Doing It For The Fans

Fandom means different things to different people, to a studio, a fan can be someone who helps to spread the good word about your film. Conversely, they can be an antagonist saying bad things about your movie online or, on social media. To fans themselves, the word reflects their dedication to something that means a lot to them, be it Stars Wars, Marvel or DC.

Fans are very passionate about the things they love, and their money and support can help a series thrive. We never would’ve got the MCU if it wasn’t for the fans who love it and see all the entries. In this regard, fans are a good thing, a thing every franchise wants to gather and accumulate.

However fans can also be testy; if the creative vision for a franchise or TV show takes a turn from what fans expect or want they will be very vocal about it, starting online discourse and perhaps even boycotts. In this respect, fandoms can be very entitled. Though fan money helps films to do well at the box office, fans are not entitled to have their own way or have what they want to see validated. Studios will do what they want, and fans can accept it or not.

That said, studios will do well to keep fans happy and onside because they can be great friends to have or terrible enemies to try and counteract.

Fandoms can be off-putting for more casual, mainstream audiences. There can be an element of gatekeeping to them with fans believing themselves to be better than other fans, based on some arbitrary little fact, like who has seen the film more, or who has the most figurines.

An example of the sort of thing I’m talking about was the bullying of Kelly Marie-Tran, the StarWars actress who left social media after harassment from fans, simply because they didn’t like her character in the last StarWars film.

However, fans have also positively impacted franchises, having helped to save cancelled shows, and help them find homes elsewhere. Thanks to active fan campaigns, my favourite TV program, Chuck was able to avoid cancellation and find a sponsor.

Overall, fandoms and the fans themselves are something that should always be kept in mind, but they also need to see where there is a line between wanting the best for something you love and destroying your own favourite franchise through sheer bile.

Everyone should try and be nice to each other online whether you like Playstation or, Xbox or, Marvel or, DC. We are all fans.

The Problem With Shared Universes

*A cinematic universe for anyone who doesn’t know is when different series of films, as well as other forms of media, all exist within the same world and happen side by side with each other, with the events of one film affecting the others.

We live in a post-Avengers society; Disney and Marvel have proven that franchises can crossover and be instantly profitable. However, only one cinematic universe has done this, as many would say without fault, that is, of course, the MCU. In today’s post, I am going to talk about all the different variants and their issues, as well as the problems with having a shared universe in general.

The MCU is regarded by many as the best-shared universe, a lot of this comes not only from the fact the films are good, but also because they were the first to do it. However, the MCU is also a textbook example of a problem that a lot of shared universes have, and that is that all the films feel very similar. The Marvel formula is something that has been covered a lot, but to briefly sum up, it is the way a lot of, if not all, the Marvel Cinematic Universe films are structured and written- filled with humour and easter eggs. The issue with this formula is that it can stop a lot of the movies from feeling unique and instead makes them feel like a reskin.
The Solution: The MCU won’t change because they make a ton of money, why change that.

Secondly, we have the DCEU, that stands for the DC expanded universe, which is the other major comic book shared universe. Though I loved these films, mostly, they suffer from tonal inconsistencies. In a cinematic universe, all the films have to have similar tones and colour pallets from them to fit together. Removing the audience from this world the formula works in particular cases. Having a mismatch of tones and styles can be and has proven for the DCEU, to be jarring.
The Solution: Either to start afresh and keep to one creative vision or to give up on a shared universe and have everything standalone, with minor crossover

Thirdly we have the now dead Universal Dark Universe, which was going to be all the classic monsters, The Mummy, The Wolf-Man, Dracula, etc. existing side by side. The issue that plagued this universe is that it rushed to have everything done and set up as quickly as possible. To do a shared universe, you need layered characters and dense world-building, these things take time and effort. You can’t just force the shared world to exist- in one outing. Furthermore, Universal got ahead of themselves and planned out an entire slate before their first film had even come out; which was foolhardy, to say the least.

Finally, we have Legendary’s Monsterverse; this is the one with the giant fighting animals Godzilla, King Kong, arguably one of the best-shared universes. The Monsterverse does world-building very well; it has a clear world with rules. The only thing I can fault them for is that because of the world and the lore; they’re sometimes a hard sell for a mainstream audience; in a way, it’s a double-edged sword, hurting them at the box office.

To conclude the point I wanted to make here is that shared universe are hard to do, even harder to do right. While we may want to see our favourite characters interact on the big screen, it often comes at the cost of originality and fresh takes. What’s more, things that are better standalone end up being shoehorned into a more extensive franchise often hurting them in the process, looking at you Ten Cloverfield Lane. However, all the studios want the money that comes with a shared universe, so they won’t stop until they run all their franchises into the ground.

*I didn’t mention the Hasbro Universe, because it hasn’t happened yet when I see the G.I. Joe/ Transformers crossover I will say my thoughts then.
*I also didn’t mention Sony’s Spider-verse because it is in limbo and could go either way at any minute, especially now Disney has Spider-man himself back in the MCU

Avengers Infinty War

There will be mild spoilers here so if you want to go into the film fresh, watch it then come back and read this.

Avengers Infinity War is the latest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Focusing on the heroes as they try and stop Thanos, (Josh Brolin), in his quest for the Infinity Stones. I’m first going to talk about my issues with the film then get into the positives later. The film begins straight after Thor Ragnarok then cuts to the invasion of New York. During which sequence we get an incredibly needless scene with Peter Potts, (Gwyneth Paltrow) which feels incredibly out of place; with the beginning as a whole feeling poorly paced. Furthermore, the villains of the film are woefully underdeveloped with the Black Order being a prime example of this; the only interesting member is Ebony Maw but, even he is barely on screen. The main villain Thanos, (Josh Brolin) seems far too overpowered during the film, making the Avengers efforts to beat him seem pointless: as he is more powerful than them in every way; thereby making certain plot lines redundant. An example of this is Thor’s arc, focusing on Thor, (Chris Hemsworth) forging a new weapon to kill Thanos. This plot line is bad for two reasons: the first is that it ignores the plot of Thor Ragnarok, with him no longer needing a weapon to harness the Oden Force as it’s within him. The other issue is that it’s pointless, the audience knows that Thanos is collecting the infinity stones, which could easily undo any damage done to him by an axe, even if it is magical, so the whole plotline feels like a waste of time. As for the positives of the film, it is incredibly well shot: with the Edinburgh fight scene being superbly shot. The visuals are stunning throughout, with a lot of varied worlds that all look satisfyingly unique. The characters are all treated very well with plot arcs from various films being tied up nicely here. The most satisfying of which is probably Tony Stark’s, as he realises that this is the fight he’s been worrying about ever since Age of Ultron. Robert Downey Jr, (Tony Stark/ Iron Man) sells the emotional delivery especially towards the end of the third act. The interplay between the characters feels genuinely real and, will be a delight for fans of the MCU. The ending is outstanding being the best of any Marvel film, as it hits with raw emotion that it is guaranteed to leave an impact being simply game changing. There is a post-credits scene at the end of the film which dramatically ups the ante for the next instalment. Overall a very solid Marvel film, most likely one that will soon be in everyone’s top 5.
Reviewed by Luke