Cinematic Universe

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The Detriments of a Shared

Since the success of Marvel’s "The Avengers" and the films connected with it, the series of crossover superhero films has become the next big thing. Analyze and discuss this phenomenon in connection with DC’s less than stellar efforts to establish much of the same (including possible missteps such as refusing to put the TV versions of their characters in their films), as well as compare with other properties of these companies that are distinct from their "cinematic universes" (e.g., the X-Men series, the Dark Knight Trilogy). Why was "The Avengers" a success, but "Age of Ultron" and "Batman v. Superman" met with middling or downright negative response? When does it work and when it is too much too soon? Is the complexity inherent in this concept ultimately worth it? With many suffering "superhero fatigue" from the glut of comic-book films in theaters, is this ultimately a concept worth pursuing in the future?

  • A few things to consider...there are moviegoers who are well-versed on the comic book series of these films and take the material very seriously. As with book adaptations, audiences become frustrated when a film is untrue to the original story. As for "The Avengers,"...part of the appeal, in my opinion is the numerous characters featured that lead to audiences to find a connection with a particular character(s). As for "Batman v. Superman," I do believe part of the problem was the characters--especially that of Batman--not staying true to his perceived persona, as previously established. When a character that is beloved acts differently than what people expect, audiences become angered. Now, "The Dark Knight Series," with met with exceptional critical and viewer praise. Why is this? Well, the films were exceptionally done, and the moral conflicts, the human turmoil, and the complex multi-dimensional villains provided audiences with not only a high-octante film, but one that viewers connected with on an emotional level. – danielle577 7 years ago
  • In addition, it might also be interesting to discuss X-Men, and 20th Centurty Fox's lack of continuity throughout not only their trilogies, but the whole movie franchise. – Maureen 7 years ago
  • Part of what sets Marvel apart from other production studios is that they spent more time building their universe. I can't remember there being any shared universes in major studio movies before Iron Man came out, and Marvel had a game plan that they were working from. Now that other studios have seen how successful a universe with multiple connected properties can be, they're jumping on the bandwagon, but without enough time to sufficiently build the worlds that their characters exist in. Also, and danielle said this, Marvel was working with B-level comic characters, so they had to make sure the characters and they're stories were engaging before relying on the spectacle of a superhero fight. DC/WB knows that the names Batman and Superman will sell tickets, so they felt confident in throwing the two together without taking into account their core characteristics or how they would deal with the world around them (which has been done fantastically in several animated movies and TV shows). A lack of widespread familiarity with characters like Iron Man or Captain America meant that marvel could define these characters in stand alone stories, and then put them on a team knowing what the dynamic of that team would be. – chrischan 7 years ago