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Opinion: Marvel Has Officially Ruined Superhero Movies

Call it an unpopular opinion. In fact, based on the definition of the word, it might be one of the least popular opinions in movie history. Want to see how unpopular it is? Here we go: Three billion four hundred fifty-nine million four hundred fifteen thousand eight hundred eight dollars. That insane number is what the last 11 Marvel films have grossed at the box office. This number leaves out the work Sony did with Spiderman (another $1,578,707,099) over the last decade.

A few times per year, millions upon millions of movie fans flock to theaters around the globe in an attempt to prove my statement incorrect. My gripe is more with Marvel than it is with any single film in this canon. On their own, movies like Iron Man or The Avengers are enjoyable. Grouped together they have become a jumbled mess of chaos, hell bent on milking every single dollar they can out of a once great comic book franchise.

It’s hard for me to separate my hatred for this canon from my hatred for the cookie cutter mentality that often engulfs Hollywood. It’s difficult for me to answer my own rhetorical questions. If these movies were all incredibly unique, with different innovative stories, would I feel the same way?

The cookie cutter approach isn’t a new thing in Hollywood. Three months after Olympus Has Fallen was released in 2013, Columbia came out with White House Down. When one disaster movie sees success at the box office, subsequent rip-offs are sure to follow. Again, this isn’t a new concept.

For Marvel it’s very different. Marvel is ripping off itself. Sure the writers, directors and even in some cases studios are different, but for some reason, the stories remain the same. Evil villain wants to destroy earth. Super heroes band together to try to stop them. And then to quote Borat, “GREAT SUCCESS!”

Recently I sat down with a few friends who enjoy these movies and asked them to tell me the plot of various movies from the current Marvel collection of films. There was immediate confidence, followed by lot’s of, “wait was that Captain America Winter Soldier or Iron Man 2?” It’s almost a joke now. While there is no definitive number, it is estimated that there have been over 30,000 comic book releases by Marvel since 1961. How could it be that with presumably millions of pages of superheroes and villains that a unique story line escapes experienced writers like Joss Whedon and Christopher Markus?

By 2019, nine more movies will join this ever expanding pantheon. In addition to a third Thor, third Captain America and second Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel will add Dr. Strange, Black Panther and Captain Marvel to the lineup. Not to mention the planned double feature of Avengers: Infinity War Parts I and II, with releases in the summers of 2018 and 2019 respectively.

I’m sad to admit it but I’ve given up on Marvel. When I was a kid, X-Men was my favorite comic book. I read it, watched it and of course played with tons of toys. While I will see X-Men: Apocalypse, I have very little hope for it making me enjoy Marvel movies again (note that X-Men films were not included in this because they fall outside the Avengers story-line).

This leaves me with D.C. Comics. While I never liked Superman, Batman is an obvious win for not only comic book movies but movies in general. Christopher Nolan did a fantastic job with The Dark Knight trilogy and now Zack Snyder is rebooting it just a few years later. With a much smaller cast of characters to choose from, D.C. releases movies on a much slower schedule. In 2016 they’ll release Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad. 2017 will add two more films including the first of several Justice League movies and by 2018 The Flash will be added to the list.

My hope is that D.C. takes a slower, more tactical approach to their pantheon. They have done it slower all along, mostly by necessity. Now they will pick up the pace and try to match Marvel’s skyrocketing box office numbers. By 2019, Marvel will likely clear $10 billion in box office sales while their stories continue to be told over and over again.

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