The fall of Marvel?

William Sweeney, Staff Writer

When a series of new Marvel movies and shows were announced in the spring of 2021, Liberty students were excited to watch their favorite characters return to the big screen. However, as these new movies and TV shows were released, many viewers have given negative reviews on what used to be their favorite source of entertainment.

Despite a few outliers, most Marvel shows and movies that were made in the past few years have been poorly reviewed. Productions such as Eternals, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, and Thor: Love and Thunder, have all received a score of under 65% on Rotten Tomatoes. While the productions have been poorly reviewed for a variety of reasons, Liberty students highlighted some things that they would like to see improved.

“Marvel movies used to be a lot more serious,” sophomore Ryder Pollutro said. “But lately they’ve been using way too much humor to the point that it’s overkill.”

While the recent films could be just a few bad apples in an overall good series, some students point to “superhero fatigue” as being the root of the larger problem.

According to CBR,  “One major complaint among superhero movie fans and critics is that the storylines in new releases are losing their magic. Many viewers feel the plots are becoming too predictable.”

“Compared to other Marvel movies, many of the newer ones are falling flat on their faces,” junior Lucas Counts said. “It’s just not working and something needs to change.”

It is clear that “superhero fatigue” has become an obvious problem for Marvel. However, rather than taking the time to improve the plots of their films, Marvel has chosen to turn out as many films as possible, neglecting quality for quantity. Because of this, people’s overall enjoyment of Marvel productions has been swiftly declining.

A survey from this year reported that the number of people who did not enjoy superhero movies was at an all-time high of 41%, which is 9% higher than a 2018 survey (Morning Consult).

However, storytelling isn’t the only thing that students find unsatisfactory in recent Marvel productions. Many Liberty students have also noticed that the special effects aren’t nearly as good as they used to be. In older films, fans watched in awe as they viewed flashy scenes with eye-opening effects and a large spectrum of color. However, many viewers have noticed something odd about the VFX (visual effects) within recent movies and shows.

According to ScreenRant, “The MCU has been plagued with persisting issues. One of them is the lack of visual language for the universe, with critics and audiences complaining that MCU movies and shows often look flat and dull” (ScreenRant).

Even though some viewers are quick to blame Marvel studio’s VFX artists for the issues in imagery, reports show that it is the entire industry itself that seems to be the problem.

According to Gizmodo, “The VFX industry is deeply broken. It exploits artists using short-term contacts, chases tax incentives across the globe, and creates an environment where production studios, especially an industry giant like Marvel, are treated with a deference that comes at the expense of the artists’ craft and mental health” (Gizmodo).

“The CGI has been deteriorating a lot. Their visual effects team has been put through too much and needs a break,” senior Caitlyn Mckinzie said.

While many people question Marvel’s choices after their films’ decline in quality, they fail to see the bigger picture.  The truth is, Marvel doesn’t seem to care about the quality of its productions, and it’s for good reason: people will watch them regardless. 

For instance, despite Thor: Love and Thunder receiving an overall rating of only 64% on Rotten Tomatoes, it still managed to rake in over 760 million dollars at the box office. Compare that to much higher-rated productions such as Captain America: The Winter Soldier (714 million), and Doctor Strange (677 million) and it’s obvious that the quality of the films doesn’t seem to be a worry for Marvel (Insider; RottenTomatoes). It seems that Marvel’s influence on pop culture alone is enough to keep people coming back to the theaters.

Ultimately, while many Liberty students are disappointed by Marvel’s mediocre content throughout the past few years, their productions have continued to find success at the box office. As movies and TV shows continue to generate massive profits, viewers can only hope that Marvel will revert to creating the high-quality films that they once appreciated.

Works Cited

“Superhero Film Fatigue is Up From Last Year – Even Among Marvel Fans” by Saleah Blancaflor | Morning Consult

“10 Signs Audiences & Critics Are Finally Getting Superhero Fatigue” by Samantha Jacobs | CBR

“Marvel Has a VFX Problem” by Daniel Chin | The Ringer

MCU Movies’ Inconsistent VFX Quality Explained” by Ana Dumaraog | Screen Rant

Abuse of VFX Artists Is Ruining the Movies” by Linda Codega | Gizmodo

Rotten Tomatoes” | Rotten Tomatoes