How long can marvel be successful?
With Joss Whedon jumping ship after Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, people are wondering how long Marvel can sustain its extraordinary box office run. With each film being more than productive, Disney has already recuperated its, at the time, massive and risky investment. However, Disney and Marvel have also set high expectations when it comes to the performance of the films, even when they are critically panned.
The problem with the way the whole discussion has been held is that everyone assumes that Marvel produces superhero films. While superheroes may feature prominently in the main roles of the film and much of the comic book style (which DC Comics movies are sorely lacking) has been kept, these movies are not superhero films. They are rather genre films that have been dressed in the costume of a superhero.
Marvel is capable of telling any style story that it wishes because the Marvel Universe is even more diverse than the real world. Space opera, romance, war movie, political thriller, heist film… Marvel can attack any genre with impunity.
With its recent success, one or two flops will not hurt the company at all. Marvel now has the creative capital to take chances, fail and still be able to work in Hollywood. In the studio system, that makes Marvel a dangerous player. As long as they do not fear failure, they have a special opportunity to succeed.
The only real question is how many different “origin” stories does the superhero genre have to tell. The Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver and the rumor of Spider-Man demonstrate that Marvel doesn’t have to introduce every character with his or her own movie and origin story. So fans do not have to worry about being bored with another beginning.
Whedon is a great story teller at the top of his game. However, even his absence for the foreseeable future cannot stop the Marvel juggernaut. His departure just frees him up to do more awesome entertainment adding to the entertainment that Marvel intends on pumping out for the next decade. As long as Marvel keeps focusing on character development, a comic book mood and good stories, nerds and normal human beings who love good films will be able to rejoice.