I can’t believe I’m actually saying this, but I think I’ve finally hit my saturation point with superhero movies. I’m ready for a break.
(Yes, this is Joel. No, I haven’t been kidnapped.)
This tipping point came with Thor: The Dark World, which is a pleasant enough film (and, since it stars Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman, is also filled with eye candy for everyone). The film itself was fine, if slightly unremarkable. It was the Easter Egg during the credits and a piece of television news following the film that pushed things over the edge.
After the film ended, I stuck around to watch the credits, which has obviously become the norm with these Marvel films. And then I watched the little teaser clip halfway through those credits … and had no idea what it was setting up. Could it be Thor 3? The Avengers 2? Or perhaps one of the other Avengers’ standalone films?
It turns out [minor spoiler warning] that it was a tease for Guardians of the Galaxy, another Marvel film with a whole new set of characters. So really, it’s only tangentially connected to The Avengers at best, though the teaser found a way to tie it to Thor.[End of spoilers.]
If that wasn’t bad enough, there was another bit of news. The thus-far lackluster Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. television show is doing a “crossover” event with Thor: The Dark World. Next Tuesday’s episode will take place after the events of the film and will tie directly into the plot.
The reason these two developments bug me is for the same reason I got fed up with reading comics – there are too many things you have to follow to keep up with it all. I used to hate reading something in Batman that would also require me to read Detective Comics, Catwoman, Robin and a handful of one-off special comics just to get the entire story. At some point it stops being fun and just starts feeling like homework.
The build up to the first Avengers movie was fantastic. It was fun to see all of these standalone films that gave little teasers for the eventual team up. It was cool to have a vast, connected cinematic world like that.
But now that we are post-The Avengers, it’s starting to feel too bloated. They are still doing standalone films, plus more Avengers’ films and new stories with new characters like Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s overwhelming.
On top of that, the standalone films feel odd now that the Avengers have teamed up. Watching Iron Man 3, I couldn’t help but wonder why Tony Stark’s new friends weren’t showing up to help stop a global terrorist threatening the President of the United States. At least this new Thor film wisely set things mostly on Asgard.
While the cinematic Marvel universe in general feels bloated, DC Comics are apparently trying to make one individual film as crammed full of characters and stories as possible. There are rumors flying around that both Nightwing and Wonder Woman might make appearances in Batman vs. Superman. And it’s been reported that Batman will have a love interest. So essentially, they are skipping the fun build up part that Marvel did so well and just skipping straight to the convoluted, overcrowded mess.
I really wish that Marvel would ditch the standalone Avengers films and go easy on the convoluted Easter Eggs. I don’t want to have to have a flow chart in front of me at the end of every film to know what I just witnessed.
And DC … well I just don’t know what to tell you. Just get it together, guys. If you want to skip straight to making a Justice League movie, just make that movie. Don’t try to secretly cram a Justice League movie into Batman vs. Superman. Or at least change the name to Batman and Nightwing vs. Superman and Wonder Woman (and by “vs.” we actually mean that they end up teaming up to take down a common foe) so that folks know what they are actuall in for.
Until you guys get it together, I’m taking a break from comic book movies.
I’ll just focus on playing Batman: Arkham Origins instead.
Joel Murphy is the creator of HoboTrashcan, which is probably why he has his own column. He loves pugs, hates Jimmy Fallon and has an irrational fear of robots. Follow Joel on Twitter @FreeMisterClark or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.