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The Effect of the Shared Universe Model

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So unless you’ve been living under a rock, you might have noticed that sequels/spin-offs/reboots/prequels/requels/whatever else have been coming out at an insanely rapid pace over the last few years. Due to this, geeks around the globe rejoice because of how much content we get to enjoy. Then there are others who aren’t entirely happy about it, but honestly find all the wrong reasons to complain.

These are the two things that people complain about that I am so sick and tired of hearing:

  1. Franchise fatigue
  2. Hollywood doesn’t make anything “original” anymore

    So my goal of this is to talk about film franchises and shared universes, and how they’re actually evolving the film industry, and not setting anything back. Even though the shared universe model is newer to us and has been a great success for the most part, I still see numerous people out there who don’t seem to understand what the ultimate goal of it is. 

The shared universe model truly began in 2008, with the release of ‘Iron Man’. To avoid a full history lesson, we’ll just say that in the years following, ‘Iron Man’ not only spun-off its own series, but an entire series of interconnected films. Franchises within franchises. A Franchise-ception, if you will. After the massive success of ‘The Avengers’, many other film studios have started the process of building their own universes, in order to develop the same success story the Marvel Cinematic Universe has.

Before 2008, we had to wait years for a sequel to our favorite movies. The wait for each Star Wars prequel nearly killed me as a kid, and I’m sure people growing up in the 80’s felt the same way with the originals. Even Harry Potter, which at the time produced its films at a pretty quick pace, felt like forever compared to how long we wait for certain movies now. Of course, there are still many big-budget franchises where we still have this kind of wait. But it seems like there are so many others that hold us over in the process. So much so, that even one series on its own has movies to hold us over from within. The wait for ‘Star Wars Episode VIII’ feels a lot less painful knowing we’ll have ‘Rogue One’ in the meantime.

This is what the shared universe meant to me for awhile. I saw ‘The Avengers’ in 2012 and knew that I wouldn’t be getting another Avengers movie for another three years. But to hold me over, there would be a third Iron Man movie, a second Thor, and a second Captain America. The truth is, I didn’t even look forward to these movies that much, because I thought it was so much better to see these characters all together. I almost felt that stand-alone movies would be a step backwards after seeing ‘The Avengers’.

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Then I actually saw ‘Iron Man 3’ and was surprised by how much fun I had with it. Say what you want on the movie, but in my opinion, it gave a far better character study to Tony Stark than any team up movie would have, and was a much more enjoyable experience than ‘Iron Man 2’.

‘Thor: The Dark World’ was okay. This was definitely an example of a Marvel movie that was made to hold the fans over while waiting for something better. But at the time, I still thought that the “something better” meant ‘Age of Ultron’.

I was proven wrong of course in 2014 with the release of ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’. This movie actually had an even BETTER story than ‘The Avengers’, and ended up changing so many things that we had been used to. Turns out, when watching the movies that followed- this movie in particular could not be missed. It basically restructured SHIELD, and changed Steve Rogers’ viewpoints on the world.

One of the great things about the movies leading up to ‘The Avengers’ was that you didn’t necessarily have to see all the movies that came before it. Sure, it made for a great experience if you did, but it wasn’t a prerequisite. You didn’t have to see ‘Iron Man 2’ to understand what was going on in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, or ‘Thor’. They were separate franchises, until the time came where they’d crossover.

However as time goes on, it’s beginning to look like this is all about to change, and I think people need to be well aware of this. I just recently wrote my review on ‘Civil War’, and I stated that this was the first time I truly felt with a Marvel movie that the viewer actually needed to see a select few movies beforehand in order to understand and feel what was going on.

‘Civil War’ not only tells a Captain America story, where you need to see the first two to really get it, but it also offers so much more. It’s Iron 3.5, it’s Avengers 2.5, it’s an introduction mini-movie for Black Panther and Spider-Man! It’s actually INSANE how many of these things are tackled in the movie, and at the end of it all, it was still just a Captain America movie at its center core.

