The MCU Has Been Snapped: What Happened to the Beloved Super-Franchise?

“We’re tired of it.” The luster is wearing off. What happened to the franchise that broke the internet and set new box office records?
 All Marvel Cinematic Universe Official Posters by AntMan3001 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. 
Marvel Logo by no lo se is marked with CC0 1.0.
“All Marvel Cinematic Universe Official Posters” by AntMan3001 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. “Marvel Logo” by no lo se is marked with CC0 1.0.

For a heavy part of the 2010’s, people couldn’t get enough of Marvel, but now, the franchise seems to have disappeared from the internet. You might see a trailer every now and again, but many of their new shows and movies go unnoticed by the general public.

So what happened to the franchise that broke the internet and set new box office records? The franchise that had us fighting to get a seat in the theater on opening night?

Literally, what happened?

A Hulk-Sized Undertaking

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, Marvel released two to three major Avengers productions per year. However, following the pandemic, Marvel released 8 Avengers movies and TV shows in one year.

While their producers might think this onslaught of new content a good thing, many viewers are finding it difficult to digest the rapidly growing universe – *cough* sorry, the rapidly growing multiverse.

Even the most dedicated fans are struggling.

“Almost in a way, we’re tired of it,” said Diya Maheshwari, South Forsyth High School student and Marvel fan. “We’re exhausted. We’re basically jaded with all of this content that we’re getting constantly and this inability to keep up.”

This graph shows the trend in declining viewership within the Marvel franchise. It can also be noticed that of the movies that did the worst, many featured new characters or tried to elevate previous side characters. While Marvel has been slowly dying for a while now, drastic failure from “The Marvels” and “She-Hulk” has made their mediocrity even more evident. All data was found on Box Office Mojo and Rotten Tomatoes. (Canva / Della Singleton)

People are only willing to allocate so much of their time to one franchise, and the superhero act is starting to get old. Whereas previously Marvel seemed immune to fan fatigue, all the plots are beginning to run together and the jokes sound reused. 

Part of what kept fans interested in the past was the build up of anticipation before the next production was released, but with little time to process between movies and shows, some of the luster and exclusivity felt previously is wearing off. 

More Issues Than Tony Stark

To add to the pot, as the MCU continues to grow and grow, it has become harder for new fans to easily jump into the universe or old ones to pick up where they left off.

Plus, the increasingly quick pace of the universe is just worsening the matter.

For example, Marvel’s newest movie, “The Marvels,” required new fans to watch over 12 hours  of content to understand and enjoy the movie.

You cannot be a casual Marvel fan. 

“It’s a bit complex of a universe, and I’m not sure where to start,” said Audrey James, a South Forsyth High School student. 

While she’s watched a few movies with her friends, James has described being unable to enjoy the actual plot of the movies because of the universe’s time commitment and complexity. 

As previously stated, only so much time can be allocated to one franchise, and the MCU continues to ask for more and more. If the universe continues to speed down this path, being a fan could start to feel more like a chore than a hobby, and some could cut ties with the franchise entirely.

The Death of the Stars

As a major phase of the MCU came to an end, so did the life of some fan favorite superheroes. 

“The movie killed off Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, the once-obscure superhero who effectively kicked off the golden years of the MCU in 2008,” cultural critic Eliana Dockterman wrote in Time, “It also retired Chris Evans’ Captain America, who arguably became the beating heart of the Avengers series.”

So it’s no surprise many fans became attached to the original Avengers cast over the years and that the appearance of their favorite characters played a vital role in keeping them coming back for more. 

“She was the only Avenger who was a girl, and I watched all the Marvel movies for [Black Widow],” Maheshwari said.

But what about all their new characters? The extremely powerful and life-like connection people formed with the original characters meant that no one was ready to see them go; however for some, their deaths have bred a sort of resentment towards the characters clearly meant to replace them. 

Other former fans simply haven’t wanted to invest any more energy into getting to know the new heroes. The most important part of a good movie is how the audience connects to its characters. If viewers are unable to form any connection to the characters, the engaging, thought provoking, and emotional aspects of what sets these movies apart will disappear along with its fans.

We want the Avengers

The final nail in the coffin about the death of Marvel’s popularity could simply be that they are starting a new era – Marvel didn’t really take over box offices until the Avengers movies started coming out.

Due to the death of so many characters, Marvel is having to build up their team again, which has resulted in tons of single character movies, which seem less purposeful than a movie that features a lineup of different characters teaming up.

If the trend continues the same as Marvel’s previous phases, the studio may regain fans as teams reunite, and all of the franchise’s complex plans come to fruition.

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About the Contributor
Della Singleton, Staff Writer
Della Singleton is a Freshman, thrilled for her first year on The Bird Feed staff. One of her goals is to write about the world’s wonders while exploring new places. It’s her dream to be able to immerse herself in different cultures from all around the globe. For now, you can often find her fervently scribbling down thoughts in a journal or gripping the edge of her seat while absorbed in a new book. Her favorite novel of all time is Six of Crows, but she would gleefully dissect plots and passionately present her speculations about almost any book. When not in school she spends most of her time in Marching Band practice or volunteering with National Charity League. When she finds herself with spare time, she enjoys exploring different music genres and cuisines while agonizing over irritating brain puzzles. Most importantly though, she is always looking for a good debate, and open to hearing new opinions and discussing your hot takes.