“The Miracles” never really had a chance

Have you heard? “The Marvels” has the lowest box office grosses in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film grossed $47 million in its opening weekend. So many headlines about the film, which reportedly had a production budget of $274.8 million, screamed of its failure. This is it folks, the end of the Marvel franchise, and it’s all because of those annoying woke women who think they can make comic book movies, many critics said.

“The Marvels” is the sequel to “Captain Marvel,” the first film in the MCU directed (and co-directed) by a woman. This sequel is also a sequel to “Ms. Marvel,” the Disney+ series that introduced the popular comic book character of the same name to the franchise.

Yes, there are criticisms of the film that many agree on, such as the fact that some of the backstories needed more context and the villain was underdeveloped. But this vehement claim that it’s the worst Marvel movie ever, with the worst characters, etc., is a symptom of a larger problem.

To be clear: racism and misogyny play a huge role in what is perceived as successful. Genre films like the MCU installments are particularly guilty of this: it took Marvel ten years to make a film with a predominantly black cast and creative team, and fewer than a handful of MCU films have starred women (the Disney+ spin-off offs are more diverse). , but television has always been the place where executives take risks).

The truth is that The Marvels never really had a chance. It is the first film in the series directed by a black female director, Nia DaCosta, and features three female superheroes: Brie Larson as Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel, Iman Vellani as Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel and Teyonah Parris as Captain Monica Rambeau. This also includes Kamala’s family, all of whom are played by actors of South Asian descent.

Marvel has lost goodwill since the end of the Infinity Saga. The fourth and fifth phases of the franchise seemed more disjointed, but what was different about the Marvel properties after Avengers: Endgame was their diversity – more women and people of color were responsible for and created the stories. And MCU fans weren’t receptive to that diversity.

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Brie Larson arrives at the premiere of Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Endgame” on April 22, 2019 in Los Angeles. She portrays Captain Marvel in “The Marvels”.

VALERIE MACON via Getty Images

Larson has been unfairly targeted and hated by the so-called Marvel fans since her casting. She made the right and brave decision She wanted more diversity in the media who reported on Captain Marvel, and that statement put such a big target on her back that she couldn’t make it YouTubers are still foaming at the mouth at the mere mention of her name.

MCU Followers I didn’t feel like finishing, or even try “Ms. Marvel” because the lead role was a young girl of Pakistani origin. Kamala Khan is a young person trying to fit in, make her family happy, and discover the extent of her superpowers – you know, like that white guy from Queens named Peter Parker. Her story is universal and worth investing time in.

What’s more, Captain Marvel was already bombarded with reviews before its release, so much so that Rotten Tomatoes had to do this change its rules. The film’s sequels would never become blockbuster hits because the cards were stacked against them. People’s mindset has hardly changed in the last four years.

Shortly before The Marvels was released, Variety shared its “Crisis at Marvel” Feature with headlines focusing on Marvel executives discussing the possibility of “resurrecting Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man and Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow” despite those characters being dead.

Without taking into account cultural issues, as well as the general disinterest of some vocal superhero fans in new, diverse characters leading Marvel films, we can’t simply rely on box office as the ultimate determiner of success.

It’s funny that now that The Marvels has done so poorly at the box office, people act as if box office numbers are the only way to judge a film’s quality or impact, almost as if There is no other good (or even great) film that has ever failed at the box office. If we were to equate The Marvels’ box office with quality, we would then have to accept that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is better than Captain America: The Winter Soldier because the former grossed nearly $400 million while the latter did not exceed the $300 million mark.

But that’s not correct. The films came out at different times, catered to different sensibilities and, well, one was more hyped than the last. But we can all admit that the second Captain America movie was a bold and well-written film, while Guardians 2 was derivative and predictable.

The Marvel advertising giant has been a big part of the franchise’s success so far. But “The Marvels” was marketed and released by the writers and actors unions during the strikes, leaving the cast unable to promote the film.

None of the Marvel projects in 2023 have been resounding successes, even if they have broken even.

What people are intentionally not reporting is that The Marvels may not have been everyone’s favorite, but many critics gave it great reviews, and the audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes sits at a decent 84%. It’s also the biggest debut by a black female director ever.

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Director Nia DaCosta on the set of Marvel Studios’ “The Marvels.”

Laura Radford/Marvel Studios

Films or any form of entertainment by and for a more diverse audience are typically held to much higher standards. Black Panther was the first (and still only) Marvel film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, and yet so many people criticize the poor computer-generated effects in the final act.

The Marvels isn’t perfect, but it breaks the mold by spotlighting not one, not two, but three female superheroes and a female villain, all while entertaining and funny. Isn’t that what Marvel is known for? Why is this movie being torn to shreds over every little thing when objectively bad superhero movies like Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Morbius, and Justice League aren’t? How is it that actually problematic characters like Ezra Miller – the star of The Flash, who has been accused of physical assault and harassment on multiple occasions – are viewed with compassion by fans?

“The Marvels” proved that it’s time for those in power to consider more than just the numbers. Yes, the studios require box office revenue to operate (and if anyone is still hesitant to see the film, just buy a ticket).

But without the broader cultural understanding of why something “failed,” studios will take away the wrong message, and we’ll end up where we were two decades ago: facing a cinematic landscape that refuses to risk anything but heterosexual things , white, able-bodied cisgender men.

Marvel and every other studio need to step up and ensure that more Nia DaCostas, Brie Larsons, Iman Vellanis and Teyonah Parrises, as well as people of all genders and races, have the opportunity to make comic book movies.

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