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Ant-Man and the case of the Marvel Movie Fatigue

primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' BoopinDetroit, MI Icrontian
edited Jul 2015 in Internet & Media

I saw Ant-Man last night. Before I get started, I'll say that I enjoyed the movie a lot. Paul Rudd played the role really well and the way it was written could have devolved into "sap" territory really quickly (father just wants to see his daughter! It's all about the kids!) but the writing and acting kept it in the realm of realistic motivations. Michael Douglas was awesome as Hank Pym. The effects were well-done, and even the 100% CGI scenes felt like they had a place; the sense of scale when he went from big to small and back was well-implemented. There wasn't an over-abundance of action and the pacing was solid. Also, his friend Luis the petty thief is my new favorite supporting character in any superhero movie ever.

All that aside, I feel like we're reaching a point of Marvel Cinematic Universe movie fatigue. The level of anticipation and excitement I have for these is slightly but assuredly waning; probably normal for being in the thick of the proposed 2020 timeline for the wrap-up, but still there.

Even though each movie is directed by a different person and is presented in very different styles, there is a formulaic-ness to them that probably cannot be avoided. Almost by necessity, each "first" movie for a given hero/team must be an origin story. We see the character as mundane but special in some way (either through circumstance or association or birth) and then we see them come to terms with their powers/situation and then they are forced into action, saving the world/the thing and then discovering their role in the bigger picture by the very end.

The issue is that with a vaguely similar plot arc throughout every movie, they all start to blur together at some point. A year from now, barring my seeing any Marvel movies, I might have trouble remembering which movie had X scene in it and which movie character X did thing Y in.

I'm not sure this is a problem that can be solved, given the complexity of the Marvel universe and the requisite complexity of the movies (and reintroducing the characters to those who have never read the comics).

Either way, Ant-man was great. I enjoyed it. Go see it.

Mt_GoatChooch

Comments

  • LincLinc Bard Detroit, MI Icrontian

    I honestly reached at point at the last Avengers movie. It was great. But the formula & franchise representation was clearly more important to them than characters or story.

    Herotrooster89
  • KwitkoKwitko Sheriff of Banning (Retired) By the thing near the stuff Icrontian

    I feel that way with Bond movies. There are so many times you can watch Bond beat the bad guy with gadgets, come off with some witty quip, and get the girl, before it gets boring.

  • LincLinc Bard Detroit, MI Icrontian

    @Kwitko said:
    I feel that way with Bond movies. There are so many times you can watch Bond beat the bad guy with gadgets, come off with some witty quip, and get the girl, before it gets boring.

    Did you stop watching at Brosnan?

  • RyderRyder Kalamazoo, Mi Icrontian

    @Linc said:
    I honestly reached at point at the last Avengers movie. It was great. But the formula & franchise representation was clearly more important to them than characters or story.

    I thought they actually gave a little more about characters in this one. Hawkeye with the wife and kids, more story between Natasha and Banner.

  • LincLinc Bard Detroit, MI Icrontian
    edited Jul 2015

    @Ryder said:
    I thought they actually gave a little more about characters in this one.

    They gave character details, not character story arcs. Name 1 character that changed as result of the actions of the movie. Even Stark, the one who caused the whole damn thing, basically shrugs and just wanders off at the end. Universe saved from both Ultron and any lasting effects whatsoever.

  • RyderRyder Kalamazoo, Mi Icrontian

    I understand now.

  • BuddyJBuddyJ Dept. of Propaganda OKC Icrontian

    @Linc said:
    Name 1 character that changed as result of the actions of the movie.

    Bruce Banner.

  • KwitkoKwitko Sheriff of Banning (Retired) By the thing near the stuff Icrontian

    @Linc said:
    Did you stop watching at Brosnan?

    Before that. I couldn't take any Moore.

    BuddyJprimesuspectBlueTattoo
  • LincLinc Bard Detroit, MI Icrontian

    @BuddyJ said:
    Bruce Banner.

    Am I forgetting something or did he just sulk and hide for the tenth time?

  • BuddyJBuddyJ Dept. of Propaganda OKC Icrontian
    edited Jul 2015

    Guess it depends on if you believe the film developed his character enough to a point where leaving was more of an affirmation of his romantic interests and the tragic result of his flaws, and less of a "Banner always runs from problems - check!" moment.

    //Edit// Also, Ant-Man was good. I enjoyed it. The motif of "be the person your daughter believes you to be" was fun. It sounds like it's Ant-Man's version of "With great power comes great responsibility."

  • Cliff_ForsterCliff_Forster Baltimore, MD Icrontian
    edited Jul 2015

    I think part of the problem is that the audience has an expectation that films about comic books should be elevated as an art form. It is evident in this discussion.

    Remember these are stories that were initially crafted to appeal pre teen boys.

