The Marvel machine has attacked us once more last weekend and this time on a mega blockbuster scale, breaking all known records for the biggest release of a tent-pole movie ever.
“Avengers: Endgame” (or should we call it Avengers: EndAlready!?) conquers the sliver screens not just domestically but internationally. While spoiler alerts abound on the online geek-sphere regarding those Marvel characters who died in the movie you can’t help but expect the franchise to somehow resurrect, dig up, raise from the dead or create a spin off of those superheroes via a form of a celestial awakening.
If you are on IMDBPro and do a search on Marvel studios you’ll come across a list of movies, all franchises, remakes, sequels, spin offs, that are in the pipeline and ready to go into development and production leading up to 2022. Also to include a stand alone movie for one of the characters in “Avengers Endgame” who sacrifices their lives for the greater good, and this is just for starters.
With a back catalogue of hundreds of super heroes under Marvel’s (or should I say Disney’s) belt it’s not hard to see how this factory machine will keep churning out super heroes flicks so long as the tills keep ringing and the fan base keeps coming.
And why? Because comic books are all the rage at the moment no matter where you live. These type of movies encompass a wide rage of audience from the toddlers who love dressing up as Batman or Spiderman accompanied by their parents to the older super geek generation who’ve read these comics from time immemorial. Therefore, half the work has already been done for the studios. Stories already been told, comics already been sold, costumes already been worn and fans already in the waiting for the next instalment of whatever franchise is next being cooked up.
Am I complaining? To a degree. Not to belittle the work that Marvel has produced in the last decade or so by investing in competent storytellers and artistic filmmakers who conjured up evocative stories that arouses human pathos to invincible and, to a certain extent, immortal peeps. By the same token, it’s annoying to see how the studio is milking it for all that they can get and will carry on doing so as long as the fans keep rushing to the multiplexes to see their latest caped crusaders brandish hammers, wield or wear fanciful weapons and get to kick some alien butt.
Why can we no longer rely on new and fresh ideas from the Hollywood (cookie dough) factory? Okay, they’ve given us ethnic hero characters and wondrous female saviours but that doesn’t preclude them from coming up with something more original and not necessarily based on comic books either.
Where is the inventiveness and imaginativeness? The studios do have the money to spend on developing new and innovative stories but they choose not to and I’m not sure it’s necessarily to do with being risk averse but more to do with being Lazy!
Laziness seems to be the stronghold in the studio system today, and the studios are reluctant to spend the time or the money to be ingenuous in order to satisfy an audience. They prefer, it seems, to stick to the tried and tested, the characters that already exist, the stories that have already been told, albeit in comic book format, and to keep sustaining the franchises for as long as they can muster.
I believe Hollywood can still make great movies if it bothered to be inspired to do so and that doesn’t mean having to throw bucket loads of cash at making it happen either. Yes, a movie on the scale of Avengers would require a hefty chunk of mulla to produce but how about developing, and investing in a fresh, offbeat story with a dainty budget that is affordable by their standards and wouldn’t break the bank should the movie fail to hit a nerve with an audience? It may still apply to the superhero demographic but with an original take rather than what is already out there. A movie that can still be relevant and a zeitgeist for our time, with characters that resonate with an audience on a more personal and human scale and yet offer something different that the Marvel or DC Comics haven’t presented to us before.
For this to happen would require a real super hero, or should I say a super writer, that will go ahead and write an original, independent script, and have a producer attached to it who will follow through on getting it made with the right studio to back it and who won’t tamper with its affairs.
Yes, a hero needs to rise and face the hectic music that is erupting out from the studio system at the moment which is making us deaf to what can heard. A hero that will surround themselves with the same adventurers (rather than Avengers) who will stand united and look square in the eye of the Hollywood execs and mesmerise them with their courageous fables. A team of heroes, of opportunists who will navigate and tackle the treacherous, unchartered, shark infested waters of the studio system and eventually sail their story-ship to the promised (audience) land and create thought provoking, enticing, and authentic content that will touch a fanbase in a different manner.
As Tina Turner sang in the film “Mad Max beyond Thunderdome” – ‘We don’t need another hero’, I’d like to change it to:
“We don’t need another superhero,
We don’t need to know the way to the cineplexes,
All we want are genuine stories beyond the studio system.”
The film rebel