So you might be thinking, “Wow, this is just way too much for people to keep track of now”. And sure, I can understand that. But is that what you say when you’re watching a television show? If you miss an episode of any show that follows an on-going story-arch, you will feel confused. If you miss multiple episodes, you’ll just be completely lost. The MCU is no longer a traditional film series. It’s a big-budget television show, where you just have to wait a few months between episodes.

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It’s not James Bond, where you can pick up anywhere and get the gist of things. And if you’re looking for a TV comparison, it’s not NCIS. I honestly predict that ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ and ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ will be required viewing for ‘Avengers: Infinity War’.

I’ve even heard many complaints that they are starting to feel fatigued from all of these movies. If that’s you, it simply means you’re probably just not invested in it that much. But the money is speaking, and the MCU just made its 10 billionth dollar. There were numerous people who saw trailers for ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ and ‘Ant-Man’, who truly believed Marvel was scraping the bottom of the barrel and decided to not see those movies because they thought the train was starting to slow down. Us real Marvel fans laugh in the faces of those people now because those two movies I just mentioned were massive successes both financially and critically. ‘Ant-Man’ was among my Top Five movies of 2015 and I liked it even more than ‘Age of Ultron’- a movie I was anticipating for three years! I was one of these people who wanted to push the standalone movies aside and just get the big team ups, and then look what happened. Most of those standalones ended up being more enjoyable. ‘Age of Ultron’ ended up being a weaker episode to an otherwise excellent season of Marvel movies.

Even outside of all of this, we have the Netflix Marvel shows that differ greatly from the movies! Yeah, they’re connected to a degree… but they don’t focus much on trying to make references to them, and that’s why these shows (on their own) work insanely well. Daredevil and Jessica Jones are both very adult and dark, which added even more freshness to the MCU as a whole. Daredevil feels a bit familiar as it draws a lot from Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy. However, there is enough there to differentiate it, and really makes for its own thing. Jessica Jones on the other hand was not only one of the best things I’ve seen come out of the MCU, but one of the most original/intriguing things I’ve seen in general. Sure, it’s still a comic book adaptation, but it was unlike anything I’ve seen before. And it was easily one of the best things I saw this year, accounting for both television and film.

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Marvel structures and groups their films in “Phases” and these phases play out just like seasons of a television show. Or- you could even say like a traditional three-act structure that a movie, book, or play abides by. Phase 1 is where we are introduced to all of the characters. You get an understanding of who they are, where they come from, and what drives them. Phase 2 is there to further the story. This is where we see things shifting gear, or things hitting rock bottom before they’re able to get back up. ‘Winter Soldier’ saw the fall of SHIELD and the resurgence of HYDRA. The second Thor film and Guardians introduced us to an important plot device that sets up the final phase. Phase 3 will be the culmination of everything we’ve seen before. But already, I have burning questions. What will get Tony to fight alongside Steve Rogers again? Where are Thor and Hulk? What will happen in the Black Panther movie, and will Captain America and/or Bucky be a part of it like it was teased? How will Star-Lord, Rocket, Groot, Gamora, and Drax end up fighting alongside Ant-Man, Spider-Man, and literally everyone else?

It’s already been confirmed that Robert Downy Jr. will be a part of ‘Spider-Man Homecoming’. Since this is the case, it’s very obvious that the relationship we saw between Tony and Peter in ‘Civil War’ was essential, and that even the events of that movie will play a key role to the events of this Spider-Man flick.

I truly believe that this sense of “fatigue” is only being mentioned by those that just simply don’t have enough interest to keep going with something. And I also really believe it is their lack of understanding that Hollywood is trying to approach their films with more of a television model now.

Let’s compare the MCU, DC Extended Universe, and Star Wars to the most popular show that is currently on television, ‘Game of Thrones’. We’re currently on our 6th season of GoT, and there are 10 episodes in a season, and each episode is nearly a full hour long- give or take a couple of minutes.

This means that so far, since 2011- we are approaching 60 hours of GoT. That’s 10 hours a year on 1 story vs. 2-4 hours a year in either the Star Wars, DC or Marvel universes.

And there are people saying that Star Wars/Marvel/DC might feel over-saturated???!!!

