James Cameron has warned against unnecessary superhero sequels, as a new Marvel film opens does he have a point?
On the surface it’s pretty rich for James Cameron to complain, as he did over the weekend, about Avengers fatigue, given that it now appears to be his one true purpose to hide us in so many unnecessary Avatar sequels that we all end up gagging on them, praying for even the merest smidgen of leniency.
But then again, maybe the man has a point. You could argue that his described in the Marvel oeuvre as” hyper-gonadal males without families doing death-defying things for two hours and wrecking metropolis in the process” isn’t altogether accurate. You could even argue that, a decade from now when the world’s oceans are clogged to exploding phase with discarded Avatar 3 lunchboxes, we might find ourselves hankering for a return to the glory periods of Iron Man 2. But, nonetheless, something resounds true.
Specifically, it reverberates true-life right now. Avengers: Infinity War is days away, and it’s a near-certainty that it’ll breaking box office records all over the place. Along with a sequel due next year, the film is being sold as the culmination of a decade-long storyline that started all the style back with the first Iron Man film. If “youre watching” Infinity War Parts 1 and 2, you’re going to watch the end of something. A sense of finality thunders through the marketing, with the heavy suggestion that characters we’ve become familiar with will wind up dead.
And, if that is actually was the end, this is gonna be terrific. If these Avengers films marked the definitive end of the Marvel Cinematic Universe- if they were a great big full stop that tied everything up into a perfect meet bow- then it’d really be worth getting excited about. But they won’t be a full stop. They’ll be a comma, followed by more of the same.
This is where Avengers fatigue might kick in. Because rebuilding the cinematic universe after the events of Infinity War and its follow-up entails stimulating more origin narratives. And, dear God, origin tales are the absolute living worst.
To my mind, two of the least successful Marvel films have been Ant-Man and Doctor Strange. And this is because we’ve had to go through the tedious cookie-cutter rigmarole of reading who these people are and how they came here get their skills. In a two-hour movie, at least a third of it is going to be handed over to pleasantries, and that can really punch a pit in your pleasure. And we’ve got to go through this all over again with Captain Marvel, and lord knows how many other post-Infinity War films featuring new heroes. It’s wearying.
Happily, there are lanes around it. Captain America: Civil War was smart-alecky enough to act as a soft origin tale for Black Panther, utilizing a handful of well-placed scenes to introduce the character among the melee of the rest of the cinema, so that when Black Panther proper came out, we were already more or less up to speed.
Better yet was what Marvel did with Spider-Man: Homecoming. That film was smart enough to realise that we’ve already been clattered over the brain with Peter Parker’s origin story countless periods before. There was no spider bite. No Uncle Ben. No lecturings about power and responsibility. Instead, we were just tos into a fast, fun, goofy movie. And, as a result, Homecoming ranks as one of Marvel’s best.
Marvel would do well to remember this once all the 20 th Century Fox properties land in its lap. We won’t crave another retelling of how the Fantastic Four got their powers, or the history of antagonism between Magneto and Professor X. That stuff has already been done to fatality. Instead, they should just hit the ground running. Start all the movies in act two. We can catch up. We’ve had a decade of discovering how this works.
If Marvel can do this after Infinity Wars 1 and 2, it might be able to stave off James Cameron’s dark admonishes of tirednes. If it doesn’t, and we have to start all over again from the beginning, then there’ll be hassle. Not that we won’t watch the new Marvel films, of course. Given the choice of that or a glut of Avatar sequels, it’s an easy choice.
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