Normally, Riverdale fans wouldn’t compare Archie and the gang to Marvel (unless, of course, they read the insane comic Archie Meets the Punisher). However, that’s now a comparison the cast of this hit CW show is making themselves. As Vulture reports, Camilla Mendes (who plays Veronica Lodge on the show) noted that “Superhero movies” like Guardians of the Galaxy are a hit despite being “the most absurd stories you could imagine” and concluded that “We’re a comic book; it’s supposed to be fun and fictional and weird.”
Riverdale, based on the classic Archie comics, has taken the standard CW teen drama to absurd lengths, which the cast argues is a major part of its appeal.
The more she compared Riverdale to the MCU, the more the comparison made sense. She pointed out how these films feature things like “f****** talking raccoon fighting aliens in space” and that even with all that absurdity, fans and critics typically don’t throw their hands up and say “This makes no sense.”
She’s quite right about this: James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is one of the most absurd superhero movies ever created, but this didn’t keep fans from declaring it one of the few decent superhero films in a year crowded by some major stinkers like The Flash and Shazam! Fury of the Gods.
Furthermore, the cast of Riverdale understands that the weirdness of the show is a big part of its appeal because, simply put, there are countless other teen dramas out there where, as Veronica Lodge notes, audiences can watch “a bunch of kids in a high school dealing with relationship drama.”
At this point, her castmate Cole Sprouse (who plays Jughead on the show) suggested that audiences who wanted a more traditional teen drama could watch Euphoria instead. By comparison, Riverdale offers a high degree of campy silliness that it’s genuinely difficult to find anywhere else.
“We’re a comic book; it’s supposed to be fun and fictional and weird.”Camilia Mendes, Veronica Lodge on Riverdale, explaining the show’s appeal
If you’ve never watched Riverdale (and you don’t mind some potential spoilers), you might be surprised by just how strange things get in this CW show. Over the course of the past seven seasons, we’ve seen Archie have a fascist vigilante phase, and Betty go through a BSDM phase, complete with a controversial strip tease. Oh, and in what is likely an insane homage to Marvel (speaking very much to the point Mendes is making), the show eventually features time travel, a multiverse, and characters temporarily getting superpowers.
Interestingly, Riverdale now has one luxury that Marvel doesn’t, and that’s the fact that it has a very dedicated cult audience. The MCU has arguably suffered in recent years by trying to appeal to as many fans as possible, which is why we have films that are all over the place in terms of plot, characters, and overall quality. By comparison, the Riverdale cast and producers know exactly what kind of weirdness their very specific audience wants, and they aim to deliver with each new season.
Riverdale has included time-travel, cults, a vigilante gang of gingers, and superpowers, so it would fit right in with the Marvel cinematic universe.
Now, Riverdale is preparing to air its highly-anticipated series finale on August 23, and fans are very curious about how weird things will get and, most importantly, whether this strange show will be able to stick the landing.
All signs point to the finale being something that longtime fans will really appreciate. At the very least, we’re confident that, as Archie might say, it will give us the same “triumphs and defeats” and “epic highs and lows” that characterize the two greatest American institutions: superhero films and high school football.