Marvel seems to be losing its powers

From The Economist:

In “The Avengers” (2012) Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), a spy, described heroes as “an old-fashioned notion”. Certainly the film’s characters, including Captain America and Iron Man, were not novel, first appearing in comic books published in the mid-20th century. But if the idea was old, the excitement around superheroes had been renewed. “The Avengers” became the first Marvel movie to make more than $1bn at the global box office.

When Fury’s words were used in the trailer for “The Marvels” (2023, pictured), however, they took on a different tone. Heroes may seem antiquated, he argued, but “the world can still use them”. If it was an attempt to convince the viewer, it did not work. Released in November, “The Marvels”, the 33rd instalment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), made around $200m at the box office. It became the poorest-performing MCU film to date, and will probably lose money.

Nor was “The Marvels” a one-off disappointment. “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” also underperformed. According to CinemaScore, an audience-rating benchmark, of the past eight MCU films, five have scored B+ or worse (see chart). Fans complain of dull characters, sloppy writing and amateurish special effects.

Marvel productions on the small screen have not fared much better. Recent MCU television series on Disney+, including “Secret Invasion”, about Fury’s character, have been poorly reviewed and, estimates suggest, little watched. It does not bode well for the shows due to be released in the coming months.

The decline is surprising: for a long time, the Marvel brand seemed invincible. Disney bought the comic-book company in 2009 and it became a prized asset. The 23 movies released between 2008 and 2019 grossed almost $23bn in total, making Marvel the largest film franchise in history.

Marvel kept standards high even as it increased production. The company released 2.75 films, on average, in 2016-19, up from 1.2 in 2008-13. Of those 23 movies, only one ranked lower than A- on CinemaScore. Three films received an A+, awarded to fewer than 100 of over 4,000 films measured since 1979. “Black Panther” (2018) even became the first comic-book adaptation to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars.

Marvel pioneered an innovative “cinematic universe” model, in which plotlines and characters were shared across films. As Marvel’s universe grew, its competitors tried, and failed, to emulate its success. dc Comics—which owns Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman—set up, and recently scrapped, its “Extended Universe”. Warner Bros has turned the Harry Potter franchise into a “Wizarding World”. Universal twice tried to launch a “Dark Universe” of monsters such as Dracula and the Mummy, but both attempts failed after a single release. Efforts to build out Robin Hood and his merry men (Lionsgate), Power Rangers (also Lionsgate) and King Arthur and his round table (Warner Bros) all faltered.

By the early 2020s the MCU seemed set for further dominance. In 2019 Disney acquired 20th Century Fox, which held the rights to characters including the X-Men and the Fantastic Four. The launch of Disney+ that year made it easier for fans to keep up with the ever-expanding MCU and enabled the franchise to tell new stories in a serialised format. But instead of developing its position in pop culture, Marvel has struggled creatively and financially.

Disney insiders suggest several causes for the slump. One is to do with personnel. Several trusted writers and directors have moved on. Many of the actors playing the most popular superheroes left the MCU after “Avengers: Endgame” in 2019, and Chadwick Boseman, the star of “Black Panther”, died in 2020. Last month Disney fired Jonathan Majors after he was found guilty of assaulting and harassing his then-girlfriend. The actor played the villain at the heart of the “Multiverse Saga”, the story which would connect the films released between 2021 and 2027.

Another reason is to do with geopolitics. The first 23 films were all released in China, the world’s largest theatrical market, but between 2020 and 2022, none was. (China did not give a clear reason why, but it was probably building up its domestic film industry.) Though this de facto ban is now over, cinematic universes are hard to understand when audiences have missed several entries. Making matters worse, Disney+ is not available in China, so fans cannot watch the tv entries.

Link to the rest at The Economist

17 thoughts on “Marvel seems to be losing its powers”

  1. Marvel pioneered an innovative “cinematic universe” model, in which plotlines and characters were shared across films.

