author: ethan butterfield | a&c editor
Marvel-lous / Marvel Studios
“If you go out in the woods today…”
When establishing a thriving cinematic universe, it’s important to have all the key aspects in place. Intrigue, conflict, a fanbase that’s just a little too into it (trust me, I’m a fan of the Alien series). Very rarely though, does a cinematic universe get to a point where it’s next release is more important than eating your next meal. Alas, with big–budget franchises like Star Wars, the DC Cinematic Universe, Transformers, The Conjuring Universe, and, of course, the Marvel Cinematic Universe now taking over the silver screen, I feel as though there’s going to be a lot of missed meals in the coming years.
Now, this isn’t a bad thing, at least in terms of entertainment value as, hypothetically, the gravy train on these universes will probably never slow down. At the same time, we are beginning (to approach the limit ofwhat we as viewers can take in from these universes. Case and point, the Transformers franchise. Recent-ish (Dec. 21, 2018), the newest film in the series, Bumblebee, was released to some truly great reviews. Critics and fans of the franchise (the ones that saw it) considered it to be a comeback, deeming it a breath of fresh air in a fucking CGI-based nightmare. However, as mentioned before, not many people saw the film upon its release. Why? Well it’s the fatigue element that I mentioned before. Long story short, after five, two–hour–plus long films of machines colliding with other machines in what I can only describe as white noise, the appeal of going to such a film starts to wear thin.
We’re not here to talk about Transformers though; we’re here to talk about another series that’s closely approaching the fatigue limit for fans, the Marvel cinematic universe. Yes, it won’t be long now before the eventual release of Marvel’s juggernaut, end-of-times feature, Endgame. The film is set to destroy box office records, make more money then exists in the world (I don’t think that’s factually correct, so don’t take my word on that), and reduce every single person in the theater to ugly, ugly, crying. Too accurate? With the film release so close, there’s a lot of excitement and anticipation to see it. However, when the film ends, the lights come up, and the dust settles (Infinity War pun anyone? No? Cool.) what will happen after?
Now we get the meat of it. For fans of the franchise such as I, who have kept up with the universe since Iron Man back in 2008, will Endgame be the end of our viewing for the Marvel choice cuts? I want to say no, but after 21 films in this series, I feel like I need to take a step back and let my eyes rest, you know? The characters, the settings, the interesting villains and the not-so-good ones, it’s all been a wild ride, but now that we’re so close to the end, I think I’m ready to hop off.
As well, the hype machine going into this film has been a different type of fatigue all together. Article after article, retweet after retweet, and share after share, the fanbase has been consistently feeding each other more news and more intrigue with regard to Endgame. Long story short, the process is borderline exhausting on the emotional spectrum. There’s no way I can ever be excited for another Marvel film, the way I (and I’m sure many others) are excited for Endgame. I understand that there’s still exciting Marvel films on the way, such as Spider-Man: Far from Home and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3 (with James Gunn, might I add), but in comparison to the type of film that Endgame represents, it doesn’t feel like those, or other Marvel films, will measure up.
Regardless of my feelings of fatigue toward the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Disney will continue to make the films until either the planet explodes, or they stop making money… well, shit. On a more serious note, though, with the endgame approaching, it certainly does feel like the right time to back out of the universe if you need an extended vacation. And you know what? You can hop back in at any time, whether it’s the new Ant-Man film, the new Doctor Strange film, or the new Captain Marvel film, the Marvel universe will always have something for you to come back to.
So, with all that being said, I think it’s reasonable enough to say that, even if you’re a massive fan of the MCU, the air of fatigue is finally starting to hit. I mean, I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face, there are 21 films in this franchise! Twenty-one bloody superhero films in this bloody series… *sigh*, and I love every minute of it.