Superhero movies dominated the box office from the mid 2000’s through the late 2010’s. For nearly 20 years, comic book heroes stormed to the big screen with extreme success. But here in the 2020’s, the interest in superheroes seems to have dwindled. Did Avengers: Endgame really break us?
In my opinion, yes and no. It’s complicated. Let me explain.
Interest in Marvel definitely feels down, especially after Endgame.
Some will say it’s a case of “go woke, go broke”. I find this extremely unlikely. Marvel fans know that both Marvel, and Stan Lee, have always been “woke”. But don’t take my word for it. You can hear it straight from the man himself.
I also doubt it’s the quality of the product. Sure, some Marvel stuff hasn’t turned out like we had hoped. Thor: Love and Thunder definitely wasn’t great, as a few other projects I could name. But countless Marvel titles since Endgame were awesome. Spider-Man: No Way Home was incredible. WandaVision, Loki, and Falcon & The Winter Soldier were all spectacular. I even thought the latest Dr. Strange was pretty sweet.
If I had to pinpoint a problem with Marvel, it boils down to 2 things.
1. Endgame felt too final
2. The current storyline isn’t progressing fast enough
Endgame, in all it’s glory, was absolutely amazing. A perfect ending to a story we spent well over a decade building to. But perhaps too perfect. For many, everything after Endgame feels like when you’ve defeated a video game, and now you’re just playing through the side-missions you missed.
True fans of the franchise know where the current story is building to, but it’s taking too long to get there. Sure, it took us over a decade to get us to Thanos and “the snap”. But the gang fought some pretty formidable foes to bring us to that point. It felt like serious business. We know Kang the Conqueror is coming, but who are the big baddies we’ve seen leading up to him? I can’t remember, can you? The story is definitely dragging, and that’s a major contributor to the lack of interest.
But has interest in superheroes totally waned? I’d say, absolutely not. An awful lot of attention seems to be on DC these days. The “Snyder-verse” was fumbled horribly, and just couldn’t compete with Marvel. But with new management, there is some revived interest. It’s been a shaky transfer of power so far with James Gunn taking control, but I think once he gets his feet settled, some greatness will follow. His work has been among some of the best things in superheroes in both Marvel and DC. So I’m interested in what happens next.
So does the “superhero hangover” exist? Perhaps a little.
But I’m from Wisconsin. So if a superhero hangover is anything like an actual hangover, the best cure is to jump on the horse and do ‘er again.