    I still stand in awe of them for doing that. It’s nothing to sneeze at. When “Captain America: The First Avenger” came out, I was so cynical that there would be more to come. I was expecting “creative differences,” budgeting problems, casting changes, director changes, etc. All the kinds of issues that could derail the cinematic universe.

    Again, there are lessons here. One is to have a creative vision to start with. The Star Wars Sequel Trilogy is an example of what happens when you lack such vision. And when you lack competence, of course. The “trusted directors” leaving is one thing, but surely there were other writers and directors you could have brought on who knew how to write and direct? And were you not smart enough to have apprentices in the room to learn from the trusted ones while they were there?

    • Marvel pioneered the *modern* cinematic universe but UNIVERSAL sort-of got there first.

      They did it with crossovers and sequels. Plus Abbot and Costello.

      Marvel’s creative problem is the first arc was cohesive and clear–villain, goal, coming climax–whike providing a stream of standalone self-contrained movies. The arc was secondary.

      After that ended, instead of doing standalones for a year or two, they not only jumped into a covoluted, disjointed mess without a clear and cohesive villain, they preannounced the third arc–a much more appealing project–and promptly forgot what made the first arc successful, that each movie was watchable on its own. Instead, the movies became daisy chained and so bad, the best part of most was the tacked-on mid credits teaser.

      They might have gotten away with it if it weren’t for the meddling kids…in the writers room. (Sorry, no van involved.) 😉 Despite everything, though, the one unexcusable sin was bad, boring, writing that frittered away a decade’s good will. And that’s not coming back.

    • Felix notes the Universal model, but I’d go a lot farther back. The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew were in the same “universe” and crossed over/met each other several times. One could also go back several centuries to the chansons de geste, epitomized by all of those books in Mr de la Mancha’s library!

      Anybody who says anything emerging from H’wood is “new” is, umm, undereducated. It may well be slicker, with better production values; it’s not new.

      • You’re too kind.
        Today’s production values may look slick on a cursory look from outside but the actual production *process* things look different: Disney movie budgets these days include $50M for reshoots to “clean” things up after the focus groups are done dissecting the first $150M worth of footage in various permutations.

        Are you aware of the multiple teapost tempests over the over budget and much delayed live action “Snow White”?

        First they were going to use live action dwarves and got pushback from *one* actor. Afraid of getting “cancelled” so they promptly replaced them with a crew of Village People rejects–and one dwarf human. Which prompted a much bigger crapstorm, so after ditching plan b, they moved on to plan C: CGI animated versions of the classic cartoon character from the original movie…but some taller than the actress.

        Note the actress’ quote: “It’s an 85-year-old cartoon, and our version is a refreshing story about a young woman who has a function beyond ‘Someday My Prince Will Come.’”

        Uh, wasn’t it supposed to be a *remake*? Based on centuries old german folklore? Not anymore.
        (Read the linked variety article.)

        So, does that sound like good “production values” or throwing stuff at the wall to see what *doesn’t” stick? Going on three years behind schedule, tens of millions in cost overruns, and being trolled by the DAILY BEAST who quickly assembled their own, lore faithful, SNOW WHITE AND THE EVIL QUEEN (with an actress that at least looks like a teenager) to be released one month after the Disney product, this spring. At which point Disney ran like heck and moved their movie to 2025. More retooling, more costs. They seem to be gunning for $500M territory. And since James Cameron is nowhere near the thing odds are the spent money will be found nowhere on screen. He’s probably shaking his head in disgust. “With that money I coud do a *good* terminator sequel!” 😉

      • Nancy Drew??? Okay, let me clarify why the Infinity Saga was an achievement:

        – James Cromwell, after his “Babe” triumph, left “King Lear” over creative differences with the director in 2005. A theater actress commented about it on her blog at the time, where she normally delves into movie history. She noted that sometimes a director’s vision can be so lacking that an actor has to protect himself; she herself has had to protect herself from incompetent directors. Jenna Ortega famously angered the writers at Netflix because she refused to let them destroy her character, “Wednesday.”

