One of the most common complaints voiced about any trend of movies is that they’re going to become dated. “Oh sure, Marvel movies may be all the rage now, but in X number of years they’ll be dated,” detractors say.
Well, yes, but every movie past a certain point is dated. Even longstanding classics like The Wizard of Oz and Casablanca are “dated” in certain respects. Heck, at the ripe old age of eight, Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol is dated because the iPhones have interfaces that don’t look like the new ones.
Despite what naysayers will tell you, Marvel movies will remain popular for a good long while, even if they become dated. Sometimes they’ll be popular precisely because they are dated.
Fans keep finding ways to sustain the movies
You’d think by now that discussion of Avengers: Endgame in particular would be tapped out, yet here’s a thread on Reddit about bodies flying after giant Ant-Man steps on them during the final battle.
On a second thread, there’s a discussion of how Tony Stark is wearing Peter Quill’s jacket. And on a third thread, fans notice similarities between Spider-Man: Far From Home and the PlayStation 4 game.
OK, that’s a different movie, but it’s the same cinematic universe. As long as the internet is around, fan theories, screen captures and the many, many debates will keep Marvel going even on the off-chance that their output will slow down anytime soon.
Yes, trends in movies always come and go. The law of averages says that superhero movies will fade into the background at some point. But the boom we’re still living with truly kicked into high gear with the release of the original X-Men, and that was almost 20 years ago now.
The X-Men franchise itself may be moribund after Dark Phoenix laid an egg, but the many franchises it spawned, including the MCU, are still rolling along, for better or for worse.
Sometimes movies do age poorly
Make no mistake, some movies do age much better than others, especially depending on the CGI used. Some early CG work, as seen in Terminator 2 and Jurassic Park, still holds up. However, the CG in the Special Editions of the original Star Wars trilogy looks dated, partly because it clashes with the old effects, or what we remember of the old effects. It all depends on context.
So it goes with Marvel. The CGI used to create the Hulk in the 2008 Incredible Hulk doesn’t look as good as the Hulk in the Avengers movies. However, one thing that has made the MCU so successful is its interconnectivity.
The movies are all of a piece with each other, so that the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. Either the good movies overshadow the bad ones, or the good ones at least prop the bad ones up. The general consensus is that there are very few genuinely bad MCU movies, and that’s remarkable for a series at 23 entries and counting.
If you love a movie, it never gets old
Some film lovers would balk at calling the MCU movies “classics,” but there is no denying that particular fanbase is large and devoted. They love this stuff. Debates still go on about how long superhero movies can go on dominating the marketplace, but the good ones will last because a lot of people love them.
People know Dorothy’s house is a miniature as it spins into Oz. They don’t care because that movie remains ageless, even as it celebrates its 80th anniversary this year. Robin Williams makes dated references in the 1992 Aladdin — how many kids today would know the Arsenio Hall woof-woof-woof reference?
And yet the movie has enough of a cultural hold that it got a remake this year.
Roger Ebert once said that “a great movie should seem new every time you see it.” How great the MCU movies are is a matter of taste, but for a great many people, they’ll age well as long as fans continue to love them.