The wonderful thing about being 53 years old is seeing history repeat itself. As someone who’s been a comic book nerd, gamer and movie junky, my experience has armed me with the power to see through the bs that comes with oversaturation. The masses are actually in shock that Disney comic book films are tanking at the box office. have been churning out high budget films with lackluster storylines for years and now are seeing diminished returns. Gone are the days when they can release a cookie cutter super hero film and make a billion dollars. Disney/Marvel rested on their laurels and started putting out processed content and now they are behind the eight ball.
I’m a huge fan of spaghetti westerns. I cut my teeth watching the Clint Eastwood “Dollars” films as a kid. When those movies aired, it was always a huge event for me. I still love the genre to this very day and there are many films I hold dear to my heart. The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, the original Django and Once Upon A Time In The West are my top westerns of all time. There’s a reason you don’t see many westerns anymore. Back in the 70’s, westerns weren’t unlike the comic book films of today. They were popular, made good money at the box office and the market was flooded with them. When the masses stopped paying to see the films, Hollywood went cold turkey and just stopped producing them. Oversaturation killed the desire for the mainstream audience to continue investing these films. After pondering my disappointment with Disney and reflecting the demise of mainstream westerns, I’ve known for a long time that this day would come.
I could go into a diatribe about how Disney is forcing diversity into their films instead of just telling good stories,, but that’s just a small part of the issue. The budgets for MCU films is outrageous. While the budgets have increased, the writing has gotten worse. They aren’t even trying anymore and just want to pump out as many films as possible. It worked for awhile, but smart moviegoers figured it out. Killing off 3 major characters did not help their cause.
Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark was arguably the most popular of the Avengers characters. The MCU began with Iron Man and killing him off started a downward spiral that they couldn’t recover from. Not only that, but they were bringing new characters in the fold that mainstream audiences have never heard of like the Eternals.
Black Panther was one of the few major black superheroes to hit the big screen and it made record sales at the box office. After Chadwick Bosman lost his life to cancer, Disney decided to not recast T’Challa and kill of the character. This is when I totally checked out. I was willing to give Disney hundreds of dollars to see the many adventures of T’Challa on the big screen. Killing a legendary fictional character off made no sense, especially when there are still many stories to be told. By doing this, Disney basically said they didn’t want my money.
While killing off Captain America wasn’t really a bad idea, they did it all wrong. I mean, he went back in time to save the world and he decided to stick around in the past to tap Miss Carter’s ass. Pretty selfish of Steve Rogers, especially since they built his whole character up to be selfless. If they really wanted to follow the comics, Steve Rogers should have been assassinated at the end of Civil War, but that’s too dark for Disney.
Disney isn’t the only cause of superhero fatigue. Warner Bros/DC has been all over the place. I actually enjoy the DC films more than the Marvel films because they aren’t comedies disguised as action films. Zack Snyder definitely had something going on, but WB decided to screw him over and chase that MCU gold. DC movies became more comedic and the studip totally lost direction. Wonder Woman 84 was one of the worst super hero films I’ve ever seen. I don’t even understand how that film got green lit. Instead of introducing Black Adam in Shazam 2, they made a solo Black Adam film at the mercy of The Rock. The movie wasn’t bad at all, but Black Adam is Shazam’s arch enemy. Sadly, we’ll never get to see that. Now the DC universe is being rebooted with a new James Gunn Superman story. This is something we never asked for and in the current market will probably fail.
The biggest fault of super hero fatigue is the mainstream audiences. They were willing to throw their dollars at anything associated with Avengers. What was crazy to me was seeing huge box office receipts for Avengers films and then seeing a huge drop for the solo outings. But even with huge drops, they still made a ton of money. Case and point, The Avengers made $1.5 billion in it’s box office run. The next film, Iron Man 3 only made $1.2 billion. Now lets break down the markets. The Avengers domestic box office was $623 million and Iron Man 3 was only $408 million. Even though Iron Man 3 was the worst of the trilogy, why did the box office drop so much? Bad reviews? No super hero team up? Bad timing? Who knows. Let’s compare Thor Dark World. This was released after Iron Man 3. Domestic box office take was only $206 million with a worldwide total of $644 million. Captain America: Winter Soldier was the next solo release and made $259 million domestic and $714 million worldwide. It’s hard to make sense of all this but there is something to be said about the super hero team up films. The next film released was Avengers: Age Of Ultron and it made a whopping $459 million domestic and $1.3 billion worldwide.
When it comes to the mainstream consumer, music, movies, video games and tv genres will keep them distracted for only so long. When something is no longer popular to the masses, they move on to the next thing. We saw this in the 70’s with westerns and now we are seeing it with comic book super hero films. The funny thing about it all is that Disney and WB think they can fix this. They think they can bring back the glory that they once had, but it’s far too late. You’ve burned the trust that you’ve built over the years and we are ready to move on to the next thing. There’s an old saying, “All good things must come to an end.” In this case, it wasn’t all good, but some of it was great!