        – “Call the Midwife” was based on the memoirs of a midwife who was working shortly after WWII in Britain. The lead character of the series was based on her. Then the actress playing her, Jenny Lee, decided to leave the show. They had to re-tool the whole thing.

        – Robert Downy Jr. goes back a long way, but I mostly knew him from his drug problems in the 90s, when he woke up in someone else’s house that he’d broken into while high. Edward Furlong did not appear in “Terminator: Rise of the Machines” because of his own drug problems; he was replaced with another actor. So when “Iron Man” came out I was concerned RDJ might not stick the landing on his sobriety, and might also have to be replaced, or Iron Man killed off.

        – Henry Cavill left the Witcher and may be replaced with Liam Hemsworth because of irreconcilable differences with the incompetent show runners of the Witcher.

        – The Snyder Cut. ‘Nuff said.

        – BatGirl (or Batwoman, whatever) – the movie was scrapped entirely, because the head of Warner feared it would destroy the brand. And let’s not forget the debacle of the TV show.

        That’s why it’s impressive that for 22 movies, the MCU held together. No one left, no one was held up in contract disputes, no one had to re-shoot endlessly (like Disney Snow White), none of the typical Hollywood-specific derailments happened. The DCEU is a glaring counterpoint. The scrapped Dark Universe is a glaring counterpoint. The first 22 movies of the MCU had a cohesive vision, a story, and they executed it to the delight of fans. The Star Wars Sequel Trilogy is a glaring counterpoint, as is every MCU movie post-Endgame.

        Yes, the Hammer films were a cinematic universe, as were the Universal Monsters, but I’m not aware of all of the movies within either of them telling an interconnected story that culminates in one big finish. They did have some crossovers, but not nearly to the extent of what happened in the Infinity Saga. You didn’t have to see Frankenstein to understand the plot of a Dracula movie. Does Van Helsing help track down the Wolf Man or the Invisible Man? Is there a villain or plot thread common to all of the movies within those universes, where each story builds on the other?

        I read the Nancy Drew / Hardy Boys crossovers back in the day, but in novels I would point to horror / sci-fi / fantasy universes as stronger examples. But even those stories may have different trilogies and arcs that don’t relate to each other. The Faded Sun trilogy does not require you to read the other books of the Alliance-Union universe.

        Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith and Robert E. Howard shared ideas with each other in the Cthulhu mythos. I gather the reason people thought the Necronomicon was real because CAS would reference it in his stories, so it seemed to outsiders that Lovecraft must be on to something. But — universes in novels are not subject to the same pressures and problems of Hollywood universes. The Infinity Saga was more like an anthology: a series of stories under one vision, interlocked, and telling an overarching story. And yes, I have seen those in the literary world, but again, in Hollywood this is an uncommon feat.

        • I hear you but remember that while the MCU movies as a whole link, the early ones were standalones (Iron Man 1-3, Thor, Ant-Man, Hulk, even CAP2. Yes they had Fury and the mid-credit scenes, but the core movie people paid for stands on its own.

          Where the actual Infinity Saga seeds were in CAP1, THOR2 (both *retroactively*), and Dr. Strange 1 and AVENGERS 1&2. And even there, you can watch Dr. Strange without seeing anything else. (It might even help. Then you wouldn’t notice the reuse of the Iron Man plot.) And Civil War was actually an AVENGERS 2.5 (because 1- Feige wasn’t sure Cap could carry a third film alone and 2- WB had anounced they were doing BvS and he delights in “beating them to the punch”. Not always to good effect.)

          There was a lot of sleight of hand in turning standalones into a unified arc, mostly through the teasers. Not a bad move but it rewrites history to say *all* the movies were *intended* or developed as part of the one story.

          With the Multiverse Saga, the same guy dispensed with the standalones: If you don’t know who Scarlet Witch is, she’s just another cardboard villain in Dr Strange 2. If you don’t know who Strange is in Spider-Man No Way Home, he might as well be Harry Potter. A plot device without a character arc. In contrast, in Civil War both Steve and Tony had arcs. In Avengers 1&2 they all did, even Clint. (Natasha? dunno. The Hulk stuff is still weirdly tacked on.)

