Marvel Cinematic Universe: From A Love To Hate Relationship

MCU: From A Love To Hate Relationship

For the longest time, the MCU was an untouchable force in entertainment. Making huge returns at the box office and getting mostly good feedback from critics and audiences on their film and TV projects. But recently cracks have started to become more visible in the Marvel sheen.

Today we are going to look at several challenges the MCU has been facing recently. We will review how they could respond to them, and whether we think their response will be enough.

Far From Satisfactory

So what problems is the MCU encountering at the moment? Well firstly, as Tatiana Siegel has pointed out, the franchise has had to drastically change its plans after Jonathan Majors, who was to play Kang the Conquerer, the MCU’s next big villain, was charged with domestic violence. The MCU, therefore, has to change all of its plans to pivot away from Majors. This will require time and money to do as the character was apparently already a major part of several upcoming projects.

A tall order but as the world’s most successful franchise the MCU has access to the capital to shift things. However, the franchise has also just had its worst box office performance ever with The Marvels. Regardless of its overall quality, The Marvels marks the first time an MCU film has made an outright box office loss. Which could signal the start of more uncertainty in the studio’s box office footing.

Additionally, we have seen many stories about Marvel butting heads with its creatives. VFX artists who work for Marvel have recently made moves to unionise in the face of large workloads and a lack of adequate time management and compensation. The studio has also faced many accusations of undercutting its creatives work through constantly changing direction and underpaying its writers. Something that might not be viewed favorably in the aftermath of the industry strikes.

Marvel VFX artists move to unionise // Credit: The Hollywood Reporter
Marvel VFX artists move to unionise // Credit: The Hollywood Reporter

Plus with much discussion about Marvel potentially losing its audiences as they age or become alienated by the number of intertwined movies, Marvel could be in trouble if it doesn’t think of solutions fast.

No Way Out?

So what is Marvel planning on doing? Well as Siegel stated there are talks about the potential of bringing back the original Avengers stars for a new film which could regain fan confidence and box office attendance. Marvel has also already announced that releases would be slowing down to try to retain good-quality output.

There is also potential to reinvigorate the franchise with the release of the new projects that Disney got from Fox. Coupled with the incorporation of the Netflix properties.

Deadpool 3 set to release in 2024 // Credit: Disney
Deadpool 3 set to release in 2024 // Credit: Disney

And Marvel is also taking steps to change the direction of some of its upcoming projects. Marvel even plans to have dedicated executives oversee the development of its television projects. Which will hopefully produce more focused results.

Marvel’s Endgame

It is entirely possible to see Marvel bounce back. Dialling back the number of productions to combat audience fatigue and allow more time for creatives to make good films and deal with the troubles currently faced by too many titles and Jonathan Major’s departure is a positive thing. However, the MCU is still at risk if it doesn’t fix its attitude towards creatives and think about its overarching goal.

With some of its VFX artists now unionised (which could hopefully influence more artists) Marvel will have to operate with more regard for its workers if it wants to keep them on board in the future. This means they should expect higher production costs/time if they want good quality end results. Equally, if the company doesn’t fix its relationship with writers and directors, it’s easy to see the brand being avoided by many creatives. If Marvel wants to continue making these movies it needs creatives onside to keep people watching. The recent strikes taught us that Hollywood cannot live without its creative blood and if the studios refuse to recognize their contributions then the price will be costly.

And if the MCU still aims to indefinitely produce interconnected media then it will eventually begin to alienate audiences as individual projects keep requiring more and more things to be watched. Marvel certainly needs to think more about its plans for the future.

Also Read: The MCU Phase 4: Dividing Audiences?

Posted by
Josh Greally

Writer and filmmaker. I have a masters in directing film and television and have written film reviews for several smaller sites in the past. Films are my life, but I also enjoy writing, reading, listening to music and debating.