With glowing reviews for The Avengers beginning to surface, I can’t help but wonder if the films May 4th release date will mark the end of Marvel’s movie madness, or if it will be just the beginning? In my opinion this is it; anything post-Avengers will pale in comparison. I mean, how can you reach the pinnacle of the super hero genre with a team driven dynamic (of epic proportions), one that has been building through five separate preceding films and then go back to making standalone features, especially if those features are required to service the narrative of the bigger world? If I could use fireworks as an example: The Avengers will be the grand finale. Would you want to go back to sparklers and firecrackers after seeing a wide-eyed spectacle in the sky?
Call me shallow. Call me cynical. But I feel like if Marvel keeps forcing new characters on us, like Ant-Man, or Luke Cage solely in an effort to further the overall Avengers story or if they keep trotting out hollow sequels purely for their connective tissue to the next film, well… then I’d rather that they didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I love comic book movies, I love Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor, Captain America and so on. I want to see more of them, but I really can’t fathom what more there is to explore and I worry that that means we are in for some derivative shit .
Honestly, I think Marvel fears this too, why else would we be hearing Marvel President Kevin Feige constantly gab about how Marvel plans to shake things up with future films. For example, here’s what Feige said about the direction of Iron Man 3 (via ABC News) :
“It’s going to be very different, very unique and I think not ascribe to any specific formula that [moviegoers] think they may have pegged us on. It’s all in the story. It’s where you take Tony Stark on his journey in an unexpected way and have him come out of [‘The Avengers’] a slightly changed individual, which people will see when they see the movie.”
While I admire the intent for incomparable-ness, I’m not confident that they can exceed or step away from the precedence of the first two films. Could Tony’s problems be that much more compelling? Let’s not forget that these films do have a ceiling, a self imposed cap on the depths of a characters despair, how dark they can get, and how far they can go. We’d all like to believe that The Dark Knight was gritty and hard, but in reality it earned its PG-13, and like the Marvel films, it was desperate too. Nobody buys their kids action figures and tie-in products for moody, bleak, and adult superhero movies and thats why a level of sameness is to be expected, because you can only run so far when you’re in a cage and Feige isn’t going to likely going to let Downey Jr. and writer/director Shane Black slip the chain.
And that’s Iron Man, the badboy, the character that has already displayed the most cinematic depth — lord knows what Marvel has in store for the Captain America and Thor sequels. .
Anyhow, during a separate Avengers-related interview, Samuel L. Jackson offered the following insight about a potential S.H.I.E.L.D. movie (when prompted by MTV, that is):
“Natasha [a.k.a. Black Widow] is part of S.H.I.E.L.D., Hawkeye is part of S.H.I.E.L.D., and I couldn’t do a S.H.I.E.L.D. movie without those two people. They’re essential elements of what’s there… Now we know Agent [Maria] Hill is an essential element of S.H.I.E.L.D. so she would have to be there. And I’m still not sure if she’s the eyes and ears of the council hanging around inside their place and telling people, ‘We’ve got these superheroes over here!’ She wants my job. I can tell. She’s ambitious.
“… I don’t know how much of S.H.I.E.L.D. [Marvel] want[s] to expose…I mean, we’re not superheroes. We’re more of a shadow world. So, it would be more like ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’ with good toys—closer to a ‘Bond’ movie than a superhero movie.”
I know the Marvel fan-boys out there would blow their nerdy loads at the prospect of a S.H.I.E.L.D. movie, but isn’t that essentially what The Avengers is? Don’t you think the “mission accomplished” banner has been unfurled on that one?
This goes back to the overall point, Marvel has spent all this treasure and all of this time and burdened several films with pieces of the Avengers narrative to the point where at times this whole thing has felt like a giant BAF (build-a-figure) and now all they can do is repeat these steps or roll the dice, what do you think is more likely? Seems pretty obvious to me and that’s why I think Marvel should hold off on additional super hero films for awhile. I know it’s worth while for them to strike while the irons hot, but if they don’t pace themselves they’re going to repeat themselves and fritter away a lot of good faith that has been built up.
Additional words and opinion by Jason Tabrys.