          The writing went down and the crossovers lost purpose other than to crossover and sell the next movie. Like, to what purpose ETERNALS? BLACK PANTHER 2? ANT-MAN 2? Other than to tease Blade, Black Knight, mutants? They’re not even particularly good as standalones.

          For all the misunderstandings and critiques about BvS, you don’t need to have seen anything to understand the characters and their positions. Even Eisenberg’s Luthor had a clear goal beyond advancing the plot. Did Snyder miss something? Yes; WW shouldn’t have been the only cameo. But that’s forgivable for the chance to see Diana in action. “I’ve killed monsters before.” Instead of jumping to the JL he should’ve done the trinity instead. Continue the character studies of Man of Steel and BvS.

          The DCEU had too much external interference, which Gunn should be able to avoid since he has his buddy running interference on the money side. And so far he seems to be on a good track, casting wise. The rumors on casting Kara are particularly promising. He wants a teenager or one who can pass for one for a decade. And the projects lined up all are different enough to highlight the scoe of tbe DC catalog.

          The DC movies are indeed different from the Marvel movies but that does not mean inferior, even FLASH. Just different, because the DCEU movies are individual character studies. Who is the man wearing the cape? The batsuit? The guywho commands the oceans? The demi-goddess. The movies are chatacter first, plot second. Marvel movies, even the good onrs, are plot first and often plot only. It is up to the actors to sell the story because the script rarely does. (The Russos being the big exception.) Take RDJ or Johannsen out of the role and what does the movie look like?

          Different is not necessarily inferior.

          I don’t believd in “superhero fatigue” anymore than I believe in “westerns are dead”. Each movie is its own entity and no formula works forever. And some concepts that make great movies are great *once* and should not be visited. AQUAMAN, for one. (Water based movies are way too expensive to keep trying to revisit.) BLACK PANTHER. Even if Bozeman had survived lightning was not going to hit twice.

          Other concepts come with legs, on tbe depth of tbe characters and mythos. Batman, Spider-man, Superman, WW when done right (somebody do tbe Perez run!). Captain America. (Marvel chickened out with Cap after WINTER SOLDIER. The guy is a creature of the depression. By all rights he should’ve told tbe world to go hang after that. At least the Russos got it right with him going back in time and staying.) The one problem Marvel can’t do much about is their characters typically don’t have deep mythos. X-MEN do but FF really don’t. Enough for one movie, maybe two. Blade and Punisher do but they’re blood and guts and that runs against Disney progressive sensibilities.

          DC, being the older company has more iconic characters to mine and many have deep unique lore. We saw how Joker played out. Twice. With more to come. The RIDDLER. The rumor says Professor PYG might be in the next movie. I doubt it. He is waay to grotesk for mainstream audiences but he’d be great. Expect PENGUIN to surprise. He was by far the best part of tbe GOTHAM show. I’d love to see THE QUESTION or the Cary Bates edition of CAPTAIN ATOM. Character first, plot second. All unique.

          And, prepare for it: The Authority.
          That Gunn singled out Angie Spica (THE ENGINEER) for the Superman movie says volumes about where he’s headed with GODS AND MONSTERS. For all the Superman movie over the past 80 years we have yet to see the character at his best. Or his cousin. Those may be incoming.

          Essentially, I’m saying that writing is king. Charscter beats plot nine times out of ten, and no trick works forever.

          Superhero movies aren’t done. They’re the mythology of our age. Marvel can’t ruin itno matter how hard they try. 🙂

        • Oh, I forgot to mention: you are absolutely right about the Batgirl (not Batwoman, entirely different character) movie. It was just a misguided money grab by WB HQ that showed no understanding of the characters (plural) their fan bases, and prospect for streaming or theaters. The latter is, no.
          Streaming, yes…with caveats.

