Or at least, that’s what the plan was.
Instead, Harris and I spent a lovely ninety minutes geeking out about the James Gunn DCCU, how The Marvels was a hell of a lot of fun, how good the new What If? trailer looks, the concept of Superhero Fatigue, and much, much more.
Which brought us to the topic of Superhero Fatigue, where recent superhero movies have seen diminishing returns at the box office, and even Marvel’s latest offerings have seen sub-par numbers. After the first ten years of of the MCU literally reimagined cinematic storytelling on an epic scale, earning billions of dollars in the process, it seems that newer releases are having a hard time continuing that success. This poses the question – are audiences too burnt out to keep up? With a full slate of movies plus multiple Limited Series on Disney+, is there simply too much new content?
The comic book fanboy in me says no.
The actor in me who desperately wants to be in one of these things also says no.
However, from a practical standpoint, I hate to say it, but yeah, I don’t think the casual fan’s going to shell out to see a movie in theaters if they feel like they had to keep up with everything that’s come out beforehand in order get the whole story. Which is a bummer, and I think this unfairly affected The Marvels in particular. I say unfairly because I thought that The Marvels did a great job of covering the necessary backstory for context while also telling a really fun story. My one wish is that we got about 20 more minutes of it. While the 93-minute runtime was a nice change of pace, you can really see where the editors made some big cuts, leading to some jarring transitions and the feeling that we were missing parts of key moments.
But yeah, if the casual fan thinks they’re not going to enjoy the movie without first watching 20+ hours of backstory ahead of time, I can see why they’d steer clear.
Between that and how the quality of these shows and movies vary – and vary WIDELY (Looking at you, Secret Invasion… or, y’know, the whole DCEU) – I have to says that yes, superhero fatigue is real. But that’s not to say that we’re tired of all superhero projects. Just the bad ones.
The cream rises to the top, and most of the higher-quality projects are pulling in strong box office numbers. I think Marvel and DC both (Especially DC) need to get back to focusing on telling good stories well, and give their artists the time they need to do their jobs right. Shows like Season 2 of Loki are proof that we’ll show up for good stories, no matter how deep they are in the overall plot.
If the studios can do that (and I think they can), then I don’t think the genre’s going anywhere anytime soon.
What do you think? Is Superhero Fatigue real? If so, is it about quality, quantity, or both?