The Marvel Cinematic Universe is the Starbucks of film franchises, a brand that became famous for giving the public what it wanted while using its huge profits to spread its influence across the globe. Whether in print, on television or at your local multiplex, the Mighty Marvel is inescapable.
This is both a good and bad thing. Good because, at the time of writing, Marvel Studios has yet to produce as soulless a picture as George Lucas’ Howard The Duck. Bad because, as Jennifer Lawrence fans know, familiarity breeds contempt.
Since 2008, there have been 11 MCU features, with another 11 slated for future release. 2014 gave us Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians Of The Galaxy, which between them grossed $1.5 billion. If the MCU were sugar, your mother would freak out.
As Brian Keane, who wrote Dead Of Night: Devil Slayer for Marvel’s MAX imprint, points out, there are only so many stories you can tell within a fictional universe. Once you reach a certain point, awe gives way to banality and as desperation sets in, the whole lumbering mess tumbles into self-parody.
To follow, you will find 10 reasons why the Mighty Marvel should consider taking a sabbatical after the completion of Phase 3.
10. Marvel Fatigue Is Setting In
Reviewing Captain America: The Winter Soldier, critic Kenneth Turan diagnosed himself as suffering from “a frightening disease, one that can strike suddenly, without a whisper of warning.” It’s called Marvel Fatigue.
According to Turan, clinicians have defined the ailment as “a bone weariness at having the relentless MCU pound its formulaic product at you film after film after film for what seems like forever.” Symptoms include a mounting sense of horror at the prospect of the franchise continuing ad infinitum.
In discovering and exploiting a foolproof formula, Turan says, Marvel just wants to be like the evil folks at HYDRA and rule the world. “The way things are going,” he concludes, “they have a good shot at it.”