Another day, another cry of “The sky is falling!” involving the upcoming Captain Marvel sequel The Marvels. Despite the first film grossing over $1 billion at the global box office, everyone and their mother is predicting nothing but trouble for The Marvels when it opens Friday. Digital Trends is the latest doomsayer to draw the death card when giving The Marvels a tarot reading.
The Marvels Presale Is Pacing Behind Recent Superhero Box Office Flops
According to the website, opening weekend presales for The Marvels are currently pacing behind Black Adam and even The Flash—this year’s biggest celluloid bomb and the biggest flop in Warner Bros.’ 100-year history as a movie studio. Has the mighty Marvel finally fallen?
Well, if you believe the vocal trolls who misunderstood the message behind South Park‘s recent Panderverse special, everything Disney is crashing and burning as we speak. The truth is slightly more complex.
Are audiences getting tired of “superhero” movies or just a certain kind of superhero movie?
Is Superhero Fatigue A Real Issue?
The internet has a way of amplifying trends and making a vocal minority seem like they have more real-world pull than they do. As such, superhero fatigue has become a buzzword that people are starting to self-identify with whether or not they really feel that way or not.
If you ask the average moviegoer who’s been trying to keep up with 31 movies over a span of 15 years if they’re sick of superhero movies, you’ll get a resounding “Yes!” Ask that same person their opinion on The Batman or Joker or even the Spider-Verse movies, and you might get a different answer.
The Marvels Suffers From A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
So it’s just the MCU, then, right? That’s why The Marvels is expected to do badly because it’s a Marvel movie? Again, the truth is more complex. Part of the audience’s shrug-emoji attitude toward The Marvels is genuine Marvel fatigue, but it feels like a bigger part is that everyone keeps saying The Marvels is going to suck. It’s become such a pervasive sentiment in geek spaces that most middle-of-the-road MCU fans have convinced themselves that The Marvels is a bad film before the movie has even come out.
The Marvels‘s poor box office performance—because, let’s be honest, it’s probably going to bomb just as predicted—is going to be more of a self-fulfilling prophecy than a genuine reaction from Marvel fans. Everyone keeps hearing it’s gonna bomb, so they don’t go to see it, causing it to bomb and proving all of the naysayers correct in the process.
The MCU’s Need To Connect Everything May Be What’s Hurting Them
Meanwhile, the part of the MCU fandom that is suffering from genuine Marvel fatigue isn’t sick of Marvel projects, but rather Marvel projects the way they’ve been repeatedly foisted upon us over the last decade and a half.
Marvel’s decision to make everything connect to everything else, for everything to be canon, has essentially come back to bite them like an irradiated spider. If fans are more concerned about what cameos a project might have or what the after-credit scene is than the actual project itself, then you’re doing content wrong.
The Marvels Isn’t The Last MCU Outing Likely To Bomb
If Marvel would just focus on telling a great story that isn’t cookie-cutter and didn’t worry too much about whether it contradicts something that happened in a different movie, fans would come back to the theaters in droves. We promise.
But if Disney and the MCU keep following the same tired formula that worked in 2008 without adjusting to what an aging audience actually wants, then we can guarantee The Marvels won’t be their last bomb.
The Marvels—which isn’t following the usual Marvel formula and is employing a fairly novel power-switching gimmick that makes it look fresher and more fun than the last three MCU movies—opens on November 10.