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One particular issue that many might bring up, at least in regards to Star Wars is: Each movie tends to repeat a formula, while each episode of GoT might actually feel quite fresh story-wise. This is just using GoT as an example though. Let’s not forget about network shows that actually do have the same formula each episode (NCIS, Law & Order,etc…). People love GoT, Breaking Bad, and House of Cards since they stray away from these formulas, and because they know people will get bored of that when they binge-watch. But television has the ability to expand their stories. So much so, that there is far more set-up, than actual pay-off. I didn’t feel pay-off for the television show LOST, until pretty much the final moments of that show.

But a formula is just the structure of a movie. Period. It’s actually needed so that there’s just the need to watch the movie, and go home, and not think “Oh, I gotta binge watch 5 more movies to see what happens next!” People want a sense of finality or closure when their movie ends, and in order to get to that, you have to use a three-act structure/formula. Some movies might end on a cliffhanger, but the viewer should still feel satisfied with a certain pay-off the story gives first, before teasing where the story will go next. ‘The Force Awakens’ did this perfectly. It felt like a complete journey, with a beginning, middle, and end. But then the ending also left you wanting to see where the journey would go next.

A studio should never feel the need to make a movie that is all set-up and no pay-off. There are exceptions, such as when a studio decides to adapt a book and split it into parts. (i.e. Harry Potter, Hunger Games, The Hobbit, etc…) Funny enough, people have taken issue on those movies. Specifically for the reason that one movie was all set-up, while the other was all pay-off. And how are they supposed to feel that pay-off emotionally if they watched the set-up a full year beforehand? They’ve forgotten why they should be emotionally invested in these characters and the events that transpire. So with all of that said, when studios have an idea for any movie, the goal should be to make that one movie good, and then they can see how the story can continue later, after they have seen how receptive the audience was.

This is a huge reason the latest Terminator movie failed. They went into it with the plan of it being a trilogy, and their movie ended up being a confusing mess that spat on the face of the first two films. Most importantly, there was simply no interest from the audience to have it continue. Had the movie been good, and then also set up the possibilities for more movies, fans would have been far more open to that. Whereas, with ‘The Force Awakens’: They brought a franchise that was more or less “done” back from the dead, gave us a good movie first and foremost, and then gave us the bits that would lend to the story continuing.

Maybe Marvel plays certain movies safe. And by that I mean, not all of them are AMAZING, but none of them are piss poor either. I think most of us can agree that ‘Thor: The Dark World’ is not the greatest installment of the MCU. But it was at least good enough for the audience to say “hey, I still like Thor and can’t wait to see what’s next for him”! ‘Terminator: Genisys’ on the other hand had people walking out saying the same thing they’ve been saying since 2003. “They should have left it at T2”. Fun fact– both of these movies I just mentioned were directed by the same person. A director who has also been behind the camera for a few episodes of Game of Thrones too. So if that isn’t proof that the studios are more in control of a final product when we’re dealing with a big-budget movie, I don’t know what is.

And that leads me to my next point. This is all a part of a studios’ plan! Much like how it’s HBO’s plan to tell their Game of Thrones story, it is Disney’s plan to keep Marvel Studios and LucasFilm active, to generate successful story-telling. If you watch GoT, or literally any show at all that produces 10+ episodes a year, you should not be complaining that LucasFilm is putting out 1 Star Wars movie a year, or that Marvel and DC put out 2 movies a year. This is intentional for the story they’re trying to tell. They want it to feel like a big-budget television show. If you don’t like it, that does not mean that everyone else will share that opinion. It means that you simply aren’t invested enough in the stories that they are telling. It’s no different than the reason I STOPPED watching ‘The Walking Dead’. I just didn’t like the show. Others do, and that’s fine. That’s why it keeps going. And that’s why anything keeps going. It has interest, and ratings/money reflect that.

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Now sure, there is the issue of the movie ticket. It’s not cheap. And this is something I think is a really huge issue. This is a big reason many people only go to the movies so often. That could be a whole different discussion. However I do believe we’re starting to see the evolution of the cinema just by the content that is being put out and what we choose to see.

