This summer sucked. That’s just a fact. There were so many bland, dry movies that came out this summer that the monotony eventually got to be absolutely astronomical. But I’ve already discussed this summer in great detail, so let’s talk about next summer. After doing some quick research on next summer’s releases, I can already feel myself getting depressed. When it comes to judging a book by its cover, this is the jackpot. Next year we will be graced with the likes of Captain Underpants, Cars 3, Transformers 5, Despicable Me 3, Jumanji, CHiPs, The Emojimovie, The Nutjob 2, Anabelle 2, and Pirates of The Caribbean 34. None of those titles sound like they have promise. None of them. And sure there are some hopefuls out there, The Kingsman Sequel, Wonder Woman, Dunkirk, War for the Planet of The Apes, and Valerian. However, there were plenty of hopefuls this past summer as well, and look where that got us. Upon looking at this dismal slate, I can’t help but think, what are we doing anymore? It’s no secret that this summer was absolutely pathetic at the box-office, not just on Rotten Tomatoes. But the hope was always that it would get better next year. Yet it would appear that Hollywood is just making the same mistakes again. More obnoxious sequels that nobody’s asking for, (I genuinely have to regularly remind myself that I saw Alice: Through the Looking Glass, as that film was so absurdly terrible it has completely left my consciousness) more remakes to leave people in rage, and of course, more superheroes.
You will notice that I didn’t include Guardians of The Galaxy 2 or Spider-Man Homecoming on my list of hopefuls for next year. There’s a reason. If you had asked me two years ago, or maybe even last year if I was excited about these films, my answer would have been a whole-hearted yes. But then, I saw Captain America: Civil War. I won’t get in depth again, but let me reiterate that that was the last straw. That was the movie that told me emphatically that the demise of the superhero film is coming, even if the majority of audiences haven’t picked up on it yet. Upon viewing that film I sat there and thought to myself, “you haven’t done anything new here. This is exactly like everything other Marvel Movie you’ve made. I’m done.” I believe that over the next few Marvel releases, people will really start to get fatigued. But when exactly will the death of the superhero come? 2018. I’m certain of this fact. In 2018, people will be chomping at the bit for another good Avengers Movie. Last year they will have just seen Guardians of The Galaxy 2, and while they thought it was “fun” they didn’t feel that it lived up to the excitement of the original. They will have seen Spider-Man, and while it tried its best to be fresh, it still felt strikingly like every other Spider-Man film they’d seen before. And of course, they will have seen Justice League, which…well let’s just say DC hasn’t exactly been very good at living up to the hype recently. (For the record, I put Wonder Woman on the list of hopefuls, as it is the only super-hero movie coming out anytime soon that is anything even remotely new.) So here comes Summer of 2018. Avengers: Infinity War comes out, and lo and behold, it doesn’t live up to what everyone wanted it to be. And even more egregiously, it is exactly the same as Civil War, which was exactly the same as Avengers 2, which was exactly the same as The Avengers. So now people are understandably pretty frustrated, but they hold out some feeling of hope. In 2019, they see the fourth Avengers Movie (FOURTH) and leave just feeling empty. Thus Marvel’s next few releases tank at the box office, or as they would say “underperform,” and we effectively kill the superhero. Woohoo. But the real question is…what do we do without it?
People aren’t just getting tired of superhero movies. They’re getting tired of most films Hollywood is making. Remakes don’t work anymore. They just don’t. Films like Ben-Hur, which probably would have done pretty decently at the box office ten years ago, get absolutely killed at the box office. While I don’t believe that sequels, or really remakes for that matter, will every fully go away, I do think that they will eventually become less bloated and repetitive as they are now (if you’re brave, try watching Alice or Independence Day:Resurgence). But in addition to remakes and sequels, people are really not enticed by massive CGI menageries anymore. There’s no reason why The BFG or really Warcraft should have done as poorly as they did. So if we’ve exhausted remakes, sequels, and spectacles, what’s left? What else works? Science-Fiction. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I’ve got news for you. The end is coming for them as well. Because by 2019, people won’t just be tired of Marvel movies. There’s one other franchise left to exhaust. Star Wars.
Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed The Force Awakens as much as anybody else. But I’m already tired of Star Wars, just hearing about all the movies they’ve got planned. By 2019 we will have received five new Star Wars movies in Five Years. Five films. In Five Years. That’s enough to almost double the franchise in less than half the time it took to make all the others. That’s a tad bit excessive. So anyway, by 2020 we will be completely tired of Star Wards, especially if they spend half as much time and money merchandising as they did for the first one. And in the same way, Marvel’s failure will cause movie studios to stop making superhero films, Star Wars’ end will cause a market fear of Sci-Fi films. And that’s really too bad.
So this brings me to my original point. Where on earth are we going as a movie culture? I am genuinely asking here, as I don’t know. I don’t know what we look like without Marvel. I don’t know what we look like without Star Wars. And I certainly don’t know what we look like without gratuitous sequels and remakes. Cinema isn’t dead. But it’s on suicide watch. If we continue down this path, Cinema will implode in on itself. It’s not the internet’s fault. It’s the studios that continue to make the same mistakes over and over again, leaving us the audiences completely fed up. And while I do agree that streaming is a contributing factor, if the studios made something worth going to the cinemas for, we as a culture would do so. Last summer I went to the movies almost every weekend. But this summer I only saw 11 films. And I only found myself loving three of them. Three. Star Trek, Kubo and, most importantly, Swiss Army Man. These movies were completely fresh and exciting, but more than anything, they were better than all the other dribble we were given. I know I sound cynical. And I know I sound pessimistic. But this is only because I love movies so much. And I’m worried. And if you had some sense, you would be too.