We geeks owe a lot to two very special people in the film business. James Cameron and Kevin Feige. I just re-watched Aliens last weekend, and it remains an amazing piece of work. James Cameron is great at sci-fi and has made improvements on other people’s work like Alien and creates blockbusters of his own like Terminator, Avatar. And Kevin Feige?
What self-respecting geek doesn’t know who Kevin Feige is aka the master of the shared universe? If Stan Lee is the One Above All, that would make Kevin Feige The Living Tribunal. But who would have thought that James Cameron would join the ranks of directors Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott and Luc Besson in throwing shade at superhero films?
“I’m hoping we’ll start getting ‘Avenger’ fatigue here pretty soon. Not that I don’t love the movies. It’s just, come on guys; there are other stories to tell besides hyper-gonadal males without families doing death-defying things for two hours and wrecking cities in the process. It’s like, oy.”
— James Cameron
Actually, this isn’t his first time at throwing shade at superhero films. He did it earlier with Wonder Woman.
“…So as much as I applaud Patty directing the film and Hollywood, uh, ‘letting’ a woman direct a major action franchise, I didn’t think there was anything groundbreaking in Wonder Woman.”
— James Cameron
James Cameron is a big sci-fi geek himself, giving us Avatar, The Terminator, and Aliens. Three films that have yet to be equaled in terms of action and storytelling. Well, they already were if you consider some superhero movies that outsold them. It’s just that the three franchises have become so iconic while Iron Man, Doctor Strange, and Avengers are still relatively new. Or that he’s just a very good director who doesn’t really care what genre he works on since he gave us Titanic, the love story and that Avatar is simply Dances with Wolves in outer space.
Kevin Feige, on the other hand, had a more positive reaction to the James Cameron statement. Leave it to Feige to put a positive spin on movie criticism. He’s silent about the Inhumans though.
“Uh, he loves the movies!… That’s awesome! Wow, James Cameron loves our movies! That’s exciting!”
— Kevin Feige, interview with Vulture
By now, the MCU rolls out three blockbusters per year. Still fresh from Black Panther, we’ll be seeing Avengers: Infinity war in a few days and in another few months, Ant-Man and The Wasp. By now, James Cameron must be fatigued by the successive superhero movies that keep rolling out. This year, we’ll also be seeing Pixar’s The Incredibles II and Fox’s X-Men: Dark Phoenix. If there are any franchise fanboys are fatigued with, it’s the X-Men. It’s not that we’re tired of seeing the X-Men, we just want the franchise done properly… in a consistent manner… to belong in the MCU… to interact with Spider-Man and what’s going to be left of the Avengers. Some are hoping the Phoenix doesn’t rise out of this one. Hopefully, James Cameron isn’t like the other directors who are afraid that superhero movies are taking away their spotlight and behaving like our baby boomer parents who think that comic books are a waste of time and money.
The geek factory himself is planning four Avatar sequels, and fans are saying that he’s already tired of three Avengers films? Then there’s The Terminator reboot. Now that’s a franchise we’ve grown tired of, and James Cameron himself apparently got tired that his work wasn’t done justice. Too bad Arnie is just too old to reprise his role by now, it would be interesting how the reboot would turn out. In retrospect to a previous article, Genisys was just terrible.
Back to Avenger fatigue, it definitely is a real thing which a lot of us fans are afraid of and like it or not, may already be feeling. It’s not just about the Avengers themselves but superhero films in general. Heaven knows what happened in the superhero film crash in the 90s thanks to films like Batman and Robin, Captain America and Steel. There truly is an over-saturation of superhero films in the market. Us fans may not get enough of them but ordinary folks could. So films like Rampage, Ready Player One, La La Land and A Quiet Place seem like a breath of fresh air. I remember my uncle when we were watching Captain America: Civil War, saying that he’s practically seen the film before, despite not having seen the film itself; apparently looking back to Captain America: The First Avenger, Avengers, Captain: America Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron. Guy took the wind out of my sails so for his benefit; I had to switch to another film.
And then there’s us. I can’t get any more hyped about Avengers: Infinity War, Doctor Strange 2 and Spider-Man Prom Night or whatever what Homecoming’s sequel will be called. Frankly, I’m not excited about X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Aquaman, The New Mutants and whatever gobbledygook Sony’s Amy Pascal is cooking up to cash in on Spider-Man’s MCU connection. They’ll just saturate the seemingly tiresome landscape of superhero films. Let’s not get started on the multitude of superhero TV shows available. I have already limited myself on Agents of SHIELD and the Marvel Netflix titles and only watch DC’s shows whenever I catch them and sometimes not.
But despite the superhero saturation, what’s truly different about the MCU that keeps many enthralled is that it’s a big connected soap opera where people want to see what happens to a character they’ve come to love and how they’ll interact with the other characters. Unlike DC’s unconnected offerings, the MCU happens in the same universe and spans various genres. Captain America: The First Avenger was a period film, Winter Soldier was a spy thriller, Black Panther is a black James Bond flick, Ant-Man was a heist film, and The Runaways was mostly a teenage drama. The only thing left for Marvel and Disney to do is to roll out an R-17 horror flick starring a superhero. The point is, as long as Marvel keeps things interesting and connected, superhero fatigue won’t set in just yet. James Cameron shouldn’t get his hopes up, but we’re optimistic about his upcoming Terminator reboot.