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Monday, April 21, 2014

Why Marvel Hasn't Made A Good Movie Since The Avengers

WARNING: This post contains spoilers.

Marvel has a license to print money. The Avengers is the 3rd highest grossing film ever in America bringing in about $625 million dollars. Its first follow up in this Avengers franchise was Iron Man 3. Shane Black's version of Iron Man is the 14th highest grossing film all time racking up a little over $400 million domestically. Thor: The Dark World did alright as it brought in a little over $200 million. Marvel's newest film in this franchise, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, has (as of the writing of this post) has brought in $200 million within its first 3 weeks. America can't get enough of what Marvel is producing. The problem, is that these 3 Marvel films since The Avengers have not been very good. Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier are all not good films. Despite the praise and (for some reason) the high Rotten Tomatoes score, these are not good movies.

Now in fairness, the only Marvel film in this franchise before The Avengers worth a damn was Jon Favreau's Iron Man. I think Edward Norton's The Incredible Hulk was excellent as well, but the Hulk series seems to be culturally adjacent from the Iron Man/Thor/Captain America/The Avengers films. Iron Man 2 and the original Captain America and Thor flicks were not very good either. They were great to help set up The Avengers, but on its own, they were just "eh".

However, the biggest problem (creatively) Marvel seems to have post-Avengers is that they don't properly address every other film that came before it. Most notably, it treats these sequels as stand alone sequels to these particular franchises as opposed to treating them as sequels to The Avengers. Iron Man 3 uses the battle in New York of The Avengers to address the psychological issues of Tony Stark, which was great, but there was still this entire world where neither S.H.I.E.L.D. nor Bruce Banner nor Captain America even bothers to help. The President of the United States of America gets publicly kidnapped and the only person who comes to his rescue is Iron Man. Marvel super-producer Keven Fiege claims the events in Iron Man 3 and Captain America: The Winter Soldier take place at the same exact time, which helps to explain why only Iron Man is there to help. But nowhere is this explained AT ALL in either of the 2 films. That's actually a reasonable explanation, so adding one extra scene wouldn't kill anyone.

Now Iron Man had many other problems as well. Even if the other members of The Avengers did come to the rescue, it still would not have been a good movie. But still, The Avengers created this massive world and sets up these rules yet fails to follow up on those rules in it's next feature length film. I understand from a movie making stand point why other Marvel characters weren't in it, but it didn't make any sense from a story stand point.

Next up in the post-Avengers films came Thor: The Dark World. The Thor franchise is by far and away the worst of these Avengers stand alone films. Despite Loki being an excellent bad guy and Chris Hemsworth being a compelling presence on screen, the whole Thor world in and of itself is not very appealing. The mix of old school Greek mythology, outer space, and aliens creates a line of films that doesn't make sense and doesn't entice viewers. Thor: The Dark World had by far and away the easiest task of creating a stand alone sequel rather than a sequel to The Avengers considering how far and away the action in this world (pun intended) takes place. The Dark World's problem was just that it was garbage script filled with every action movie cliche and a story filled with scenes solely created as plot devices. Even still, Thor also had the easiest task of create a sequel to The Avengers considered the villain in the original Thor and the villain in The Avengers is the same character. Yet the Thor franchise barely acknowledged it and just tried to recreate a hackney superhero movie.

Lastly, we have Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It's better than its Captain America prequel as well as Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World, but it's biggest and most glaring flaws come from the fact that it refuses to address this world at large. Rather, it addresses it like Easter Eggs in other films as opposed to treating it as rules this universe created. The main villain so to speak is HYRDA, the Nazi government agency Steve Rodgers fought in its prequel- which took place 65-70 years before the events of any other Avengers movie. This makes sense in terms of just a straight up Captain America prequel, but its freaking mind boggling when you consider all these films that came before it. If most of S.H.I.E.L.D. is truly run by HYRDA moles, then that means HYRDA hid in plain sight to allow S.H.I.E.L.D. to accomplish so many great things as well as allowing it to save Earth from an alien invasion only to rear its ugly head for one play and hope the litany of super heroes that they helped come into existence in this world to not ruin their one play. It's possible HYRDA is just the stupidest organization to exist, but the more logical explanation is that this Marvel world is not as well constructed as Kevin Fiege would have you to believe.

Or it could just be that Marvel couldn't give a two cents about how good their films are, because when you're making this kind of dough, you can do whatever you want. Hell, I stupidly paid to see Iron Man 3 and Captain America: The Winter Solder in the theater. I also wish critics could see the larger world and not tricking me into thinking I'm about to watch a good film. 


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