Go woke, go … Marvel. The 33rd film in the mammoth movie series was just released, and it scored the lowest opening in the history of what is known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe or MCU. “The Marvels” was anything but marvelous.
For 22 movies, the MCU was the home of some of the most-famous comic book heroes in history – Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Thor and Black Widow. They conquered enemies on screen and, more importantly, conquered the box office as well. Statista says the MCU with all its other spin-offs has made roughly $30 billion or three times what the “Star Wars” universe brought in.
That’s the goose that laid a lot of golden eggs. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the message the Disney execs wanted. They demanded a more diverse, political, and hip universe. No matter what fans were paying to watch.
After the movie appropriately titled “Avengers: Endgame,” things got more difficult. That movie (spoiler alert) killed off and aged beloved characters, leaving Spider-Man, Thor, and the also-rans of the MCU in charge. (I bet I get emails for that comment.) “Marvels” does more than just continue the MCU’s slide into irrelevance. It’s part of the universe’s slide into woke-dom that started with “Endgame.”
These used to be fairly predictable comic book movies, mostly where the heroes don’t die, and they get to vanquish the bad guys. For oldsters, like me, they are like the “Mod Squad” with superpowers – a mix of humans and even aliens who try to do good. They are led by tough and not superpowered Nick Fury, played by Samuel L. Jackson. Big-name actors playing big-name superheroes. It’s hard to screw that up.
There’s a scene in “Endgame” that really set things in motion. Variety recalls that scene and explains the problem with “Marvels” at the same time, even if it does so inaccurately. “The all-female team-up movie makes good on the promise of ‘Avengers: Endgame’ and its six-second sequence in the fight against Thanos where all the MCU’s super-women rally behind Captain Marvel.”
What Variety is explaining here as a “six-second sequence” actually was the cringiest near-minute in the first 22 movies. In the midst of a massive battle to save the earth, all of the female characters appear in the same spot to help Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel. It was a new level of pandering that was embarrassing to fans of both genders.
Here’s how Variety finishes that thought: “With ‘The Marvels,’ [director Nia] DaCosta gives fans an hour and 45 minutes of that same energy as the trio join forces to face a new villain — also a woman (Dar-Benn, played by Zawe Ashton).”
So, more than 100 times more cringey than the worst scene in the MCU. That’s not a “promise.” That’s a threat.
Trailers for the movie made soggy toast look exciting by comparison. Until the last one. You could tell the marketers were getting worried about box office.
The final trailer begins with both Iron Man and Captain America and even features the previous villain Thanos. It’s got lots of Fury’s voiceover. In short, it’s a trailer for a movie they didn’t make. Because those are the characters people want to see. Not the new trio, two of whom most fans have little idea who they are.
But they are diverse and that’s what matters. Not story. Not plot. And not fans.
Fox host Greg Gutfeld summed it up: “But today, entertainment is now secondary to diversity and every cast must be as colorful as a bag of Peanut M&Ms and twice as nutty. It’s the universe according to Disney.”
The failure of “Marvels” has upset all the left people. Author Stephen King responded on X, which used to be Twitter, saying, “I don’t go to MCU movies, don’t care for them, but I find this barely masked gloating over the low box office for THE MARVELS very unpleasant. Why gloat over failure?”
Sometime comedian Jay Black responded, mockingly calling the critics, “the ‘didn’t-have-a-date-for-prom-to-hating-movies-that-have-women-stars’ pipeline.”
You see, you aren’t supposed to criticize diverse movies, even if they’re bad. Author Brad R. Torgersen gets it right. He referred to the movie as “woke-bludgeoning the audience.” And Disney has been doing a lot of that.
Since “Endgame” came out, woke-ism cropped up in the MCU like Disney owned it, which sadly it does. And now they’ve done a whole movie gradually building toward what appears to be an all-female Avengers team, which they hint at following the film. The original Avengers was made up of five White male superheroes and one White woman. In Disney’s new MCU, almost all of the original Avengers have been replaced by their more diverse counterparts.
Since the massive success of “Endgame,” they swapped out Captain America for his popular Black sidekick, Sam WIlson. But rather than keep the upbeat, heroic tone of the movie characters, the spin-off TV show, “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” immediately delved into the issues of racism. One Black character told Wilson: “They will never let a Black man be Captain America. And even if they did, no self-respecting Black man would ever want to be.”
Then there’s the feminism of the hilariously panned, “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law,” (No, I’m not making this one up.) with its bad CGI. Actress Ginger Gonzaga describes the show that few want to remember as including “a lot of really cool feminist commentary.”
Of course, 2024 is also supposed to feature the debut of “Ironheart,” with actor Zoe Terakes, who Collider described as “the first trans actor in the MCU.” Yippee!
All that diversity takes us back to “The Marvels.” The three superheroes include the ever-wooden Larson and two women of color including Kamala Khan, the first Muslim superhero, as Ms. Marvel.
Fun times? Not really. And that’s why people want to see comic book superheroes. Not to be lectured. Fans don’t care about race, gender, etc. They pay to be entertained.
“Black Panther” was successful because it was entertaining. The character has longstanding, comic-book ties to the Avengers and the movie was both well done and fun. (It even had battle rhinos. That’s hard to top.)
He also wasn’t the only popular Black superhero on film. “Blade,” played by a somewhat vampiric Wesley Snipes, took a bite out of three films and a new one is on the way. That was an era where Snipes was the epitome of cool.
And female action stars have led both the “Terminator” and “Aliens” franchises for years. It’s hard to tell who is more iconic, Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor or Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley. Both are beloved by the very fans who hate what Disney is doing to the MCU.
That’s because those films delivered what fans wanted – strong characters and strong action. In other words, less pandering and more fun. Disney seems incapable of any of that.