Why Marvel is Healthy For Hollywood


The Marvel movie franchise should be praised for their cinematic complexity and longevity, while not sacrificing quality. (Courtesy of Flickr)

By Christopher Canadeo

I’m not sure if many have heard, but this past weekend was the release of Marvel’s The Avengers: Infinity War. Comic book nerds and film lovers rejoiced, as this movie was promised to be Marvel’s biggest and brightest production yet, poised to shatter box office sales as well as fan’s perceptions of space and time itself. Marvel fans have been craving this film since the finale of the last “Avengers” movie, as the franchise seems to be on the ascent with this last superhero collaboration marking the final climax.

Although the Marvel franchise has experienced unprecedented success, not everyone believes that this many Marvel movies is good for Hollywood. Some critics see the Marvel franchise as hurtful because it demonstrates how easy it is to rearrange the same characters in different settings and spit out dozens of successful movies. The plots are always the same, as the superheroes always come out on top and save the world from utter destruction with a few punches and punchlines thrown in for good measure. This formula has grown for some movie-goers, as it seems that the franchise may finally be approaching mediocrity.

After viewing Avengers: Infinity War, one Los Angeles Times critic said: “My initial fear was that Avengers: Infinity War would be a hopeless, planet-hopping traffic jam of a movie, a black hole of enervating cinematic chaos. The reality may be even more depressing: It works just fine, and that’s all it was ever meant to do. Few of the characters leave us wanting more because there doesn’t, at this late phase, appear to be anything more.”

Has Marvel just run out of quality ideas? Of course not.

Marvel films have helped out Hollywood more than they have hurt it. While critics may view the repetitive characters and plots as a negative, they fail to recognize that their consistency is what attracts viewers and dedicated fans. Seeing the transformation of your favorite childhood superhero before your eyes on the big screen is a rewarding experience and one that is unique to Marvel, as no other superhero franchise has developed as many successful and engaging movies before. In fact, many other movie franchises can learn from Marvel’s success in terms of revenue and longevity. It takes real skill and creativity to have a cinematic series that spans over 30 films and a full decade.

DC Comics has attempted to follow the same strategy but has stumbled along the way, producing several box office flops such as Batman vs Superman, Suicide Squad and most recently, Justice League. It took the efforts of the great Christopher Nolan for fans to cheer on a DC hero consistently in theaters, and even then, the joy of watching Batman rescue Gotham only spanned three movies.

Knowing what to expect when sitting down at a movie theatre can often be a good thing. Marvel fans know that they are paying to see a film with loads of action, their favorite superheroes and well-crafted humor that is not too political or mature for a wide variety of viewers.

Marvel is good for Hollywood because it consistently puts fans in the seats of movie theatres, a trend that has become increasingly difficult, as Americans find traveling to a movie to be a bigger inconvenience than ever. Dedicated Marvel fans (the likes of which are multiplying with each movie) are so excited for the upcoming films that they don’t want to wait for the movies to come out on DVD, as great Marvel movies, such as Black Panther, become trends and talking points days after the films hit theatres.

Although no Marvel cinematic film has ever won an award for its excellence, accolades should not be the only measure of a film’s success. Growing a dedicated fan base that stands by a franchise and goes to see every movie says more about the brand of Marvel than an Academy Award ever will. Besides, people don’t really watch The Oscars anymore so it’s not that big of a deal.

There is a reason why Marvel’s movie formula is so effective. It not only encompasses compelling stories, but more importantly inspires kids to be heroic and teaches them valuable lessons about maturing, teamwork and overcoming conflict. A Marvel-less Hollywood would not only mean fewer people visiting theatres, but fewer people inspired not only to conquer their own villains but perhaps craft a cinematic masterpiece themselves. Rather than criticize Marvel for its voluminous and continuous movie production, we should celebrate the works of Stan Lee and the Russo brothers for showing us that their passion and sustained effort for excellence over time is indeed still super.


Christopher Canadeo, GSB ‘19, is a marketing major from Long Island, New York.