So it’s no secret that the summer blockbusters of 2019 have been underperforming at the box office this year, unless you’re a Marvel movie there’s a good chance you just ain’t makin’ the boatloads of easy cash off of eager hungry consumers like you used to!! So far we’ve had some big flops and under performers in theaters this summer, Hellboy, X-men: Dark Phoenix, Men In Black International, Godzilla: King of The Monsters, Shaft and I’m sure a few more flops to come.
It almost seems that after the extravaganza of ‘Avengers: Endgame’ people just ain’t that impressed with what Hollywood’s a pushin’! So what the heck gives here? I’ve got 5 reasons why I think people just ain’t buyin’ what big ol’ Hollywood’s selling!
Bland, Soulless, Predictable & Safe Storytelling
One thing I’ve noticed over the recent years is that these big ass summer blockbusters don’t bring much new to the table, instead of setting trends they now play off of what’s trending on social media etc to try and ensure they make maximum profit. It’s clear to audiences that they’re being marketed to and a lot of the themes we see in current movies feel a bit forced into the narrative. The plot lines feel predictable & safe, being very careful not to push the boundaries. However, nobody likes to feel pandered to, especially just to make a quick buck. Today Hollywood blockbusters feel a bit too calculated, like a Mcdonald’s happy meal version of a movie. It tastes good for a moment but doesn’t provide much real nourishment. These huge movies need to set trends again and take more risks. Most of these stories being told on the big screen now follow a rigid formula, it’s time to shake things up a bit and develop some compelling content that will blow audiences minds & keep them thinking long after they leave the theater.
Cinematic Politics & Social Media Movie Battles
Sure social media can be a cool way to connect with friends all over the world but it’s also caused a major political rift in movie fans, especially online. Everyone has a damn platform and everyone’s ready to state their opinion for the whole world to hear. The landscape of politics (here in the USA at least) is a gigantic mess, people are more than ready to call each other names and insult each others political beliefs any chance they can and then some. If you’ve noticed now there’re Youtube channels whose main focus is to tear down movies that they feel promote left leaning agendas and vice versa. Now we’ve got boycotts & petitions galore that are raging against movies from angry fans who think they’re promoting a threatening political views. We’ve got Hollywood directors & industry people arguing with angry fans on twitter about their movies and political leanings. When a movie’s released people immediately jump in to examine what side of the political spectrum it falls upon & then get bent out of shape about it on their social media platforms. Most claim they want to go to the movies to escape from the worries of today’s society, but people are so divided (and making good profit off that anger on their platforms) these days and I’m not seeing this trend dying down any time soon. At least until we get a new damn President!
Poorly Planned Franchise Reboots & Sequels
There’s a lot of bad, uninspired franchise sequels and reboots out there these days making their way into theaters. Hollywood is trying their hardest to capitalize off of nostalgia these days. It seems they think that if they simply slap say ‘Star Wars’ brand on a movie that it’s gonna mean butts in seats at the cinema. Not the case, people are clearly smarter these days when it comes to their choice of entertainment. Lots of franchises attempting to reboot with younger “hip” stars and leaving the old actors in the dust. I mean what really is ‘Men in Black’ without Will Smith? How about Star Wars with crusty old grumpy Luke Skywalker that barely lifts a finger in the movie? Or the Ghostbusters without any of the original characters starring in it to properly pass the torch? Hollywood is a bit clueless when it comes to how to execute these sequels, fans want to see a respectful portrayal of classic older characters who’re set to pass the torch to younger generation. Some of these reboots/sequels actually seem downright disrespectful to the original characters, sweeping them under the rug as quickly as possible to usher in the new characters. There needs to be a class taught to all of these clueless Hollywood executives on how to successfully pass the torch in a franchise. If you take a crap on a beloved franchise the fans of it will roast your ass on social media. The fans today have more power than ever and it’s a new angle that’s got Hollywood baffled.
