Franchise Overkill?

Comic Civil War

I was watching a video over at comic book movie recently and it had Chris Evans (The man playing Captain America in this year’s Marvel Studios film Captain America: The First Avenger) talk about his picture deal with Marvel. According to Evans, he has signed a six-picture deal, which means he’ll do three Cap movies and three Avengers flicks.

Now obviously this is dependent on whether the Cap film flops when it is released in July, if it does it could cause a major reshuffle in plans for the Avengers movie. If the Cap movie does relatively well, we are likely to see Chris Evans as Cap at least six times in the next ten to twelve years.

Add that to Iron Man 3 (directed by Shane Black) scheduled for 2013 and at least one Thor sequel; you have the three major players in the Avengers franchise having nine individual movies in 11 years time. I’m all for the Iron Man franchise, as I believe the series will flourish once more now the Avengers is up and running. But Thor and Cap trilogies are pushing it.

A movie based on a character that was invented for American propaganda is unlikely to make it past one outing in my opinion. Even Marvel has realised the Cap franchise is a risky property by changing the name of the film in some European countries. If the movie bombs and Marvel still pushes ahead with Cap sequels, you’re lively to see either two things. One of them being a completely unmotivated, unconvincing Chris Evans probably realising he’s made the biggest mistake of his life, or a new cheaper actor in the role of Steve Rogers. Marvel have shown their not afraid to drop their big names (Ed Norton anyone?), and I wouldn’t be surprised if Evans was next in their line of fire if the Cap movie bombs.

Thor is slightly different however. I think of Thor as very similar to the original Christopher Reeve Superman franchise. Like Reeve, Chris Hemsworth sells the fish of water aspect of his character beautifully, but there’s only so far that can go. The Superman franchise showed us that the humour of being an outsider wears of quickly, and in Superman Return‘s case, actually becomes embarrassing. Plus I don’t think Thor has the strength in characters like Iron Man or Spider-Man. We can’t just have Thor vs. his brother Loki in every solo film (especially since Loki is rumoured to be the villain in the Avengers). But where else could you go with Thor? If I were Marvel I’d hold off Thor sequels and keep the character exclusive to the Avengers franchise, just to keep Thor fresh.

I think Marvel need to be very careful with bombarding comic book movies on audiences. Whilst comic book movies have a much loyal fan base, I doubt many movie goers will be rushing to see rumoured upcoming projects such as The Black Widow, War Machine, Namor: The Sub Mariner, Luke Cage and a Nick Fury/Shield movie.

Marvel should learn from Fox’s mistakes and take time with their movies. Comic book movies are at an all time high, but if you push too many films down the throats of audiences they’re bound to get bored eventually.

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