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The Summit Pinnacle

The Student News Site of Summit High School

The Summit Pinnacle

The Student News Site of Summit High School

The Summit Pinnacle

The Death of the Superhero Genre

Did we all collectively forget about Marvel movies?

It’s 2019, some night in April, and I just walked out of the movie theater after  watching “Avengers: Endgame.” “Endgame” was the movie that convinced me to go back and watch the previous 21 Marvel movies. I became so immersed in this superhero world. I began reading the comic books, and went to see the new movies the day they came out. A seemingly fantastic conclusion to a rather extensive franchise, “Endgame” wrapped everything together perfectly, finished everyone’s character arcs and left the entire fanbase satisfied. Yet, Marvel kept going?

Three years deep into my superhero infatuation, I went to see “Thor: Love and Thunder.” What a disappointment. One of my favorite characters; completely dumbed down to the comic relief in his own superhero movie. I pretty much gave up on Marvel after that. With an unlimited amount of comic material to draw from, going forward you’d think they’d be able to pull together something truly amazing. But they went and threw all that potential away within the matter of a single year. 

Clinging onto their booming franchise, Marvel released (and continues to release) strings of sequels. With each individual story arc coming full circle in “Endgame,” the new spinoffs are demolishing any character development; for the sole purpose of more profit. Drunk with their own box-office power, they made the regretful decision to prioritize quantity over quality. Since 2020, Marvel has released a whopping total of 26 movies and TV shows—most of which were half-assed—with many more to come in the next few years. 

In the midst of their recent TV adaptations, Marvel began to fall through. “Wanda-Vision” was great. “Loki” was alright. And “She Hulk” was… interesting. Worsening with every new project, Marvel’s downfall picked up momentum, which isn’t slowing down any time soon. The decreasing production quality was seeping with every new drop, and fans took notice.

“Superheroes were a big part of my childhood, but they’ve completely ruined it now,” said Summit junior Riley Paulson.

The once straight plot line has spun into an uncontrollable web– everything is intertwined and it’s impossible to understand one movie without first watching its predecessors. Broken into different “phases,” the MCU has laid out its ground for the next decade. While each of the first four Marvel phases all shone on their own, the new projects have all been preliminaries. To what they’re building up to, I’m not even sure the writers know. 

They’ve forgotten what they’re all about: heroes. The extraordinary that shine light on a hopeless world. An idol for any little kid. Unfortunately, the aim for joy and laughs has failed, and just come off as cheesy. They’re pushing out meaningless project after project; it’s the film version of fast fashion. What happened to simplicity? 

In the 1980s, the most successful movie sagas were trilogies—that’s it. “Indiana Jones,” “Star Wars,” “Back to the Future.” All of them completed their stories in only three movies. Easy to digest, yet invigorating. What Marvel is doing by overproducing is pushing any new fans away. It becomes intimidating to get into a franchise when you have to commit to a total of over 40 movies and limited series. 

Similarly, DC studios just fired its entire “Justice League” cast, paving the way for James Gunn, Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” director, to swoop in and start the DC universe from scratch. Despite the fact that the Justice League movie came out only seven years ago, they are already remaking it. Why the need for a redo? And so soon? 

Both DC and Marvel have begun to lose their ever-devoted fans. While they proceed with their limitless and pointless projects, these ex-devotees are beginning to see through the money motives. 

As an employee at the movie theater, Summit senior Shea Miller has noticed a significant decline in the turnout for superhero movie releases, compared to packed theaters in the past.

“Audiences are simply not interested in these [superhero] stories anymore as they are completely devoid of thought-provoking ideas, or authentic human emotion,” said Miller.

It all died along with Stan Lee, right before Endgame came out in 2019. The man who cared so much about the comic-to-screen adaptations of his life’s work has been forgotten as Marvel continues to produce more and more monotonous movies. Without the guidance of Marvel’s creator, the MCU has spun out of control. The money-hungry producers don’t care about quality anymore.

Take the original “Spider-Man” trilogy, starring Tobey Maguire, as the prime example. The classic nobody-to-hero pipeline executed in such a way that awakens the superhero within yourself, and maybe even causes you to shed a tear while watching. Nowadays, people leave the theaters underwhelmed.

As for the future of cinematic super heroes–it isn’t looking so bright. Producers have yet to realize people are tired of wasting time and money on a once thriving franchise, now turned reminiscent of AI screenwriting. 

“It doesn’t have to be revolutionary, just something people can relate to or be thrilled and titillated by,” said Miller.

Unless Marvel manages to do a complete 180 from their current state, their box-office ruling will quickly diminish down to nothing. Fans don’t want to see hundreds of new spin-offs, they only want their old childhood heroes back.

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About the Contributor
Scout Crockett
Scout Crockett, Features Editor

Scout prides herself in her journalistic instincts and exquisite taste when it comes to music and films (she’s an avid Bowie listener and her favorite movie is Zoolander). When she isn’t writing lengthy articles, Scout is most likely found curating her unachievable dream closet on Pinterest, navigating her endless stacks of books, or enjoying an overpriced latte—all while procrastinating her heaps of homework. Scout is excited to continue her work at The Pinnacle as one of this year's Features editors!

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    AnonymousFeb 16, 2024 at 11:49 pm

    I stand by the idea that gaurdians of the galaxy was both the best and worst thing to happen to superhero movies. Every movie since has tried to be the next gaurdians but ends up falling flat by not understanding what made the movie actually good which was the characters and not just the “haha funny “s.