    I grew up on comic books. The films have exceeded my wildest dreams. It isn't that the formula is busted as much as there can be too much of a good thing. The threshold has been exceeded. Another problem is continuity in the stories. Just like the comics it is starting to alienate new viewers. My wife and daughter walked out of Days of Future Past and Age of Ultron a bit confused which sucked a bit of the joy out of it for me. They had a million questions about how things are connected, where it might be headed. Mind you not the kinda joy like "do you think Vader was telling Luke a lie" more like Dad WTF did I just watch?

    I'd like to see the output slow a bit and see more original takes on the core characters in self contained stories. That isn't going to happen as long as we keep paying.

  • BlueTattooBlueTattoo Gentleman Farmer Houston, TX Icrontian

    Before I get started, @primesuspect, great review. Great insight. It’s easy to say “It’s a formula” but you nailed every element. Now I can only guess that you are right about the Marvel movies, but @Kwitko put it together for me with his reference to Bond, James Bond. Fatigue, definitely. I’m not sure I even got to Bronson, @Linc, although I have gone back in recent years to see most of them. (Don’t you love the Internet?)

    A side note to @Cliff_Forster. Look at your post, paragraph 2. Why were you at these movies with people who have never been teen boys?

    Not that anyone should care, but my favorite comics were Flash, The Incredible Hulk, and Superman – in that order, although there were others if someone else bought them. My brother liked Archie and Jug Head, but I only read them for relationship advice. As I think about it, that may explain something about my relationships.

    Cliff_ForsterMt_Goat
  • Cliff_ForsterCliff_Forster Baltimore, MD Icrontian
    edited Jul 2015

    I'm not saying that the genre is exclusively for pre teen boys, I'm just saying you have to temper your expectations about character development, and consequences, and intelligent perfectly constructed plots when you are talking about stories that are ultimately about men in tights doing incredible things. Most of these characters were conceived for a much simpler audience in a much simpler time.

    I recently re watched the Dark Knight. Fantastic film, don't get me wrong... but a few years removed, is it like an Oscar worthy piece of art? I'm not sure I'd go that far. It's a fantastic movie about a guy that dresses up like a bat to fight a killer clown. Is it high art? Should I have that expectation of this genre? Not really. I just want to escape to a place in my pre adolescent imagination for a bit. There is nothing wrong with that.

    My favorite super hero films?

    Rami's Spider Man 2.
    Donner's original Superman
    The Incredibles.

    I'll admit, there is some emotional attachment to Spider Man for me. There are little parts of me that identify with the story. Nerdy kid, wise ass as a defense mechanism, closest to an elder woman (I had a close relationship with my Grandmother). Peter Parkers great struggle is just wanting to feel normal yet exceptional at the same time. Fantastic character, I'm not saying that comics can't aspire to be something that touches and moves us. They certainly can be, but most of it is about going to that place in your imagination where you feel powerless, and dream... wouldn't it be nice if I could do that. Imagine for a minute you could save the day. It's not always going to be the place where you find honest artistic expression about the real human condition. It's too detached to do that, and that is okay. That is what it is for. It is simply fantasy.

    That's why "Man of Steel" is such a piece of shit horrible comic book film. You take this pretty thin character, which Superman is. He is thin, but yet, awesome. He is the embodiment of everything good. All powerful and all he wants to do is a good job for humanity. Help everybody out. That is the fantasy, it's a beautiful fantasy. It's a wonderful place to drift off to. Imagine a world with a real Superman.... A guy who can do anything, and yet, he would never harm you with all that power. But that isn't good enough... we had to make him complex, give him a greater range of feelings, make the world despise him, give him a questionable sense of judgement... for what? To tell a human story about an alien that can do the coolest shit imaginable?

    I guess what I'm saying is sometimes less is more. I'm a simple guy that embraces and adores simple things. The Marvel Cinematic universe is mostly fantastic. I have very little to complain about. I will say though, that the more they aspire to elevate the genre, the more it will alienate the casual fan. Comic book films shouldn't aspire to be complex pieces of high art with engaging human drama. They are fine as simple stories about people with unique abilities that fight evil, and that is all they need to be.

    BlueTattooMt_Goat
  • BlueTattooBlueTattoo Gentleman Farmer Houston, TX Icrontian

    @Cliff_Forster Good, thoughtful observations.

    Cliff_Forster
  • CantiCanti =/= smalltime http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9K18CGEeiI&feature=related Icrontian

    @Linc said:
    Name 1 character that changed as result of the actions of the movie.

    Quicksilver

    Ilriyas
  • CantiCanti =/= smalltime http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9K18CGEeiI&feature=related Icrontian

    Oh wait, shit.

    Ilriyas
  • LincLinc Bard Detroit, MI Icrontian

    It's interesting that Ant-Man was the end of phase 2 of 3 for the Marvel Cinematic Universe plans. I wonder is a little fatigue isn't natural at the end of a second act.

