Friday, April 20, 2018

Not Quite Infinity, But Almost

Avengers: Infinity War will open next week.  Perhaps you've heard about it.  With all the publicity, it would be harder not to notice.  There's tremendous anticipation.  It's got a shot at being the biggest hit of the year, though thanks to Black Panther it's got its work cut out.

Looks like it could be fun, and Marvel superhero films have a pretty good percentage, but I can't help but wonder if it's too much of a good thing.

The film will be a bit over two and a half hours (with the audience remaining in the seats till the end).  And the cast will include Iron Man, Spider-Man, Scarlet Witch, Black Widow, Captain America, Thor, Loki, Black Panther, Star-Lord, Dr. Strange, Hawkeye, Ant-Man, Hulk, Falcon and a fair number of others.  This means we get maybe ten minutes per superhero.

Wouldn't you prefer a little more time with your favorites?  A movie should have a good hero and a good villain (and maybe a good love interest), but if you keep adding to the scorecard, after a while enough is enough.

If your idea of a great comedy is It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, maybe this film is for you.  Too bad that's not my idea of a great comedy.


Blogger brian said...

perhaps beyond (to paraphrase Buzz). My son, Joe works at a theater and they are completely pre-sold for several nights.

In the current iteration, I have liked the Ironman movies best from Marvel. The others are okay but not great for me. In an intensive care unit, there is a thing called alarm fatigue when the alarms go off but the child is ultimately okay 90% of the time. I think that the superhero genre suffers from end-of-the-universe fatigue. So I want to make sure that they are having a lot of fun if I am going to sit through all that "action" with no real point.

12:03 PM, April 20, 2018  
Blogger LAGuy said...

Marvel has a pretty good batting average, especially considering how many films they put out. But it's always been about quality, not quantity.

12:48 PM, April 20, 2018  
Blogger brian said...

Joe just told me they have already had the best weekend of all time for Marvel movies. So, no argument on their success.

3:01 PM, April 20, 2018  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's hoping this is the shark-jumping moment for comic book movies.

Or maybe the moment that makes it clear the shark has been jumped already

6:18 AM, April 21, 2018  
Anonymous Lawrence King said...

Brian mentioned "end-of-the-universe fatigue" -- a brilliant term. This is the root of the problem with superhero movies today. In the comics, superheroes will occasionally fight a universe-threatening foe, but most of the time they fight foes on a much smaller scale. And usually the issues with small foes are the ones that give the most room for characterization.

LA Guy lists 14 heroes in Infinity Wars. Try counting the number of heroes on the cover of the trade paperback for Crisis on Infinite Earths, the 1985 DC extravaganza that rebooted the entire DC universe. Sadly, the sales went up, and ever since then both DC and Marvel have loved blockbuster crossovers. The rules are pretty much fixed: the earth, or the universe, or even the multiverse is facing a mortal threat; heroes from many different comics band together to fight it; they win a narrow victory but at least two heroes (including at least one big-name hero) perishes in the attempt, proving to the reader that the stakes were real.

1:06 PM, April 21, 2018  
Blogger LAGuy said...

Yeah, they'd kill a big-name hero, but would he stay dead?

10:40 PM, April 21, 2018  
Anonymous Lawrence King said...

In the comics, death can last a long time or be extremely temporary. Superman stayed dead for less than a year, but the writers had always planned for him to return. At the other extreme, Barry Allen (the Silver Age Flash) stayed dead for more than twenty years. But that was because his death was useful: his protege, Wally West -- "Kid Flash" -- took over the Flash mantle and became a popular character, and his mentor's death was a defining moment in his growing up. So bringing Barry back would have undermined Wally's character.

But I wonder whether in movies a death can be more permanent, because there are far fewer movies than comic books. If they killed Captain America, would it limit Marvel's ability to make future movies? Surely they have enough heroes remaining, even with one or two gone.

In the long run, nobody stays dead, because there's too much turnover of writers. Barry Allen was eventually revived, not because the fans demanded it, but because the guy writing Flash at the time had grown up reading comics featuring Barry Allen and wanted to write that character. If Marvel kills Captain America in the movies this year, he might actually stay dead for the remainder of the current Marvel franchise. (Probably not -- but it's possible.) But if there's a new batch of Marvel movies in two decades, they'll start from scratch and everyone will be alive again.

Unless... could the current Marvel franchise still be running twenty years from now, without break? The thought is horrifying.

12:47 AM, April 22, 2018  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just like the Deep State: Kill off Captain America.

1:38 AM, April 24, 2018  

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