The Marvel Cinematic Universe has dominated the box office and pop culture throughout its 15-year existence, but its grip on audiences may be slipping, as indicated by the performance of “The Marvels,” its latest release.
"The Marvels" brought in the lowest opening box office numbers in the franchise’s history, and half of the MCU’s more recent entries, after its hit “Avengers: Endgame,” landed in the bottom third of the revenue pile.
This underperformance probably has more to do with some viewers’ 'superhero fatigue' and aversion to diverse casts than with the movie itself.
Part of the audience has tuned out for the post-Endgame era of Marvel. Additionally, some reviewers targeted four of these latest movies — including “The Marvels” — for being too political due to their female and/or minority characters, despite this diversity being wholly beneficial throughout the film.
Regardless, “The Marvels” falls short of benchmarks beyond, and more important than, making money and pleasing everyone.
The movie follows Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel and Monica Rambeau as their powers become entangled, causing them to switch places at inopportune times.
Together, they fight the leader of an alien race that is stealing natural resources from other planets to save her home world, which is on the brink of ecological destruction.
While this sounds like an interesting conflict that could comment on real-world issues of environmentalism, “The Marvels” simply isn’t that kind of movie — instead, it focuses on the friendship of its three protagonists and the ensuing humor.
The teenage Ms. Marvel and her family excel in these comedic moments, giving voice to characters that are both unique and relatable. Captain Marvel and Monica balance Ms. Marvel’s youthful excitement while still adding to the fun.