It doesn’t look good for the MCU: The freshly released trailer for “The Marvels” is virtually overwhelmed with dislikes. Fans are unhappy.
It almost seems as if the inimitable, magical attraction that the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has exerted on fans and the rest of the movie-going public is slowly but surely dissolving. For more than a decade, Kevin Feige, Marvel Studios` president and CCO of Marvel Entertainment, had always shown the right nose. Everything he and his team tackled became a box-office success. Even Marvel films that had comparatively low box office takings would have been passable successes for other studios. The impression was that the MCU was immune to missteps – come what may.
But the wind has changed. This is particularly evident in the just-released trailer for the “Captain Marvel” sequel “The Marvels. If you look at the number of likes and dislikes on the official YouTube page, you can see that at the moment, with around 12 million views, the 381,500 likes are offset by an incredible 308,000 dislikes. Fans and haters alike are burying the trailer under huge numbers of dislikes. No other MCU film has more, only the Disney+ series “She-Hulk: The Lawyer” has more with around 550,000 dislikes.
For direct comparison, the trailer for “Captain Marvel” released about four years ago has just 106,000 dislikes with 62 million views. And if you look at the trailer for “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” released before that, it has just under 5,500 dislikes with 13 million views. That’s pretty clear language. It speaks volumes: namely, that fans are obviously fed up with the direction the MCU is taking.
Suppose you dig through the massive troll comments. In that case, it becomes clear pretty quickly what the fans have a problem with: Thus, they fear the next pure duds after “Thor: Love and Thunder”, i.e. another Marvel movie that basically satirizes itself. Thus, one YouTuber writes:
“I think it’s a shame that Marvel has made most, if not all, of the characters silly. Humor is one thing, but after ‘Thor: Love and Thunder,’ I’m just not sure I want to invest the time and money.”
Many fear a Disney Channel TV movie for kids in Marvel garb. Quite a few announced that they would not watch the film until it was made available as a stream. Clearly, Walt Disney’s marketing department is currently working overtime to figure out how to avert a looming fiasco before “The Marvels” opens in theaters here on November 8, 2023. It has to be said, though, that the trailer basically looks quite respectable and hints at a return to old strength, as you can see in the video.
The Marvels Trailer: Captain Marvel 2
MCU: Where did the rift between Marvel Studios and the fans come from?
It was always clear that MCU Phase 4 would serve to introduce and establish new Marvel characters after the grand finale of the previous phases, “Avengers: Endgame.” The Avengers that movie audiences had the pleasure of meeting and following in the first three MCU phases were, after all, no more, some leaving their lives and others retiring. So MCU Phase 4 was, if you will, a breather without really being one.
What Marvel Studios couldn’t have counted on, though, was the fact that fans weren’t/aren’t ready to move on and leave their beloved superheroines behind. And more importantly, they were/are not ready to embrace new faces. Initially, Disney and Marvel Studios were still able to justify the low revenue of the MCU Phase 4 movies with the Corona pandemic. “Black Widow,” “Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings” as well as “Eternals” remained below $500 million in worldwide receipts, but obviously did not yet cause worry lines for those in charge.
“Spider-Man: No Way Home,” a co-production with Sony Pictures, made sure to throw any concerns to the wind with $1.9 billion in receipts. Superhero* fatigue? Bah! “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” in turn benefited from the success of the “Spider-Man” class reunion and the fact that Doctor Strange is part of the original Avengers.
But then there was the disappointing performance of “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” which after all ushered in MCU Phase 5 and officially introduced the new superfiant and Thanos successor, Kang. The pandemic can no longer be put forward as a reason. That the rather real audience fatigue may be due to oversaturation is evident in the fact that some fans lament having to watch “Ms. Marvel” now after all in order to be able to fully enjoy “The Marvels.” These fans might be tempted to skip going to the movies for these very reasons. If this is the case, the former advantage of the MCU could now turn out to be a disadvantage.