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Five Problems MCU Needs To Acknowledge Going Forward

By Mohit Srivastava
June 26,2022

Marvel Studios, undoubtedly has become hugely successful in a very short period. The passionate and immaculate vision of its President – Kevin Feige, made this all possible. He has never been afraid to experiment with new genres and new perceptions of his directors in his MCU projects. However, nothing ever is flawless.

Some MCU projects did not succeed as expected. Some lead to divisive reviews between audiences and critics. Now when the studio is very close to announcing its plans for upcoming Phase 5 (presumably at SDCC 2023), let’s try to analyze some of the problems that the Studio must acknowledge in its future projects before moving forward.

1. The ‘Bad Daddy’ problem

Ego

Ego in GOTG Vol. 2

“That’s my freaking Father”- Peter Quill aka Star-Lord. (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, 2017)

If looked closely, the majority of MCU protagonists have ‘Daddy issues’. They all either have regrets or envy or outright enmity with their Fathers e.g., Ego for Star-Lord, Odin for Thor and Loki, Howard Stark for Tony Stark, Mandarin for Shang Chi, or Thanos for Nebula and Gamora. Although these characters’ feeling toward each other is one of the major plot devices for the movies, seeing it so many times has made it feel repetitive. When Ego turned up as Quill’s Dad in GOTG 2 and later he came out to be the villain of the movie, nobody was surprised. Even those who did not read the comics, long saw it coming. Therefore, Marvel now needs to look for other reasons for character motivations.

2. Too many Jokes

Star Lord dancing in third act in GOTG

Star-Lord doing the “Dance Off” in GOTG

“Just Wong? Like Adele? Or Aristotle. Drake. Bono. Eminem” – Stephen Strange. (Doctor Strange, 2016)

Yes, we all enjoy MCU because, amidst all the CGI fights and world-ending threats, it also has its light-hearted moments. But, not all jokes used to lighten a moment are funny. Sometimes they feel out of the character or out of plot necessity. To foreign audiences these are often lost in translations, making it even more cringy. Deep character moments or intense action scenes, suddenly run out of juice when these out-of-place jokes are said. That is the reason why an awesome comic-book character like Drax has been reduced to just comic relief. One-Liners should be placed in a movie such that it not only lightens the moment but also drives the movie plot forward.

3. Pacing of the Story

Oscar Isaac as Marc Spector/Steven Grant and Gus the goldfish in Marvel Studios' MOON KNIGHT, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

Oscar Isaac as Marc Spector/Steven Grant in Moon Knight

It is more of a problem with Marvel’s Disney+ shows. It can safely be said that Marvel shows ‘just needs to be longer’. Six episodes isn’t a lot of time to introduce and wrap an entire story up and still have it be profound, especially when you are introducing brand new characters and brand new worlds to the audiences (Moon Knight and Ms. Marvel). Even the tone of the shows seems to suddenly change midway through a season.

Marvel’s past Netflix shows did not have this problem, and its characters (Daredevil, Jessica Jones, etc.) still resonate with fans. Stranger Things on Netflix has realized the scope of its story and each episode of its final season has almost movie-length runtimes. We do not expect the same from Disney+, but at least let the audience soak it all in. Let the story breathe so that the third act of a show never feels rushed. Marvel Studios should not be hell-bent on a format that doesn’t work for them. They should let the showrunners and writers figure out how many episodes they require to tell these stories before they’re put into production.

4. Villains never survive a story

Ant Man

Yellow Jacket in Ant Man

“Wow! I mean, I saw that punch coming a mile away, but I just figured it’d be all pathetic and weak” – Darren Cross aka YellowJacket (Ant Man, 2015)

Marvel fans are now expressing their disappointment in MCU in regards to its Villains not making out alive in their movies. Killing them often robs the audience and film of its depth. An authentic rivalry does not get time to develop and form. Some of the prime examples are YellowJacket in Ant-Man, TaskMaster in Black Widow, Whiplash in Iron Man 2, or Ronan, the Accuser in GOTG. These all are great villains in the comics, but on screen, they just seem to lack motivation. And before we get to know them, BAM…they are dead. A recurring Villain in different movies enables the audience to connect with them more and understand their motivations, for example, Loki and Thanos.

5. Satisfying the Fandom

The three SpiderMen in Spider Man - No Way Home

The three SpiderMen in Spider Man – No Way Home

“Dad, that’s Superman!” Jack says to Phastos, pointing at Ikaris. (Eternals, 2021)

Of course, Marvel movies have received immense love and affection from their fans. The studio has always acknowledged this by treating its fans with many easter eggs and references in its movies. But sometimes they come at a cost to the character and the story. When Marvel releases just a 15-second teaser, fans start to speculate about what the entire 2-hour movie will consist of. Expectations start to soar high and the entire social media has ‘hashtags’ trending all over them.

Seldom do these things result in a real treat (Spiderman: No Way Home), but most of the time it doesn’t. Team Feige should understand that they are not bound to fulfilling these expectations. They must rather try to maintain a balance between them and the quality of the content they are providing. In the end, that alone shall matter.

 

 

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