Yeah, I said it. I don’t like Marvel movies. What heresy is this? Is it just a movement by me to try to be hipster, not following mainstream entertainment? Or am I just attempting to be controversial for no particular reason? No, my friends, I am in fact a lover of all mediums of entertainment, and there are quite a few modern films that I have found to be very creative and well-done. However, Marvel, which is now dominating TV, theaters, and Netflix, is not among the movie-makers that I find to be putting out films that I can enjoy. What follows is why I hold these views, but keep in mind that by now, I have decided not to watch any more Marvel films, and I’ve only seen the films up to the first Avengers (with a couple of exceptions), so I’m not claiming to know all about Marvel, only what I have seen.
I’ve never been a comic-book enthusiast, so granted, I don’t know alot of backstory on these heroes that are so popular nowadays. However, being a huge fan of old-time radio shows, I have heard a significant amount of radio canon for these heroes, which for the most part attempted to merely add onto what the comics already had. At the very least, I got a taste of the personalities of these heroes and what they were all about. But the Marvel films don’t do that. Naturally, they mix the comic-book canons together (while tweaking bits of them and adding stuff on), but the films don’t give me a sense of revisiting a classic well-loved hero from back in the day, nor do they seem to be paying homage to these heroes and their former popularity. The films to me seem to just be attempting to make Marvel alot of money, which obviously is the goal of any movie, but rather than also share a goal of creativity and originality, Marvel looks like they’re just relying on the success of the films/shows based on whether or not audiences believe they’re good. And it seems right now that if Marvel says it’s good, people automatically believe it. Come on, Guardians of the Galaxy was all a special effects show. I was never once engaged with the story of it.
One of the coolest things I always found about superheroes was that it didn’t take place in the real world. It was always a slightly alternative reality, and the placement of comic book characters in the early to mid twentieth century also gave it an engaging atmosphere. I didn’t have to take the stories seriously, I only had to enjoy them to get the most out of them. Even recent films like The Incredibles and even dumb ones like Megamind kept this not-quite-real aura. But Marvel films, and especially their shows, put the heroes in the real real world, in the early twenty-first century, attempting to make the show realistic enough that we’ll buy it. We have to take the show seriously in order to get the most out of it. And that leads me to the to the biggest problem I tend to have.
Marvel films and shows send a message the likes of which the superhero world of entertainment has never seen. You see, in all the books and radio shows, and in the classic films and early TV shows that were spawned directly from the books, the heroes always swooped in and saved the day. The audience of the early and middle twentieth century had the mindset that naturally, we all need a saviour, in some way or another. Now fast-forward to today’s Marvel films and shows, which present these heroes as not only living in the same time and world as you and I, but also who are alot like us. Yeah, we need a saviour, but so do they, because let’s face it, they’re not the best of people. I don’t even need to cite Deadpool as a prime example of this… even though I just did. Even Captain America, the most morally upright of the Avengers, can’t be anything more than petty around Tony Stark! But even with all their flaws, they still manage to come through in the end and save everyone, including themselves. Did you catch that? They save themselves. These films communicate that even with all their flaws, all of their human attributes, they can be their own saviour… just like you, dear audience member. But do you really feel like you can save yourself from every situation? I certainly don’t.
Well, how about it: have I ruffled your feathers yet? I truly think that while Marvel movies do seem to provide entertainment to a degree, the whole takeover of Marvel in recent years is nothing more than a money-sucker, with special effects so good that the movie must be, and that creates the tendency to like a film or show just because it’s Marvel, and what do you know? Marvel’s whole technique proves successful. And all the while, what message are they really sending through these films? There’s my two cents: just a little, one-thousand word bit to think about.