The Marvel Cinematic Universe has dominated blockbuster movies for one and a half decades. It’s both the most successful shared cinematic universe and longest-running highly profitable superhero movie franchise. At the same time, there has been a noticeable drop in the property’s quality, not to mention fan interest and engagement. There’s now a potential reboot on the table, but it might not be enough to entirely right the ship.
Supposedly, Marvel Studios creative lead Kevin Feige is planning a “soft reboot” of the MCU. A much better idea, however, is to go wholesale on the reboot and wipe the slate clean. Furthermore, it’s obvious that audiences are overloaded with Marvel content. Thus, an extensive break after the next big crossover is the way to go.
The MCU’s Best Days May Be Behind It
For some viewers, the quality of the Marvel Cinematic Universe began to slip after the landmark movie Avengers: Endgame. The criticisms ranged from less focused storytelling, an overindulgence in the already ubiquitous “quippy” humor and the lack of fan-favorite heroes. Black Widow, Iron Man and Captain America were gone, while many disliked the less serious new portrayals of Thor and Hulk. Conversely, none of the new heroes managed to “get over” with audiences, despite their obvious intention of “replacing” the previous major characters.
Marvel Studios also started to receive its first critical and financial misfires, with Eternals, Thor: Love & Thunder, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and the recent Secret Invasion being poorly received among critics and fans. Even the financially successful Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness was seen by many as a letdown. In fact, the only major success during this post-Endgame era was Spider-Man: No Way Home. Even then, this was a co-production with Sony that banked heavily on nostalgia for Sony’s previous Spider-Man movies. Amid all the new movies were several shows made for the Disney+ streaming service.
Though shows such as WandaVision, Loki and arguably even The Falcon and The Winter Soldier were prominent hits, none of the other shows were major successes. Even amid its seemingly rave reviews, Ms. Marvel was a ratings bust, with unfamiliarity with the unwatched show likely contributing to The Marvels‘ low box office projections. Behind-the-scenes controversy has also increased, and the anticipated Daredevil: Reborn was even scrapped to be retooled from the ground up. It’s obvious that the once well-oiled machine that was the MCU is not quite what it once was, making talks of a reboot as inevitable as Thanos.
Right before Avengers: Endgame came out, Disney acquired 20th Century Fox and its movie rights. These included the rights to Marvel properties that the company had, namely those of the X-Men. Thus, the Marvel Cinematic Universe was set up to finally bring the X-Men and the Fantastic Four into the mix. Sadly, this still has yet to happen, with the revelation that Ms. Marvel is a mutant instead of an Inhuman largely going nowhere. Thus, the talks of a reboot may be exactly what the MCU needs in order to bring these elements in.
The widespread existence and persecution of mutants in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as it stands is impossible to work in an organic fashion. Likewise, the Fantastic Four’s absence, despite being Marvel’s “First Family” in the comics. A soft reboot might offer a way to more fluidly introduce these characters, namely if it’s retconned that they were now always present in the MCU’s history. Unfortunately, this might be too gimmicky and contrived, especially among casual audiences. Likewise, it means that fans still wouldn’t see heroes such as Wolverine or The Thing interacting with Captain America and The Hulk.
Thus, the best solution to this problem is to reboot the movies entirely. Avengers: Secret Wars is likely set to be filled to the brim with cameos from past, non-Marvel Studios Marvel movies. Thus, it can be the ultimate sendoff for those movies and the MCU as audiences know it. From there, a full reboot can be implemented that starts over completely. Of course, in order for this to work and to keep from repeating the same mistakes as what happened after Endgame, the end of the MCU needs to be followed up by a period of absolutely no more Marvel movies.
Avengers: Secret Wars Must Be the Last Marvel Movie for Several Years
One reason why the criticism has seemed so “hot” toward the MCU as of late is that, amid seemingly declining quality, there’s an absolute onslaught of content. Beyond the movies, there are now numerous TV shows, the likes of which are far different from the Marvel Netflix shows. Not only is the tone and even quality of these Disney productions different, but they’re far more crucial to ongoing saga of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For instance, WandaVision was necessary viewing in order for Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness to make sense. Even fans have tired of how much there is to keep up with, and it’s furthering criticism that the shared universe has simply become a “content mill.”
In order to make audiences interested in the universe again instead of tired of it, there needs to be an extensive break in production. After Secret Wars, the reboot of the MCU shouldn’t begin until at least five years afterward. This way, fans of what came before can truly mourn so to speak. At the same time, a fervor and hunger for the same excitement will have had a chance to grow among the general public. They’ll no longer be inundated with a constant stream of Marvel content. On top of that, such a lage gap would provide time for Marvel Studios to plan for at least the first ten years of this new Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Such strict continuity was what made the current MCU a success up until Endgame, and that level of planning has obviously been sorely lacking in the new projects. During this time, contracts can be worked up between actors and “phases” put together, allowing for a new generation of Marvel adventures that can recreate the acclaim of 2008 to 2019. Likewise, those who blame Marvel for a downfall in the quality of “cinema” will be quieted. These are all some of the likely effects of Marvel Studios taking a breather, especially since the MCU will be around 20 years old when Secret Wars releases. Ironically, that’s about the span of a generation and how long rival company DC tends to go without majorly rebooting its comic book canon. Thus, it’s probably the best time to said goodbye to the house that Iron Man built and put the current MCU to bed.
Marvel Studios may be planning a reboot of the MCU, but the reboot itself and the break between new projects must go much further than this. Read More