The Avengers franchise is not only extremely ambitious and futuristic but, the MCU overall tries telling stories in ways that the other franchises never tried previously. They specialize in offering audiences a shared long-term universe spread over various titles. The latest film from MCU, Avengers: Infinity War is on a record-shattering spree on the box office, and underscores the unparalleled success of a shared universe. One of the directors of Avengers: Infinity War talks about the risks associated with such a concept and aims to discourage other studios from trying to use this formula.
“Yeah, don’t do it,” Joe Russo said to Variety when he was asked if he would like to give any advice to other studios. “Not everything can be sustained through a cinematic universe.”
His words may sound blunt, but, there is no doubt that creating a universe as expansive as MCU has its own mega problems too.
Have a look at the DC Extended Universe. Their second movie, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice was forced to feature Batman in the shared universe setp, come up with a reason for him to try and destroy Superman, and eventually show the duo join hands to battle a deadly enemy. The film did well on the box office, but, it had complaints such as a long run-time and also the problem about inconsistency in dealing with story points.
In the same way, Justice League also faced problems while teaming up Batman and Wonder Woman and also unveiling Cyborg, The Flash, and the Aquaman on the big screen to create a superhero team. They also faced a lot of trouble in creating a mighty villain. Just like the criticism faced by Batman v Superman, Justice League also struggled to impress the critics and viewers, which resulted in an underwhelming performance at the box office. The outcome is an uncertain scheduled of upcoming DCEU movies which no longer appear to be assured.
“The advice would be to continue to look for new ways to tell stories because I think the audience is open to it,” Russo elaborated. “There is traditionally a generational divide, but I think this new generation is going to advance storytelling in a way we haven’t seen in a long time because of the tech advancements in their lives and the way they are used to digesting content on YouTube and social media in much more compressed formats, more facile, fluid. And they like longterm emotional commitment, but there’s lots of ways to engender that that do not involve building out a universe.”
There is another recent case that highlights the problems associated with the creation of a cinematic universe, and that is the “Dark Universe” from Universal Pictures, which aimed to revitalize the most powerful monsters of the studio. Back in 2014, Dracula Untold was supposed to be the soft launch of the concept, but, its failure and the box office and criticism resulted in that idea getting abandoned.
Rather, their Dark Universe was launched by The Mummy last year, and the studio went on to announce that Russell Crowe, Johnny Depp, and Javier Bardem were connected with the project to portray Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde, The Invisible Man and Frankenstein’s Monster respectively. Sadly, The Mummy also didn’t do well critically and financially, which has relegated the next Dark Universe project, The Bride of Frankenstein on the backburner, and might be the end of the shared universe before its beginning itself.
You can watch the latest MCU blockbuster Avengers: Infinity War on the big screen now. The future MCU movies include Ant-Man and The Wasp scheduled to release on July 6th, Captain Marvel on March 8 next year, Avengers 4 on May 3, 2019, Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel on July 5, 2019, and Guardians of the Galaxy in 2020.