          First of all, “Batgirl” is 4 different characters.
          The first, from the 50’s was Bette Kane, sidekick to the 50’s Batwoman. (Deep dive.)
          The second, Barbara Gordon, was created during the 60’s Batman TV show.
          The third, Cassandra Cain was created in 1999 and led the very first Batgirl series.
          The fourth, Stephanie Brown was created earlier as The Spoiler in 1992 but became Robin (sort-of) in 2004 and Batgirl in 2009.

          While the Barbara Gordon character is highly thought of, her Batgirl mythos is thin and bland and no major writer had a big use for her until Alan Moore was allowed to have Joker shoot her (as Barbara) and paralyze her (maybe raping her off panel) to break the kidnapped and tortured Commisioner under the theory that everybody was one bad day from going crazy like him. He failed and in the end Batman killed him off panel. The KILLING JOKE was supposed to be out of continuity but paralyzed Barbara became the default and the character bloomed as Oracle, first under John Ostrander in SUICIDE SQUAD, later in her own title, the *real* BIRDS OF PREY. She remained Oracle until 2011.

          Cassandra Cain is asian and the result of a crackpot experiment by the worlds greatest Hitman (so good hardly anybody knows he exists) when he paid Lady Shiva the undisputed top martial artist assassin in 21st Century DC a million bucks to bear a child. She agreed, took the money, and walked. David Cain raised Cassandra viciously without verbal language or human contact. Her only form of communication being body language and violence. He created a prodigy who at nine killed a man with her bare hands. However, she discovered that when she killed somebody, they stayed dead. She ran away swearing never to end another. After years on the run she ended up in Gotham and Batman found a use for her and Oracle sought to teach her language and humanity. Eventually she evolved.

          After two successful series (and declining sales) the mantle fell to Stephanie, who is neither a genius like Barbara, a combat prodigy like Cass, or (initally) a particularly vigilante. She is by all indications the most popular Batgirl, though.

          In fact, she has been featured in several live action fan web series, a rarity among comics characters. Her history as Spoiler and Batgirl, and a week or so as Robin (Batman took her in while Robin was tending his ailing father and quickly fired her for insubordination. 😉 ) is rich, offbeat, and fun!!!

          In the mythos, Cassandra went to hunt her “father” and gave the Batgirl suit to Steph. Barbara was not amused but reluctantly agreed to train and guide her because while her primary goal as Spoiler was to make her second rate villain father suffer in jail, her years hanging around Robin made her love the vigilante life. And since she’d figured out Batman (and Oracle’s) names, there wasn’t much they could do to stop the wild child with the big mouth. Who was, despite herself, oddly successful. (She talks back to Batman and ignores his orders.)

          Like I said, her two year series by Bryan Q. Miller was successful and only ended because of DC HQ’s midguided NEW 52 reboot attempt to “modernize” DC. After that, predictably, failed, two further reboots ended up with all three Batgirl operating independently and coordinating.

          Fans have their own ideas which is their favorite characters but clearly, for successful live video you either go outside lore for Barbara as detective, go kungfu crazy with Cassandra, or do a light hearted dramedy with Stephanie. THE trzshed movie did none of the above.

          Hollywood types just don’t get it and rarely listen to the folks who do.

          Try this:

  2. It’s not just, or primarily,China.
    (It’s mostly really bad writing, ignoring the audience to preach “the message”, and way too much “the volume” cgi.)
    But, yes, China is a big part;

    The lack of the Disney+ Marvel shows (no great stuff themselves) provides a lot of headscratching just as the lack of nostalgia for the LUCAS arcs hurt STAR WARS:

    “But almost no one in China grew up with the original “Star Wars.” When the first films were released in the late 1970s and early ’80s, China was coming out of the Cultural Revolution, an era in which Western entertainment was suppressed and people with ties to the West were persecuted.

    “That basically wiped out the first six films of the franchise,” said Michael Berry, a professor of Chinese literature and film at the University of California, Los Angeles. “It didn’t have the opportunity to get its hooks in.”

    With “somewhat abstruse, complicated jargons and plots,” said Ying Xiao, a professor of China studies and film at the University of Florida, “it is quite difficult for a Chinese audience who was not raised along with sequels to comprehend, digest and appreciate the attraction.”