Spectacle over Story
It’s kinda crazy now, almost every blockbuster movie franchise has been trying to set up a cinematic universe because they think they can reap the same benefits as the MCU does. However what most of these franchises get wrong is that they simply haven’t spent the time worldbuilding building the way Marvel has over the the last 10 plus years. Most of these failing franchises spend their movie’s runtime trying to set up the next sequels rather than telling a compelling story with top notch character development. Instead they simply litter the movie with a bunch of shiny, glossy CGI & flashy explosions convinced that lone is enough to entice movie goers to get all amped up for their planned spinoffs. Well listen up Hollywood, going to the theaters is expensive and people just aren’t as dumb as you seem to think they are, yeah we got options these days with all the streaming content out there. Movies better step it with their storytelling otherwise we’re gonna stay home! So many of these franchise are dumbed down to a level that just won’t entice the masses like they used to. We want original stories, not rehashed plots from previous movies in the franchise. Sure the spectacle can be fun, but there’s a certain over saturation of mind numbing movies out there now and yours better be more than just fluff. Stop trying to predict what the masses are going to eat up and spend some time writing stories we haven’t already heard. Most of the movies feel like they’ve been looking at what’s trending on twitter and writing a story around that. I’ll say it again, Hollywood needs to set the trends again rather than blindly trying to follow them.
Star Power Ain’t What it Used to Be
Back in the 1980’s blockbusters were a just as big a deal but they usually had one thing going for them that’s missing today-star power. People would rush to the movies just to see Stallone or Schwarzennegar do their thing. It was an event. Not so much today, the days of larger than life celebs has somehow died, putting one of the stars of say the Avengers franchise in one doesn’t automatically equally box office gold. I’m not sure what changed over the years but people are far less starstruck than ever before. This means Hollywood has got try even harder to put something out that feels fresh and original, a good cast is still important but it’s clearly NOT a deal breaker anymore.
It’s been a loooooong time since I’ve picked up anything new by Marvel in the comic book department, but this week I couldn’t resist when I saw the vintage logo of Power Man and Iron Fist on the stands. Marvel comics for me have become a bit of bland reading experience, often times the art’s pretty subpar and at 4 bucks a pop shit better be really fucking impressive! I’ll say it again once comic books reach the 5 dollar cover price I’m done. However this week I was lured by that nostalgic old logo and couldn’t resist giving this new series that unites Luke Cage and Danny Rand for some street smart retro style adventures in the big apple.
I was actually pretty impressed with this new series which thank god isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel. Most Marvel titles are monthly changing superhero genders, races, characters etc etc blah blah. Don’t get me wrong I am all for those changes if they’re part of a creative story but lately it seems Marvel is simply trying way too hard to change everything to cash in on modern trends on social media. Sometimes keeping things simple and somewhat familiar really is the best way to create a meaningful story. We’ve got some witty writing here from David Walker that’s filled with nostalgic throwbacks to their heyday when Luke “Power Man” Cage used to sport a shiny silver tiara and the two used to be partners in their small biz “Heroes for Hire”. Luke Cage now a family man with Netflix’s latest sensation Jessica Jones is being tempted by Danny “Iron Fist” Rand (now a bit more wise cracking than usual) to “get the band back together”. I also totally love Iron Fist’s new version of his costume, harking back to Bruce Lee in Game of Death.
Luke’s resistant to the idea and Jessica even more, so Rand claims she’s got Luke “on a short leash these days”. When their former Heroes for Hire office manager gets out of prison they agree to do her a favor and retrieve a family heirloom stolen from her years ago. Sounds simple enough? Well turns out the albino super gangster Tombstone has it. I’ve gotta admit too I’ve always been a big fan of Tombstone and hopefully we’ll get more of the big stark white weirdo dude as he’s disposed of far too easily. Come on now Tombstone is a total bad ass!
The issue delivers a lot of promise for the future though with cool but heavily stylized artwork from Sanford Greene that some might love and others could easily be turned off by. It works for me though, I really dig it and it’s perfect for the more comedic tone so far of the series. I like simplicity of the story and also the smallness of it all, I really do like my comic stories kept on a personal level most of the time. It’s been a while since I grabbed a Marvel comic but this one seemed like a much safer bet than say something like the completely wretched “Totally Awesome Hulk” series or whatever million of the Deadpool books are floating around on the shelves these days. I’ll be back for issue number two for sure as it’s nice to see the boys are back in town once again…
What do you think? Am I missing out on something truly awesome from Marvel these days woth the cover price? If so please enlighten me!!