This year has been a particularly troublesome time for the film industry.
Numerous movies are being delayed over box office concerns, including almost all of the big blockbusters audiences were hoping to see in 2020, save for the odd Tenet.
One franchise that has been majorly affected by the pandemic is Marvel. With the recent news from Disney that Black Widow has been delayed to May next year, 2020 marks the first year without a Marvel movie since 2009.
Fans were understandably devastated.
But others were delighted that 2020 marks a Marvel-less year.
People also invoked cinema’s finest, Martin Scorsese. If you can’t remember, Scorsese argued that Marvel movies are “not cinema”, and he got so much flack for it that he had to write a whole New York Times op-ed defending himself. Looks like he got the last laugh.
Now, this is the point when fans might start invoking the “just let people enjoy things” argument. Marvel movies make billions of dollars and millions of people love them, so why be happy about other people’s misfortune?
But disliking Marvel is not just about hating popular things – such an argument ignores the fact that there are very valid reasons for criticising the franchise.
How about Marvel celebrating themselves as the bastion of diversity and representation when it released its first female-centred movie 11 years after the cinematic universe started? Or when it touted its “gay moment” in Avengers: Endgame, which in reality was a split-second cameo from co-director Joe Russo mentioning a husband in a scene which could easily be edited out for anti-LGBTQ+ countries?
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with loving Marvel movies, and there’s definitely nothing wrong with disliking them either. What’s most concerning is the belief that the franchise should be immune from criticism, an idea that basically amounts to blind worship to a media conglomerate that is monopolising the film industry.
And even if the feeling is dampened by a pandemic, doesn’t it feel like a breath of fresh air now that one franchise isn’t oversaturating cinemas for once?
There is so much more to be concerned about in the film industry besides Marvel. Smaller, independent cinemas everywhere are struggling to stay afloat now that they have to deal with limited capacities. Thousands of workers are out of work. Disney will be fine, others won't be so secure.
A year without Marvel movies isn’t the end of the world. Besides, we’re sort of already living in it anyway.