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After this, which exciting new Tut University course are you looking forwards to the most?

A History of Cults in America (with emphasis on Nolan and Snyder)
4 (36.4%)
Classical Literature that will probably be remade in a film starring Benedict Cumberbatch
2 (18.2%)
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Total Members Voted: 11

Author Topic: Why Marvel is Destroying America: Taught by Professor Tutweiller  (Read 2894 times)


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Welcome back to another scintillating class at The Diego Tutweiller School For Kids Who Can't Read Good (And Want To Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too). Today we'll be examining a slightly more controversial topic than we've looked at so far in this class. This might be where the line between "fact" and "opinion" begins to blur, but you fine fellows have stuck with me this far, so I say let's dive right in. Brace yourself for...

Lesson #3: The So-Good-It's-Bad Effect

Now, I know what you're thinking. "So good it's bad? Diego, have you lost your fucking mind?" But bear with me. When I say "so good it's bad," I don't mean that the product is genuinely good. I mean that in an effort to make their movies cool, the writers crammed in so many things that they overloaded their story. Maybe some of the concepts here were genuinely good. Maybe they had potential. But when they're tossed together in one big mess, they lose whatever good qualities they may have had.

Consider, for a minute, the cast of characters in the Avengers movies.

Let's ignore the fact that they're superheroes for a second and focus on what they really are. Who are the Avengers? Well, let's see...

We've got a Norse God. A man in a futuristic suit of armor that can fly. A man who can turn into a big green monster. A Russian assassin. A sharpshooter. A man who was literally frozen in time before being thawed and brought back in the 21st century. A witch. The incredible shrinking Paul Rudd. The list goes on.

The question I pose to you is... what ties these characters together? They have no shared origin. They have no common backstory. There's a loosely constructed plot device centered around a McGuffin called the "tesseract," but its effects on the story have been so drastically inconsistent, it's clearly just a plot device to explain these people's origins. The truth is, nothing ties these characters together, save for the fact that they've appeared in comic books alongside one another and audiences know them from that.

So imagine that those comics never existed. Imagine that Marvel is a nonentity. And imagine that you're a Hollywood producer and someone walks up to you and pitches you a movie with the cast of characters I just listed above.

You'd think they were an idiot.

Now, Marvel has attempted to circumvent this sensory overload by establishing their characters one by one in individual films. More power to them. The end result, I'm sad to say, remains the same. While movies like Captain America and Iron Man function rather well on their own, once these characters are all united in one two-and-a-half-hour film, everything falls apart. There are just too many things going on. "So good it's bad," I might say. It's like watching a movie made by a six-year-old who changes the narrative based on which action figures are within his immediate vicinity. Nazis? Sure! Aliens? Who cares! Dinosaurs? Well, we haven't gotten there yet, but never say never!

This is compounded by how incredibly successful these films have been. Marvel knows they've got a cash cow on their hands, and in order to keep milking it, they can't kill any characters off-- especially not fan favorites like Iron Man. So as they keep releasing films about individual characters' origin stories, and then move them into the big ol' Avengers films, the cast becomes increasingly cluttered. Nothing makes sense. All of these people are running around with nebulous backstories and nonsensical superpowers, and it becomes (pardon my French) a total clusterfuck. I thought we'd reached peak character density with Age of Ultron's introduction of Vision, Scarlet Witch, and Quicksilver, but Civil War proved me wrong by adding Spider-Man, Ant-Man, and Black Panther to the mix. It's overwhelming.

You may be wondering by this point why I've spent so much time criticizing the MCU and not, for instance, the X-Men films. Well, that's because the X-Men franchise, like it or not, is a far more intelligent series of films. All of the characters may have different, weird superpowers, but at least they all stem from what is more or less a common origin: mutation. At least an explanation is attempted. We aren't seeing any magic Nazi-alien-dinosaurs in those films any time soon, I promise you that. But when it comes to the Avengers films, these characters are so integrated into the cultural mainstream that you barely even realize that the films include both Nazis and aliens. What other film franchise can lay claim to such a monumental accomplishment in the field of overstimulation?

Oh... oh God, I'm gonna be sick... *huuuuuurk*

So how, then, has Marvel so expertly saturated their films with what can only be described as a plethora of nonsense? The answer is simple: comic books. These characters have been previously established in comics, so audiences and critics alike fail to even consider the fundamental questions I'm asking in this thread. They write it off as a simple adaptation of the source material, and don't bother to ask whether the source material is intelligently written or not. Sorry comic book fans, but I hold movies to a slightly higher standard than I do comics. Things like Harry Potter and John Carter (and yes, The Avengers) might work in print, but when translated to the big screen... it just... doesn't... work.

Based off of the name of this class, your logical question now should be "Diego, that's all well and good, but how is this destroying American culture?" Well, this now ties into what will be a recurring theme in these little mini-essays: restraint. I'm starting to think that Marvel may have killed the concepts of buildup and climax in blockbusters-- and if they're not dead, they're certainly in a coma. By using its comics as a platform to jump into film from, Marvel has successfully circumvented the very concept of "restraint" in filmmaking. And it never ceases to amaze me how unaware people are of this plain and simple fact. But hey, apparently so long as the movies are "faithful to the source material," anything goes! ... Even if that source material is fucking stupid. If you need any further evidence that superhero fatigue is a real thing, look no further than this.

It's a sight to behold, isn't it? These writers were so preoccupied with asking whether or not they could that they never stopped to ask if they should. You can deny it all you want, but in a few years' time, the proof will be self-evident. Marvel has murdered restraint. They can film an anthropomorphic raccoon and his buddy the talking tree, and nobody gives a crap. Oh, what am I saying? That's such a hilarious juxtaposition!

When filmmakers can do unlimited things with CGI and budgets, they show no restraint. That is a simple fact. Don't believe me? Ask George Lucas. These films will become more cluttered, more overstuffed, louder and more colorful, until finally people will be showing up at theaters and slapping down eight bucks just to watch two hours of nonstop fight sequences.

Oh wait... that already happened. It's called The Hobbit Part III.

Class dismissed.
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