  • Mt_GoatMt_Goat I am the hatchet man, look over your shoulder Icrontian

    I really enjoyed Ant-Man. I thought it came off better than a lot of the more recent offerings. Michael Douglas as Hank Pym had me totally sold on the character. He just completely had me from the beginning and just got better from there. Paul Rudd did a really good job as well, as did a lot of the supporting cast. I would certainly encourage anyone considering seeing it to go see it.

    As for Avengers Ultron flick, I liked it but it was also very disjointed. The characters just don't have any feeling of life to them. The movie also seemed to jump around alot, which I really hate in any movie.

    Slightly off topic, I also saw Terminator Genisys and thought it to be a real let down after the potential of this generation of the story line. It also left with a feeling of wtf just happened? as they tried to make it seem to finally be over. We all know that there was another machine sent to a different time line to come back later on.

    I have actually been disappointed with Hollywood in general so far this year! The only other movie I really enjoyed was Max. Is it just me or what?

    primesuspectCliff_Forster
  • LincLinc Bard Detroit, MI Icrontian

    Why you can't remember the music from a single Marvel movie:

    IlriyasCliff_ForsterSazbean
  • Cliff_ForsterCliff_Forster Baltimore, MD Icrontian

    I suppose not technically a Marvel universe film since it's part of the Sony Spider Man, but Danny Elfman did the score for the Rami Spider Man films and that is actually pretty good and memorable in spots.

    That said, that video is amazing.

    UPSLynx
  • SnarkasmSnarkasm Madison, WI Icrontian

    The music's bland, for sure, but Star Wars also has decades of length and tens or hundreds of views for many people. Who watches Marvel movies repeatedly? Which one of them is going to be a classic, decades from now?

  • DontCallMeKelsoDontCallMeKelso The one they call... Kelso San Jose, CA Icrontian

    @Snarkasm said:
    The music's bland, for sure, but Star Wars also has decades of length and tens or hundreds of views for many people. Who watches Marvel movies repeatedly? Which one of them is going to be a classic, decades from now?

    But its not talking about that part of it, it's talking about how within the marvel movies, the music doesn't invoke real emotion or allow you to associate memorable moments with music. The music was just there where as with Star Wars or Harry Potter or James Bond, the music is part of that moment, you remember both.

  • LincLinc Bard Detroit, MI Icrontian

    @Snarkasm said:
    Which one of them is going to be a classic, decades from now?

    I think the more interesting question is: could more of them have become classics if they hadn't gone safe on the music?

  • SnarkasmSnarkasm Madison, WI Icrontian
    edited Sep 2016

    Both fair points. I was just positing that it's possible we might not remember the SW music if they'd been one-hit wonders or part of a 30-movie mess that nobody can keep straight anymore. Instead, they became iconic and part of one of the greatest trilogies of all time, so most people remember a LOT about these movies that they might not remember about others.

    If one of the Marvel movies were to become successful on such a scale as the original Star Wars, I wonder if even their bland music might be remembered/reproducible by some, even if it's only a main character's theme and not the music throughout the movie.

  • LincLinc Bard Detroit, MI Icrontian
    edited Sep 2016

    @Snarkasm said:
    Both fair points. I was just positing that it's possible we might not remember the SW music if they'd been one-hit wonders or part of a 30-movie mess that nobody can keep straight anymore.

    I don't think anyone can get past the opening crawl of any Star Wars without going a little wide-eyed or any Harry Potter's opening without feeling a little chill (every. time.). No one can forget Jurassic Park's Brachiosaurus reveal, and it ain't the CGI that carries it.

    I do not believe for a second it's repetition that forms the memory, it's the emotion. Consider The Fugitive. The score's mediocre - not Star Wars great, but not so lame as Marvel. I've seen that movie over 25 times; absolutely love it. Can't hum a single note. By contrast, I know every single bar Alan Silvestri composed for Who Framed Roger Rabbit (I've seen it more times, but I'd argue once you cross 20 viewings it really doesn't matter).

    @Snarkasm said:
    If one of the Marvel movies were to become successful on such a scale as the original Star Wars, I wonder if even their bland music might be remembered/reproducible by some, even if it's only a main character's theme and not the music throughout the movie.

    I'd argue that Iron Man 1, Captain America 1, and Avengers 1 all meet the criteria for memorable, stand-alone successful movies. I cannot think of a single note from any of them after multiple viewings.

  • DontCallMeKelsoDontCallMeKelso The one they call... Kelso San Jose, CA Icrontian

    So Michael Giacchino is doing the music for Doctor Strange, I sorta have hope that Doctor Strange might change this problem up for Marvel

  • LincLinc Bard Detroit, MI Icrontian

    @DontCallMeKelso said:
    I sorta have hope that Doctor Strange might change this problem up for Marvel

    I'm just in it for the Bandana Cabbagepatch.

    DontCallMeKelsocolaUPSLynx
  • WinfreyWinfrey waddafuh Missouri Icrontian

    Biscuitswitch Crumpetstache?

    Linc
  • BuddyJBuddyJ Dept. of Propaganda OKC Icrontian

    Cumberbitches represent!

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