Take a movie like ‘The Nice Guys’, that just bombed at the box office, even though it had extremely high praise. What does this say about the movie-going public? From my eyes, it looks as though people are starting to be content with their smaller, low budget stuff being available to them at home, and seeing the bigger/louder stuff at the theater.

I’m totally one of these people! I really wanted to see ‘The Nice Guys’, but I also wasn’t dying to check it out right away at the theater to be painfully honest. I had an X-Men movie I wanted to get to first, because I knew that watching a movie like X-Men at home would not be the same experience. So I pushed the Shane Black movie to the side for a later weekend… and what happened? It was no longer playing at the theaters near me because it wasn’t making money. The theater chains started to pull it in favor of adding more showings for ‘Civil War’ and ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’…ya know, movies that would draw in more business. Yeah that’s kind of my own fault, but I’m also not that sad about it, because I know that in a short few months, I will have the opportunity to see it by renting it.

To those with the complaint that movies aren’t original anymore- you’re wrong. This is an example of what happens to the original movies that are released. They are there. You’re just not seeing them. Why? Because you’d rather spend your buck on the bigger mass-marketed movies that are an adaptation/sequel/reboot of something else that already exists. That also shouldn’t be looked at as a bad thing either. I think it’s all a part of the evolution for film and television.

If you don’t believe me, then here- take this link. This is the “coming soon” list from IMDB that has every movie that is being released in the not too distant future. Now I just went through it and counted for June, July, and August of 2016 for my sample. These 3 months are huge for sequels/reboots/remakes, and this is where their numbers would be highest. I counted 16 movies between June 3rd and the end of August that would fall under the category of sequels/reboots/remakes. How many original movies? 50.

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We’re also now living in a world where some of the best original content is sitting right in your streaming services. So you have all of that stuff to account for too! If Adam Sandler can translate his box office failures to some kind of success on Netflix, you can expect a lot more original movies and shows to debut on these streaming services in the future, while the cinema will be reserved for the “event” films.

I realize a lot of what I’ve said in this post might be completely obvious to many of you reading this. But believe me, there are so many people out there that don’t understand this. There are people that feel that an annual Star Wars movie will end up being a bad thing. There are people that think that having ‘Captain America: Civil War’ and ‘Doctor Strange’ (two completely different films tonally) being released in the same year will create mass exhaustion.

If you do start to feel that way, that’s fine. But just because it happens to you doesn’t mean it will happen to a billion other people in the world. Just like any TV show, if you don’t like it anymore, just stop watching it. Maybe superheroes or Star Wars just isn’t your thing, the same reason zombies aren’t my thing. But someday, I’m sure there will be a cinematic universe that will appeal to you, if there isn’t one already. We’ve got Universal working on a Monsters Universe, which could be a fun return to old-school horror adventure, and we’ve got Legendary Entertainment working on crossovers with Godzilla, King Kong, and all of those other giants. That sounds super entertaining! We even have a Transformers universe in the works… though I’m not sure who that’s really for honestly.

My point in all of this?

The shared universe model is just another piece of cinema evolution.

So next time you come across someone that brings up “franchise fatigue”, or “nothing is original anymore”- show them this post. It might actually shut them up.

11 comments on “The Effect of the Shared Universe Model

  1. I am tired of these movies. I checked out a while ago. There are other stories in the world to be told instead of regurgitating these same ones. And no, I don’t watch Game of Thrones either.

    Liked by 1 person

    • And that’s totally fine! Like I said, it’s really for a certain group of movie enthusiasts. It was never going to be for everyone. But the movies you want are still being made. Maybe not right when you want them like some of these shared universe movies, but they definitely are getting made!
      Whether or not you watch GoT is irrelevant. I just used that as an example to compare the model to modern day television. Even I myself have only watched about 6 or 7 episodes of the show so far. I just started about 2 months ago, but I don’t have time to really binge it.

