So the big news over the weekend was that Marvel Avengers Part XXII is coming out and people are all spun up to see how the big battle with the bad guy and the parts of those things all turns out.
Let me give you a spoiler: It won’t matter.
Though I haven’t followed the franchise since the movie where the Hulk smashed Loki (that was so funny!), I can say with metaphysical certitude that MarvelDisneyCorp will keep making superhero movies and probably use the exact same characters.
It’s fundamentally irrelevant whether Iron Guy or Major American die heroically fighting Thermos because the First Law of Comic Books is: “No one stays dead.”
The Wheels Just Keep Spinning Faster
It took 40 years for the James Bond franchise to produce 22 movies but Marvel/Disney managed to do it in only 11.
Actually, the numbers are probably even worse since I’m not sure that total includes the pre-Avengers stuff like Spider Man and the failed Hulk and all that. I could look it up, but that would require effort.
Plus, I’ve finished my martini and need a refill. Wait one.
Ah, much better. Look, I get the appeal of a franchise. I used to be a Star Wars geek par excellence and still own the trading cards, novelizations and even action figures from the 80s.
The thing was, the movies had a point. They had a beginning and an end and the characters developed through the story arc. It’s not like we can sit around and debate which Han Solo was better. (Oh crap…now we can. Damn you Disney!)
Is It the Formula?
I mentioned James Bond films and there are a lot of them. I consider myself a fan of the series and still enjoy watching some of the older ones, but by 2006 I’d hit my limit.
Like a superhero, James Bond never really ages or changes. He’s always dapper, sometimes grim, has some gadgets, and knows the rules to swank European gambling games. (Yes, I do own a Baccarat shoe. Shut up.)
Oh, and he’s a serious ladies’ man. And not just any kind of lady, either. No, a woman must have an outrageously suggestive name to get his interest. Jennifer Smith need not apply, but Pussy Galore, Plenty O’Toole and company? Your table is waiting.
Bond works because people dig the formula, the music, the scene. Is is like that with the superheroes?
Romance novels famously have a formula. In my misspent youth, I paged through a few of them and then – after my wife forced me to sit through countless Jane Austen adaptations – I even wrote one.
You can add variations to make them interesting, and I suppose this is why people keep coming back. They won’t want a big change, they want to see what minor variations one can do.
I’m dating myself but the big dance movies of the 1930s used a rigid formula. The plot was an afterthought and you could set your watch by how many minutes of dialogue there were between dance scenes. No one expected insight into the human conditions from films like Top Hat – what they wanted to see was Fred and Ginger dance.
No one’s moving on from the MarvelDisneyCorp universe.
This Is Not A Rhetorical Question
I’m actually curious what the draw is on this. Are you long-time fans who enjoy the adaptations? Is it the snappy lines? The actors themselves? The over-the-top special effects?
What is the thing that keeps you handing over cash to see so many variations on the theme?
More importantly, is there a point where you’ll move on?
Feel free to fill comments with your answers, which I promise I will carefully read. Indeed, if someone makes a trenchant point, I’ll write a detailed response.