    And the China bounty is not coming back even if the theaters let holywood movies in. China is slipping into deflation because consumers are not spending. Covid broke their internal economy as thoughly internally as externally.

    All that said, not only is their writing still bad (as of an 2024) but also their choice of projects, focusing on remakes and sequels nobody has much interest in to start with while ignoring what the audience really wants. What STAR WARS fans wanted was mature Luke Skywalkers New Jedi era, preferably with Mara Jade. Instead they got Mary Sues galore. The one good idea, Mandalorian, similarly shoved the protagonist aside for the third season to make room for more girl boss “magic”; the same failing of most of the Marvel shows and movies post ENDGAME.

    Lots of failings but bad, amateur hour writing is the main reason for their failings.
    Note that the James Gunn movies did fine and the Sam Raimi project did okay; proven veterans both.

    • I’d argue that there’s something much simpler here: Sturgeon was an optimist, and as the number of works from which they’re drawing “inspiration” (and to which they must do fan service) increases, the probability that they’re going to hit one of the bottom 90% that is utter crap approaches 1. Which is no different from any other such effort; people forget the second half of Sturgeon’s aphorism, which is approximately (there really isn’t a “canonical” form, it was spouted off at a convention and then revised several times):

      Ninety percent of the science fiction that gets published is crap. Of course, ninety percent of everything is crap.

      And if you really need a demonstration, just actually read all of the works written by Tolkein that surround The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (which are far from flaw-free themselves, beginning with army sizes and descending rather rapidly below Minas Tirith).

      • Quite true.
        But then again, what are the odds of hitting the 10% buckets if you give $200M budgets to inexperienced neophytes who’ve never made a full length movie (mostly ads and art house shorts) or worked in a proper writer’s room?

        Sturgeon’s law applies to masses, not individuals.

        Choose the right individuals (Gunn, Raimi, Favreau, the Russos, even Joe Johnston–veteran writers and directors of successful movies) and the odds of hitting the 10% are way better than if you give it to one Nia Dacosta, to name names. (Who, BTW, left her own Marvel movie behind in post production to move on to her next project. Odds she ever gets another big studio film to direct?) Competence matters.

        And, strictly speaking, it’s not like the Marvel movies didn’t make money at all; pretty much all opened to substantial numbers better than any contemporary horror movie like M3GAN or character drama like SOUND OF FREEDOM. But those had tight budgets of a quarter of the Marvel movies *and* had positive word of mouth. People did show up to the MARVELS. Some, a few, even gave it decent reviews. But decent reviews to a muddled movie about characters nobody cared about, even in Marvel Comics, meant negative world of mouth, to the tune of an 87% drop for the second week. a $330M production bringing in a global $206M, of which Disney got half, $103M.

        You don’t lose $220M real world accounting dollars due to “superhero fatigue” or random statistics in a franchise that used to crank out billion dollar box office numbers like clockwork–even the worst of which still returned 20% net; that kind of failure takes true incompetence.

        90% of everything *is* dreck but that typically involves everything from poorly funded Roger Corman kitsch, the Tracy Lords PRINCESS OF MARS, or NIGHTFALL to James Cameron 10-year productions, alongside other properly funded, well conceived, and cleverly scripted productions that are focused on their audience tastes and market conditions. And professionally *managed*. Movies are big business collaborative works, not one person in front of a typewriter cranking out their singular visions. Rational business types don’t hand out blank checks to kiddie klubs to go put on a show.

        Disney, not just Marvel, lost sight of their audience–who wanted RDJ improv, not Brie Larson scowls, recognizable villains with recognizable plans not convoluted idiot plots with musical nunbers and a decent light show of CGI–and lost sight of financial realities like budget restraint, a full coherent script from day one, and quality control in favor of “we’ll fix it in reshoots”. “We know better than the audience.”

        Hubris, plain and simple.

        • the Tracy Lords PRINCESS OF MARS.

