With the release of Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame on April 26, movie theaters were flooded this past weekend in Lubbock. This film franchise has impacted a lot more than just traditional cinema, however.
Rob Weiner, the popular culture librarian and adjunct professor in the Texas Tech Honors College, said he teaches a class on how Marvel and their characters have become a part of our modern mythology, as well as how superheroes have impacted popular culture and society as a whole.
“Marvel Studios has hit upon a winning storyteller formula – they are basically the greatest storytellers of our time,” he said. “The haters can hate and say the movies are just ‘blah,’ but they’re wrong.”
While it may be trendy to some people to hate on Marvel, Weiner said, there is a reason those movies have such tremendous success, and it is not because they are terrible. There is a lot of excitement and anticipation surrounding this universe.
Marvel has the ability to tell a story, so much so that Weiner said other shows and movies attempting to put themselves into the superhero genre of movies have failed to do so because of the standard Marvel has set.
Series, or “serial storytelling” set in a universe, are not a new concept, but the reason Marvel has been so successful is because they have managed to tie 21 movies into the same universe with little to no contradiction, Weiner said.
“There’s always going to be a little continuity error, but Kevin Feige has done a good job of making sure these errors are avoided for the most part,” he said. “You can only impact other attempts at creating universes if you are successful.”
While Weiner said he does not see the superhero genre of film disappearing completely as this era of Marvel comes to an end, he does see people starting to get “Marvel fatigue” because of how overwhelming the studio as a whole can be.
“I have not even seen every Marvel-related thing that there is out there,” Weiner said. “That’s the reason I think people will start to become turned away from the MCU, because it can be so overwhelming.”
Despite all of this, there will always be a younger generation rediscovering the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so Weiner said he does not believe the studio should worry about a fallout with fans.
“Things just keep building and building, and what happens after Endgame will really be the test of Marvel’s ability,” Weiner said.
Anakin Rayos, a freshman creative media industries major from Pecos, said Marvel has impacted fans emotionally, and the fact they did it with 21 movies is incredible to him.
In addition to impacting cinema, Rayos said he believes Marvel has had a great impact on businesses as well. From fun knick-knacks to collectible items, he said people can go into any store and see something with a Marvel character on it.
“It’s good for businesses and Marvel both because it not only gets the business’ name out in the world, but also helps bring in revenue for both parties,” he said. “It also helps if it’s a character the person likes because they are more likely to buy the product with a Marvel character on it.”
Rayos said in his opinion, Marvel’s continuation of producing movies will not be as emotional as the Avengers chapter because after Endgame, the company will have to build from the ground up.
“I do believe that the Infinity saga was the peak of Marvel as a movie franchise,” he said. “I don’t know where they’ll really be able to go from here.”
Marcus Gutierrez, a freshman creative media industries major from Houston, said he grew up with Marvel and feels like a part of his childhood is over.
“I remember when I was nine years old watching Iron Man and immediately saying, ‘OK, I’m following this until the very end,’” he said.
Gutierrez said in the beginning, cinema in the superhero genre was mainly remakes with only a few original ideas. However, in 2008 when Marvel’s first Avengers movie Iron Man was released, it created a new “golden standard” for the genre.
There have been both good and bad impacts to the film industry. For example, Gutierrez said it gives filmmakers the chance to see how hard Marvel has worked since it was founded as a comic book company.
However, every time a new superhero movie is released, he said, fans will often hold it to a “Marvel standard” and think it is not as good because it is not Marvel.
“For example, the new Shazam movie set up so much for the DCU, the cinematic universe for D.C. Comics, but was rendered useless because it wasn’t a Marvel film,” Gutierrez said. “I feel like Marvel set people’s standards so high that they will often compare the negatives and positives of their films before even seeing them.”
With the film series coming to an end, Gutierrez said Marvel has big shoes to fill in continuing to produce films. He worries about the continuation of the films, only because most of their revenue came from the dedicated fans who were there from the beginning.
Gutierrez said he is sure kids from today’s era of Marvel will grow up with new characters and ideas which will continue to reflect back on this closing era.
Marvel has given people a lot of new ideas to work with, Gutierrez said, and a lot to process film-wise.
“We as people strive for entertainment and since 2008, Marvel has given us that entertainment,” he said. “Endgame was like the final fan letter from the Russo brothers and Kevin Feige to the dedicated fans who have followed the series for 11 years.”