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  2. I believe there are three groups of people in the movie-going world, and this trifecta model can be applied to, in theory, any genre or popular franchise. We have:

    1.) Genre or label-enthusiasts (i.e. the “comic-nerds” for comic book-movies, or the Trekkies for Star Trek fans, the Star Wars fans, the Mad Max junkies, the hard sci-fi enthusiasts, the R-rated action-junkies, etc.) –> These are the hardcore fans.

    2.) Cinephiles or film enthusiasts (i.e. lovers of film in general, as an art form; these groups tend to skew more toward liberal arts students and the Oscar-bait/drama crowd, but basically encompasses people who love the medium, or craft of filmmaking, above any individual label; includes most of Rottentomatoes and professional critics)

    3.) General Audiences (i.e. everyone else; casual film-goers, the dimwitted masses, the irritating families who bring their irritating kids to every large blockbuster, regardless of content or age-rating)

    Just pulling numbers out of my ass, I’d wager group #3 accounts anywhere from 75-85% percent of most box office ticket sales, and perhaps a little less for arthouse features and Awards-bait movies. Depending on the particular franchise (i.e. Robocop vs. Batman vs. Star Wars), group #1 encompasses 10-20% of a movie’s box office take, and smallest of all is Group #2, or the cinephiles. I would say general movie-buffs make up less than 10% of most movies’ crowd numbers. It’s a very select group. There’s always some cross-pollination between groups 1 & 2, but the point is, most movies — including and especially tentpole blockbusters — depend on general audience-interest to survive. Depending on franchise, studios only seem to rely on hardcore fans, and to a much lesser extent, professional cinephiles (i.e. critics) to maintain positive word of mouth and encourage mass audience participation. Oftentimes those first two groups are utterly irrelevant, though (e.g. Transformers, Roland Emmerich movies, broad comedies, etc.)

    The MCU has groups 1 and 3 locked in, and that’s the main reason for their financial success. Their movies, top to bottom, are formulaic and reliable enough that mass audiences will bite every time, and faithful enough to their source material that fanboys won’t complain.

    Most of the people who complain about “franchise fatigue” or “sequel/prequel/reboot fatigue” are overwhelmingly in category #2. Even professional critics who give good marks to MCU movies often do so unenthusiastically if you read their reviews, and are always the first ones to complain about oversaturation of comic book-adaptations.

    To some degree, I think they have a point: Marvel movies and comic book movies in general do repeat the same formula over and over again, even if the tones of their movies are distinct (e.g. Thor 2 vs Winter Soldier). Plus, the comparisons of shared universe-super franchises to long-running television shows doesn’t really hold up, IMO, because people aren’t so much comparing the raw hours of footage they spend watching each one (60 hours of GoT vs. 26-30 hours of MCU), but rather the pop culture and media hype around them. I’m a diehard GoT fan and a proud cinephile, but the contrast in magnitude between GoT coverage vs MCU coverage, let alone superhero-movie coverage in general, is immense. Sure, we only get 2-3 MCU movies a year (more if you count Fox’s X-Men and WB/DC movies), but if you’re a film-buff, virtually *every single* news outlet, amateur YouTube movie-reviewer, and movie-blogger is covering those franchises nonstop. Hell, even coverage of shows like GoT or The Walking Dead comes in peaks and valleys in between seasons, and they’re nowhere near as constant as superhero franchise-hype.

    To a casual audience-member, I don’t think they care one way or another. From what I’ve researched and discussed with people firsthand, most folks can’t differentiate between Marvel, DC, MCU, or whomever. They just see an FX-driven superhero movie, and go, “Oh that looks fun,” hence the interconnections between superhero box office takes and why a studio like Disney/Marvel wants the DCEU to do well. It’s all the same to casual fans.

    As a cinephile myself, but not much of a superhero fan beyond Batman, I can empathize with feelings of franchise-fatigue to an extent, but I also enjoy good movies regardless, and I think many great superhero films have been released over the past 16 years that get far more credit from ticket sales than they do critical reception. So, I’m kind of torn: On the one hand, I’ve had a lot of fun with many comic-adaptations, and I find the development of the shared universe model new, interesting, and ambitious… but at the same time, most of these movies do feel incredibly generic (a recurring problem in Hollywood), and I have to make a concerted effort to find news coverage of any high-profile blockbuster that’s NOT a DCEU or MCU or X-Men movie these days.