          I did not catch that Deja Thoris was played by Tracy Lords in that movie! I recognized the actor playing John Carter, because he was from “General Hospital” back when I began watching soap operas after school. I watched the Lords edition of “Princess of Mars” while working late at night at the newspaper. No wonder she seemed familiar, she was all over TV back in the day. Anyway, Sci-fi Channel stuff is supposed to be fun dreck. I used to follow a blogger who lived in Bulgaria and made a lot of the B-movies that showed up on the Sci-Fi Channel (before it was turned into SyFy). Passably diverting ways of spending a slow news evening.

          But movies with nine-figure budgets are not supposed to be shlock. They are not supposed to be helmed by untested nobodies who are long on agenda and short on skill. They are not supposed to be socially engineering their audience, but rather they are supposed to be delivering what the audience wants.

          Everyone has been gushing — rightfully so! — about “Godzilla Minus One.” And pointing out repeatedly that the budget for that movie was only $11 million, although it was initially misreported as $15 million. You could really only tell it was “low budget” because of Godzilla’s odd style of locomotion when on land, but even that could be overlooked because the story was so amazing. It was a love letter to the original “Gojira,” (without Raymond Burr spliced in), and also a love letter to the fans. It didn’t seek to alienate or “challenge” its audience. It gave us what we didn’t know we wanted: a terrifying Godzilla and human protagonists we genuinely rooted for. Well, specifically, I didn’t realize Godzilla could ever be terrifying, since I prided myself as a child on not being scared of him. Because unlike Freddy and Jason, he couldn’t hide under my bed 🙂

          There is so much Hollywood can learn from G -1. About budgeting, about the proper uses of CGI, casting (e.g., don’t put a Brie Larson in an RDJ role), the choice of directors (a seasoned director who did not hate Godzilla or Godzilla’s audience), and about storytelling most of all. But I don’t know if they will learn these lessons, because so many in the press are running interference about “superhero fatigue” and “China” when those are not the issue at all.

        • Re-post because I think I used the wrong email and got caught in spam:

          1) I did not catch that Traci Lords was the one playing Deja Thoris in that movie! I only recognized John Carter, because the actor was in a soap opera I used to watch after school in middle school. I watched the Traci Lords version of A Princess of Mars during a slow news night at work, to keep awake.

          2) Sci-Fi Channel stuff is allowed to be “schlocky” of course. I used to follow a blogger who lived in Bulgaria, making all of the low-budget schlock for the Sci-Fi Channel, before its name was changed to SyFy. Passably entertaining movies to pass time during slow news nights in general.

          3) Note the low-budget. Nine-figure budgets are not supposed to be in the hands of untested nobodies who are long on agenda and short on skill. Nine-figure budgets are solely for projects that have mass appeal and are handled by seasoned pros who are delivering what the audience wants, instead of trying to socially engineer them to like something else.

          Everyone is gushing — rightfully so — about “Godzilla Minus One.” It was made for $11 million, and you couldn’t even tell it was low budget except for Godzilla’s strange style of locomotion on land. Even so you could overlook it, because the story was so amazing. It delivered audiences what they wanted: a cool Godzilla movie. And it delivered what we didn’t know we wanted: a terrifying Godzilla and protagonists we genuinely cared about and rooted for. Well, specifically, I never realized Godzilla could be terrifying, because as a child I prided myself on not being afraid of him. Unlike Freddie and Jason, he couldn’t hide under my bed 🙂

          “Godzilla Minus One” delivered a lot of lessons for Hollywood, from the proper uses of CGI, to casting — e.g., don’t put a Brie Larson in an RDJ role, to choice of directors — a seasoned director who did not hate Godzilla or Godzilla’s audience. It was a love letter to fans of “Gojira” (without Raymond Burr spliced in) and made by people who respected the work and what came before. As opposed to a Rachel Zegler who crapped all over “Snow White,” the movie that put Disney on the map seventy years ago.

          But I don’t think Hollywood will learn from “G -1” because they have the press shoring up their excuses about superhero fatigue and China, when really they ought to be taken to the woodshed.

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