Why Cookie-Cutter Isn’t So Bad
Marvel’s predictable heroes are something to be treasured
By: Megan Hoff
Okay, I agree that Marvel may not be the most original superhero franchise. But why mess with something that works? The only superhero movies I like are from Marvel: “Ant-Man,” “Iron Man,” “Captain America,” and “The Avengers.” They’ve all got the special effects, all-star casts, and an overall good-guy-gang feel that resonates with audiences.
Yeah, the story of sarcastic guy gets/has powers, decides to use them for good, and always wins against evil may be the same in every Marvel movie, just with different characters. Who really cares, though? People go because they lovethat story. The company may be playing it safe, but they’re making a ton of money. There’s very little they could do to make audiences stop paying to see their films—“Avengers: Infinity War” is the fourth highest-grossing film of all time. It’s a lot like Star Wars. At this point, people are going to see movies from that franchise because they love it, and it’s predictable. Same goes for Marvel.
Not only do they have reliable plots, the franchise ties them all together in one of the best crossover arcs ever. “The Avengers” is a fantastic gathering of superheroes to fight evil and sometimes each other. It’s awesome. You have the narcissistic wit of Iron Man mixed with the integrity of Captain America, and it starts a civil war (which leads to even more movies). Not to mention the plethora of other heroes that come together: Hawkeye, Black Widow, Thor, Hulk, and recently added Spider-Man and the Black Panther. Why are crossovers like this so great? It’s a convenient and entertaining way to see all the characters you love in one place. Bringing big names together is exciting, especially when it comes to saving the world.
Part of the reason Marvel does so well is that its movies don’t take themselves too seriously. The use of comic relief in Marvel films is probably one of its biggest strengths, and it allows the characters to play off one another in a way that makes them feel more relatable to audiences. There’s no better way to suspend disbelief than to make the audience believe that heroes are (mostly) people who happen to have powers. They joke just like we do.
Finally, Marvel movies make people happy. Yes, the good guys always win, but that’s a nice escape from reality. The world can be a crappy place, so sometimes it’s nice to sit back and watch someone save the world while making a sex joke at the same time (“You and Banner better not be playing ‘hide the zucchini’”). Marvel could use some more women superheroes, though. Captain Marvel is coming out, but they’ve got a long way to go—but that’s a topic for another time.