    Besides, there have been over 60 superhero titles released in the past decade and a half. That’s a lot, anyway you spin it. And quite frankly, I don’t think it’s fair for comic fans to complain about non-fans complaining about superhero fatigue, when the properties *you* like and the movies *you* are most interested in are in the spotlight year-round. You could call it “fatigue-fatigue,” and I think it has even less grounds to stand on than “franchise-fatigue.”

    Add that to the fact that superhero movies always get wide-releases, while those of us interested in other, sometimes smaller titles (like many of the ones you listed in that IMDb link) are limited release or major city-release only. Maybe some of us don’t want to just watch two hours of the same thing every time we go to the theatre. Sure, I could watch a smaller indie hit on my computer, or stream from Netflix, but what if I want to see it on the big-screen? That’s at least a valid complaint, IMO, while a complaint about people complaining about that, is not.

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    • “From what I’ve researched and discussed with people firsthand, most folks can’t differentiate between Marvel, DC, MCU, or whomever. They just see an FX-driven superhero movie, and go, “Oh that looks fun,””

      This is something I wanted to dip into a little but then completely forgot, and it would have helped my cause a bit in regards to what you said about this seeming like “complaining about people complaining”. Yes, I’m definitely tired of those that complain about it, but my point of this was to more or less say that it’s because of these shared universes that we’re seeing such a big turn around. A big problem is what you stated, that people don’t notice the difference between DC and Marvel and Fox Marvel. Obviously the general movie-goers. I compared MCU to a television show because at its core, that’s what it is. I mentioned that there are still differences between the two, but I also counteracted them in regards to formula. That might bother a lot of people, and that’s totally fine. I just had it there to say “hey, it’s like a tv show, but each episode is still a movie, it still follows a formula”. But there are still plenty of shows that follow a formula that I just stopped watching. Shows like Fringe, even many episodes of The Flash, without a doubt-NCIS, Law and Order, etc…
      I think that if more people see it that way, maybe even general audiences can begin to differentiate a little bit as to what superhero movies they’re seeing. And I actually think they’re well on their way with that because DC is far different from Marvel and it should be kept that way. I can see people still being very confused about the difference between MCU and X-men though.

      “Maybe some of us don’t want to just watch two hours of the same thing every time we go to the theatre.”

      And they don’t have to. I was just providing explanation to others for why the original movies tend to not last very long in the theater right now, and you brought up additional reasons. I’m not saying one thing is wrong, while the other is right. Even in the categories you listed above, I would definitely consider myself to be mostly group #1, but I also fall into group #2 very often. I also want to see these original ideas. But it is evolving, and we have to come to terms with that. We’ll still have plenty of other things to enjoy in the cinema outside of these blockbusters. But with that said, I think what we see in theaters as an average is starting to evolve because of this model and that was really the purpose of this whole thing.

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  3. Perhaps my complaints don’t have to do so much with superhero shared universe-franchises so much as the wide-release dominance of Hollywood tentpole blockbusters in general, which have been around since Star Wars. Still, I would say that Hollywood’s recent thirst for franchises with literally *every* major release is getting to be a bit much — remember, Sony is/was hoping that this new Ghostbusters (which may well be the Fantfourstic flop of 2016) would start a shared-universe franchise — has become less artistic and ambitious, and more… corprate-y? Like it’s become about pushing a brand rather than making quality standalone films.

