It was only a few days ago the Iron Man 3 trailer was released. Perhaps a shock to some, the trailer depicted the down fall of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) and his armour suit invention, whilst actor Ben Kingsley narrated “Lesson number one, heroes, there is no such thing”. Similar to Batman The Dark Knight Rises marketing campaign. As this is the first Marvel title since April’s blockbuster his The Avengers, I pose this question. Can Marvel succeed in keeping enough hype to sustain another 3 years of superhero movies?
To this day I struggle to get my head around how The Avengers became so successful. It certainly wasn’t because of a long string of good films that led up to a grand finale. Iron Man 1 got things rolling and in fact was such a refreshing take on superheroes. A charismatic Robert Downey Jr boasted comedic values and serious tones allowing it to become enjoyable by a wide range of audience types. Although this was something perhaps nobody expected from Marvel, they soon dropped the ball when it came to the release of the next three films.
First came The Incredible Hulk. Yet another reboot of a franchise that never really worked in cinema. Starring Edward Norton, this take just provided us with yet another dull and uninteresting version of the big green giant smashing things up. Shortly after, Iron Man was set for a sequel. Expectations were high and Marvel had officially got the hype-wagon cruising through various countries with the announcement of The Avengers to be released in July 2011 (which of course was delayed to April 2012). Is it a film starring many A-listers all being famous superheroes that made The Avengers $1.5 billion since its release? It begin to think so…
Marvel had cleverly brought lesser known comic heroes onto the silver screen thus making them famous to the mainstream market. This then inevitably meant bringing all these, now hugely famous, characters into one film the right thing to do. Although these characters are now loved by millions, will The Avengers 2 have the same impact?
Realistically, releasing a second Thor film (which is currently in production) or a second Captain America film (please spare us…) and so forth is going to be a shallow experience. Indeed, Marvel will have to throw us off course with a few new faces. Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man film has been slated for December 2015, perhaps leaving a chance for his debut in the second Avengers, but is this a character non comic lovers care for? As a non comic book reader, Ant-Man could just be another Hawkeye; Hawkeye being a character I cared little for, but on the odd occasion thought he was relatively stylish.
The main concern is the Superhero cycle wearing thin. Cycles often go on for around four years, most recent examples include the vampire phenomenon (in other words ‘The Twilight Craze’) and the obsession with Zombies. Superheroes have been in the limelight for 2-3 years and with the end of Nolan’s Batman franchise hitting us this past Summer, a core foundation for this trend, will Marvel still have enough support in 2015? We have Snyder’s The Man of Steel to look forward to and most likely a second Spiderman (a character confirmed not to be in The Avengers 2 line-up), but if these fall short of audience’s hopes, Marvel’s attempt at pumping hype through our veins may not work.
Marvel have a hell of a job if it wants to maintain its target demographic. If their films aren’t good enough in the next two years, it would be hard to imagine people flocking for the second Avengers. Does anyone want another Avengers film? I’m certainly not interested.