08th May2018

Culture Dump #33: Are Movie Franchises Suffering from TMI?

by Simon Bland

Watch Out: This post contains *SPOILERS* regarding Avengers: Infinity War – If you haven’t seen it, stop reading now… or don’t. I’m not the eye-police.

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Having looked at the superhero movies that slipped through the cracks en-route to Avengers: Infinity War last week, perhaps it’s time to focus our attention on the main event and a slight issue that threatens to render all its years of planning and mystique a little flat. If you’re one of the few who’s yet to see it, here’s a quick catch up: spoiler alert – Thanos wins. After gathering all five Infinity Stones (a collection of non-edible, incredibly powerful jelly tots), the purple headed monster heads to Earth and with the combined power of the universe on his fist, clicks his fingers and instantly deletes half the population of the universe. Bad times.

While us normies made up the majority of Thanos’s body count, a handful of Supers were also reduced to dust. Black Panther, Doctor Strange, the Guardians – even new recruit Peter Parker – are all lost to the ether as Infinity War closes on a particularly precarious note, forcing audiences to speculate on the fate of the Marvel Universe from now until the still-untitled part two arrives next May. What a cliffhanger, right? Well sort off. With fans’ feverish appetite for movie news – and with Studios overly keen to plan our their franchises years in advance – it’s sort of hard to get too caught up with the potential finality of Infinity War’s deadly closing twist.

Let’s not forget – Marvel’s already fleshed out its slate until at least 2020, with Guardians of the Galaxy confirmed for a third volume and Tom Holland’s recently deceased Peter Parker confirmed to return as early as July 2019.  Combined this with the raw popularity of these heroes and rogues amongst fans and it’s hard to imagine Marvel following through with their threat of killing off half of the cast they’ve worked so tirelessly to assemble. It’s not just release dates that squash any sense of peril either. Sometimes, a quick look on IMDB can often confirm or deny the inclusion of potentially spoilerific cameos and plot-curves, erasing the surprise element that audiences often say they want yet seemingly love denying themselves of.

That said, a handful of directors still seem intent on keeping the unpredictability of pre-Internet cinema alive. JJ Abrams’ had the Ewok chops to off Han Solo in The Force Awakens – and more importantly keep him dead – and his Star Wars successor Rian Johnson did a fine job of keeping Yoda’s return underwraps in The Last Jedi. With this in mind it’s worth remembering that Marvel has displayed similar gusto in the past, with Joss Whedon stopping Quicksilver in his path with a death scene in Age of Ultron.

Throw in the fact that a handful of Marvel’s heroes are nearing the end of their contracts and perhaps Disney’s caped-cash cow is avoiding the curse of franchise TMI by pulling a fast one on us. Interestingly, its the Avengers’ most seasoned heroes like Tony Stark and Steve Rogers and not its cinematically deceased stars of tomorrow that seem destined for pastures new. Should we be more concerned for those who survived Thanos’ wrath than those who actually died? That’d certainly be one way to keep audiences on their toes.

Like me, would you watch a TV show called The Eye Police? Let me know in the comments section below!

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