    That’s one reason why I like the Russo Bros. so much. They fulfill their franchise-obligations to the MCU, like throwing in Spider-Man with Civil War (even though the character had no reason to be in that movie), but still managing to make a cohesive movie. They did the same with Winter Soldier. I suppose as long as the individual films themselves are good, I’m fine. What does irritate me, though, is how fanboys attempt to rationalize every franchise weakness or mediocre film with responses like, “But it was set up in movie #5, so that movie #8 and spinoff #2 do this, and so blah blah blah…”

    I don’t care! All I want is a solid two hours of good movie. Appreciating a movie as part of a larger franchise should be a bonus, not required homework to appreciate a singular film. That’s all I’m asking for.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Definitely can’t argue against the over-marketing. This Ghostbusters thing is the prime example of a movie that (while could still be good) no one wanted.
      Had it been a continuation of the original Ghostbusters, and a passing of the torch, I think people would be way more pumped because we’ve been asking for a 3rd Ghostbusters for years. But they pull this stunt, and release trailers that aren’t exactly funny and now it’s actually difficult to find a person that’s legitimately excited.

      Love what you said on the Russo bros. Currently re-watching Community and it’s simply the most under-rated comedy show of recent memory. But I also hope you don’t think I was fanboying due to what I said about Thor 2 and Avengers 2. I do still like those movies for what they were ultimately. But it was those connections and sets ups for future movies that made me feel like they were relevant to other movies. And I’m not saying viewing Thor 2 is necessary for viewing Civil War or anything either. It totally is not. But this universe is so massive now that before Civil War, it’s necessary to see at least the 2 Cap movies and 2 Avengers movies, and the Russos have even gone on record to say that. Whereas before, you could walk into the first Avengers without seeing the others and still get a lot out of it. Civil War was the start of like “okay, we kind of expect you to be at least somewhat current on what’s going on here” because that movie had to display:
      1. The aftermath of all the crazy shit they’ve done in the world, both positive and negative.
      2. How the characters of Tony and Steve have basically flip-flopped their viewpoints since their origin stories.

      I also even felt (to a small extent) that Ant-Man’s appearance would have felt totally strange without seeing Ant-Man’s movie, because of how they handled him. That could just be me though.

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  4. You are very right that Thor:Ragnarok will probably be required viewing for any AVengers movie after that point. And possibly any MCU movie at all.

    Kevin Feige has stated that it will have a huge impact on the films going forward, due to the nature of what Ragnarok is. Mark Ruffalo is also co-starring, and has said that the movie will be a sort of “buddy film” for Hulk and Thor.

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  5. i bet you are a marvel fanboy, right? that´s why you defend these pointless cinematic universes

    Liked by 1 person

    • I actually have never read a Marvel comic from start to finish in my entire life. I am simply a big fan of movies. My appreciation for comic book films have gotten me to explore comic history and lore, the same reason a good war movie would motivate me to read up on the historical events having to do with the film at hand.

      If anything, I consider myself a bigger fan of DC’s characters, but have been slightly disappointed with their universe so far.
      I enjoy both Marvel and DC. I like Marvel right now because I think they make highly entertaining movies. I quite enjoy the direction their shared universe is taking the film industry. As I said in the article, there is a very “television” feel to what they are doing and I think that’s cool. If you don’t, that’s also cool. But please do not come here and say that I am defending something just because I am a fan of the property and will always defend it no matter what the quality is or something like that. If that’s what you mean by “fanboy”, as that’s the definition I’ve come to know.

      As I said before, I’m even a big DC fan. I hated Suicide Squad. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want the future of DC to succeed. I look forward to their future and hope they can soon match the quality of their competitors.

      Perhaps I’m getting off topic, but I’m struggling to find the overall point of your comment. You say these cinematic universes are pointless. That’s an opinion. Many people are big fans of this model and it shows in box office numbers for Marvel, DC, and even Star Wars (if you want to count that). It shows by critical reception as well for both Marvel and Star Wars, while fans of DC are hoping that those movies improve.

      This article was only meant for the purposes of getting people to understand why this model is popular right now. What it means for developing franchises, as well as original movies that many claim are currently non-existent. I view this model as an addition to what we’ve always been used to. We’ve always had stand-alone movies, film franchises, and television. Now we have this model that is somewhere between a film franchise and a television show. It’s not ruining anything else, it’s not taking away original content, it’s just a new thing that’s been added. You don’t have to watch them if you don’t want to. But most importantly, you do not have to tell someone they’re incorrect for liking something you don’t. It is completely and 100% subjective. Please take your ignorance elsewhere.

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