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Marvel Fatigue Is Real

Disney delayed several MCU projects and promised to slow things down moving forward, and that’s for the best.
Disney was in dire straights under Bob Chapek, so Bob Iger came back as CEO to change things up at the House of Mouse, and he’s making some big moves – backwards. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Disney is drastically pulling back the reigns on the two most profitable franchises in the world, Marvel’s MCU and Star Wars. We can already see the effects in Marvel, which released more MCU movies and shows in the last two years than all the Marvel projects over the previous two decades together, is now only releasing two Disney+ series of the planned eight and three movies.
Given the mixed reaction to the MCU’s Phase 4, it only makes sense that Iger would slow things down with his return. With the breakneck speed of eighteen different projects released within mere weeks of each other in theaters and on streaming in just two years, many fans gave up on the MCU as it became apparent that Disney was churning out one rushed movie after another forgettable movie with dull shows bogging everything down in between, providing little quality entertainment and room to breathe. So Iger has decided to switch things up and go for the quality over quantity approach to Marvel. While this means many anticipated projects are delayed, it’s undoubtedly for the best of the franchise and the fans. Here’s why slowing down is good for the MCU.
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Black Panther: Wakanda Forever capped off Phase 4, ending the MCU’s very messy Phase with a teary farewell to Chadwick Boseman’s old Black Panther with an epic welcome for Letitia Wright’s new Black Panther in a heavy emotional hitter that is praised as one of the best superhero movies ever, with a cast like Angela Bassett even receiving Oscar nominations in a first for Marvel. But of all the movies churned out by the Marvel machine in the past couple of years, very few were more than not-bad-but-not-good popcorn flicks which lacked both direction and depth, becoming more aimless as they continued, leaving fans unsatisfied, moving on from Marvel in droves as superhero fatigue became superhero exhaustion.
This downward trend doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon, either. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania has already begun Phase 5 with a rocky start, suffering Marvel’s steepest box office drop and extremely low critic scores, and is now the second lowest MCU movie, just behind Eternals. Quantumania depends on previous MCU shows to set it up. Still, it’s ridiculous to expect complete loyalty and total dedication from viewers when so much content is released so fast. Fans feel punished for missing a movie or a show in such an interconnected universe. This kind of constant and grueling output is unsustainable, and though it took a while, it seems that Disney and Iger have realized this too and finally pumped the brakes.
Of everything that went wrong with the MCU in Phase 4, almost all the problems plaguing Marvel recently could be solved simply by giving people more time—especially the creators at Marvel. The most obvious and glaring example that creators just needed more time was in the special effects department, where VFX artists have openly admitted to being overworked for months on end with massive workloads and strict non-flexible deadlines to match the excessive MCU output, meaning that the final product usually doesn’t look that great. She-Hulk: Attorney At Law was openly ridiculed for months by fans due to poor CGI quality, and every other Marvel project, even hits like Spider-Man: No Way Home and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, suffered greatly from lackluster visuals due to rushed and tired artists.
The same breakneck speed and high expectations have caused problems across the board for creators at Marvel, from set-building workers to the directors and actors themselves. Reducing the output removes many of the impossible expectations from creators, creating more flexible schedules for all and making workloads more manageable, meaning better quality overall for Marvel. You can’t rush art.
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More time is another simple solution to Marvel’s greatest issue and most deadly problem, superhero fatigue. Marvel, like any other entertainment company, is entirely dependent on the fanbase, meaning if fans are getting tired and new fans aren’t coming, it’s going to crash and burn. Marvel’s MCU is the biggest franchise in cinematic history, with a global fanbase and a direct impact on pop culture around the world. The power of the MCU is overwhelming, so much so that people have become tired of it.
The previous MCU output model for the first decade was much more manageable for both hardcore fans and casual viewers, as one film every six months isn’t a big commitment with most lifestyles. But double that and add even more streaming shows all in one year is a bit too much, especially in a complex superhero universe where one project builds off another. Such a drastic volume of content produced so quickly makes it nearly impossible for new fans to join when it feels like they have to catch up to a goal that’s speeding away, and paired with less-than-great quality, constant lackluster content quickly tires out old fans. The worst part is that no matter how good it is, it will be forgotten soon when a new MCU title comes, like how Wakanda Forever only stayed in the spotlight until Quantumania took over only a few months later. So Marvel has made the right move slowing down, giving both old and new fans a chance to breathe they haven’t had in years, and a slower pace allows fans to absorb what happens and what it means for the MCU at large.
Iger reigning in Marvel released a huge sigh of relief for creators and fans, but we can only wait and see if the MCU can pull itself together and reclaim its former glory.
Rory Pineda loves all kinds of nerdy movies, books, shows, comics, people, etc. Rory studies respiratory therapy in his hometown of Sacramento in California, writing “nerdicals” in his spare time to fund his nerdy obsessions.

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