Miracles no longer happen at Marvel

Miracles no longer happen at Marvel
Miracles no longer happen at Marvel

Every minute of “Captain Marvel 2” cost more than two million dollars. With a refreshingly short running time of 105 minutes and a gargantuan budget of 220 million, this makes it the shortest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but also one of the most expensive. And also the biggest failure. With 47 million in America and 63 million worldwide, it marks the lowest box office opening in the entire spectacular and instructive history of the MCU. The echo of this epic offshoot fades away even in Bulgaria, which is insignificant for the international cinema market, where in its premiere weekend “Captain Marvel 2” (with the original title The Marvels) lagged in terms of viewers behind the native offering “Diaad”…

And it was time – Marvel was the eighth wonder of Hollywood. 32 triumphant blockbusters that grossed more than $30 billion, all in less than fifteen years. The work of the studio under the banner of the giant Disney has become the gold standard for serial success. And while it was initially a purely commercial franchise, whose infantile, noisy and spectacular productions were denounced by veterans like Scorsese and Coppola as “the end of cinema”, few would dispute that Kevin Feige and company have created a vivid signature of their own and a whole pantheon of characters that until then lay dormant in old comic magazines. The films featured some of the biggest stars on the screen such as Robert Downey, Scarlett Johansson, Glenn Close, Jeff Bridges, Robert Redford, Anthony Hopkins… But the pandemic, Disney’s greed and fans’ fatigue with quantity over quality turned things around . This, of course, is directly related to the conception of cinema not as an artifact but as a product; not as a work of art, but as “intellectual property”; with the desire to sell more streaming subscriptions and merchandise than screening tickets. But the audience doesn’t care.

And although in 2023 the comic universe still demonstrates the vitality of some of its heroes like Spider-Man (in cartoon form) and the Guardians of the Galaxy, it is now clear to everyone that the era of the Avengers and the box office results of over 1 billion dollars is gone to return. This is what happened with “Captain Marvel 2”. The first film starring Brie Larson (with an Oscar for the forgotten low-budget production “Room”) was far from the best in the Marvel portfolio, but it earned 1.131 billion from tickets. In 2019, Carol Danvers was the MCU’s first female lead (surprisingly ahead of Black Widow) — overdue, even as DC reruns launched Wonder Woman two years earlier.

So now Disney is trying their best to make up for this delay with a racially and ethnically diverse roster and a team where the men with a candle look for them. If “Captain Marvel” was directed by the tandem of Ann Boden and Ryan Flack, here Nia DaCosta stands alone at the helm. She wrote the screenplay alongside Megan McDonnell and Elissa Karasik, the music is by Laura Karpman, and I’m even surprised that the cinematographer’s name is Sean Bobbitt (not flashy in any way).

Brie Larson returns as the amnesiac space heroine, but this time she has her own all-female team to fight the villain – also a woman, you know. It features teenage Kamala Khan/Miss Marvel, the first Muslim superheroine in the comic book pantheon, and Monica Rambo (black), who calls Captain Marvel “Aunt Carol.” Both characters are familiar from Marvel series that air on Disney+ – Miss Marvel has her own, and Rambo appeared on Wandavision. This overlapping of themes, plots and characters is also part of the problem – even the most die-hard fans no longer have the patience and desire to follow all the ramifications. The multiplicity became unstoppable after the launch of the streaming platform in 2019 – since then the studio has released nine TV series (with 6 to 9 episodes each), not counting the standard three or four movies on the big screen per year (excluding the 2020 covid).

But even if we abstract from that, “Captain Marvel 2” is just a weak movie. Yes, it’s short, it’s dynamic and Pakistani Canadian Iman Velani is very sweet and bubbly as Kamala. But beyond that, it’s monstrously secondary and mediocre. Not even a digitally rejuvenated Samuel Jackson, in the timeless role of Nick Fury, can pull him off the cliff. The chemistry between the three heroines is non-existent; the computer effects are stunningly clumsy for the price paid for them; amid a series of rewrites and reshoots, structurally the film is a complete mess. There’s digitally generated cats saving the world, there’s too many songs for a comic book movie (well, it’s Disney after all), there’s annoying repetition and playing it safe. Wasn’t the superhero genre supposed to be wildly colorful, weird, and inventive? Well, somewhere along the line, it became a rambling template based on compromises and corporate reporting. Or as one joke goes: this movie should have been an email. Or a Zoom meeting at most.

We fly higher, farther, faster with Captain Marvel 2 on November 10 only in theaters in 3D, IMAX 3D and 4DX.

We fly higher, farther, faster with Captain Marvel 2 on November 10 only in theaters in 3D, IMAX 3D and 4DX.

The article is in bulgaria

Tags: Miracles longer happen Marvel


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