long time, no thanks to their SJW pandering. This article merely represents a pro-establishment viewpoint minus any respect for fandom, let alone the original comics.

Labels: , , , , , ,

About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
My profile

Archives

Links

  • avigreen2002@yahoo.com
  • Fansites I Created

  • Hawkfan
  • The Greatest Thing on Earth!
  • The Outer Observatory
  • Earth's Mightiest Heroines
  • The Co-Stars Primer
  • Realtime Website Traffic

    Comic book websites (open menu)

    Comic book weblogs (open menu)

    Writers and Artists (open menu)

    Video commentators (open menu)

    Miscellanous links (open menu)

  • W3 Counter stats
  • Click here to see website statistics
  • Bio Link page
  • blog directory Bloggeries Blog Directory View My Stats Blog Directory & Search engine eXTReMe Tracker Locations of visitors to this page  
    Flag Counter

    This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

    make money online blogger templates

Older Posts Newer Posts

The Four Color Media Monitor is powered by Blogspot and Gecko & Fly.
No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.
Join the Google Adsense program and learn how to make money online.