The Marvel Trajectory: Cinematic Potential or a Downward Spiral?

In light of the relatively recent comments on Marvel films made by the likes of Scorsese and Coppola, does the superhero film have a place as an artistic work? Is it a modern reiteration of older genres of filmmaking (the Western, the gangster film, etc.) replete with popular cultural furnishings? Or, as the New Hollywood filmmakers suggest, does Marvel’s cinematic universe mark a downward spiral in quality for the cinema of America (and likely the world at large)?

  • The most important part of writing on this topic is establishing what is a "good" and "bad" film. While Scorsese and Coppola are considered great film maker's, their opinion on films at times are subjective. And while they've have been praised throughout the years, we have to acknowledge that they have bias on what they believe is "good" and "bad". Most people will simply let their comments go without actually questioning them, because they've established themselves as an authority on film through their successful career. But by that same metric we could say people Micheal Bay and Seth Rogen are great film makers, as they have had successful films. Meaning simply finding someone in film that believe superhero movies are "good" would be enough to counter the opposing opinion. What makes a quality film can vary from person to person. Good example of this is many people felt Star War's the last Jedi was a good movie. Though when you look at critical and fan opinion the feeling were split. So, I would recommend using your early paragraphs to establish how you will be measuring a films quality and then apply that to modern Superhero films and the films that Coppola and Scorsese believe are "good". I find this topic really interesting, albeit a difficult one to discuss. This is mainly because people use personal enjoyment to decide if a film is "good" or "bad" when that is entirely subjective and can vary from person to person, as how we may react to an experience can vary greatly. My last bit of advice is there are people out there who get pleasure from pain "masochist". And people who can enjoy eating shit. Pleasure is always subject to the individual. It is the same when discussing the quality of a film. – Blackcat130 3 years ago
  • As with any form of media, trends come and go. The initiation of the MCU encouraged a lot of failed imitations of the "cinematic universe formula" (see universal's Dark Universe, the DCEU, and the limping corpse of Sony's Spider-Man universe). However, I would argue that such criticisms from Scorsese etc are indicative of the wider blockbuster "genre", the commodification of individual films into franchises owned by huge conglomerates, and the frequency with which blockbuster films are now produced. As Warner Bros, Universal, and especially Disney continue to churn out more and more productions, it's almost inevitable that the quality will begin to decline. We're now looking at several tv series and 3 or 4 MCU movies per year, as opposed to waiting three years between each Star Wars film, as it was in the 70s. The commodification of franchise cinema has a lot to answer for, and the MCU's consistency in terms of quality can likely be attributed to the singular vision of Feige, so at least everything is consistent. The lack of this same vision is the same reason that the new Star Wars films have felt so dissonant from one another and have been suitably lambasted. So yes, I think a case could be made for the MCU signalling the end of "quality" blockbusters, but less mainstream art pictures, smaller studio productions, and independent films will likely remain unaffected. However, the precedents set by the MCU have bled into other blockbuster franchises who all want the same financial returns; so I'd argue for blockbuster cinema their concerns are valid. – NathanialEker 3 years ago
  • Interesting questions! Building on an earlier comment, I think we need to understand the criterion for assessment. If you are talking about 'quality', is this purely subjective? If so, a definitive answer to your closing question is impossible. However, might there be more objective measures of quality? Or might we ask the question in terms of more objective criteria? For example, if financial measures such as ticket sales or profitability could serve as any indication of quality (perhaps indirectly, as a measure of how much individuals/society are willing to pay to enjoy a film), then one might argue that Marvel is doing just fine! Of course, there will probably be just as much disagreement around what metrics/measures should comprise 'quality' as there is around the subjective opinions with which we started! – jeolsen 2 years ago

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