Marvel Fatigue

When was the last time you went to the movie theatre to see a Marvel film?

I admit that, for me at least, it has been a while...

From Iron Man in 2008 until Avengers: Endgame in 2019 I went to see every single Marvel film that was released. 22 films in total.

But after that, I will admit, I kind of got bored.

  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) - Didn't bother to see in the theatre.
  • Black Widow (2021) - Didn't bother to see in the theatre.
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)
  • Eternals (2021) - Didn't bother to see in the theatre.
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) - Didn't bother to see in the theatre.
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022) - Didn't bother to see in the theatre.
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022) - Didn't bother to see in the theatre.
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023) - Didn't bother to see in the theatre.
  • The Marvels (2023) - Didn't bother to see in the theatre.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)

So of the 11 films that came out after Endgame myself (and my wife) only went to movie theatres to see 3 of them. 3 out of 11. If that isn't a sign of Marvel Fatigue, I don't know what is.

Oh... And there's the Venom and Deadpool films. Didn't bother to go see any of those either.

Now my wife and I did eventually see all of these films, thanks to Disney+ / etc, but we had no interest in going to see many of these films in the theatre.

Now you might think: "Oh, many of these films were during the pandemic, so maybe that is why."

Nope, not an issue, because as you will note we still went to see Shang-Chi and that was during the pandemic. And even after the pandemic was over we still didn't bother go see the majority of Marvel films.

And then there's the Marvel TV shows available via Netflix and Disney+. When Daredevil, Jessica Jones, etc was originally coming out years ago my wife and I would religiously binge watch them. Now when Disney+ releases new TV shows it is really 50/50 whether we will watch them. I watched She-Hulk, Ms Marvel, Falcon and the Winter Soldier, but some of the other shows held zero interest for us. Sometimes we might watch the first episode and then get bored.

So yes, I think in our household we definitely have Marvel Fatigue. But what is Marvel Fatigue?

I asked ChatGPT to write a blog post on the subject and here is what it spewed out:

The Marvel Cinematic Universe: Is "Marvel Fatigue" Real?

In the realm of blockbuster cinema, few franchises have achieved the level of success and cultural impact as the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). With its interconnected storylines, charismatic superheroes, and high-octane action, Marvel Studios has captivated audiences worldwide for over a decade. However, as the MCU continues to expand and dominate the box office, a phenomenon known as "Marvel Fatigue" has begun to emerge.

But what exactly is Marvel Fatigue? Is it simply a case of oversaturation, or is there something deeper at play? Let's delve into the factors contributing to this phenomenon and explore whether audiences are truly growing tired of the superhero genre.

The Rise of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

The MCU burst onto the scene in 2008 with the release of "Iron Man," kicking off a cinematic revolution that would redefine the superhero genre. Over the years, Marvel Studios has meticulously crafted a sprawling universe, weaving together standalone films, team-up epics, and interconnected story arcs.

With each new release, the MCU has continued to push the boundaries of what's possible in superhero filmmaking. From the epic battles of "The Avengers" to the cosmic adventures of "Guardians of the Galaxy," Marvel Studios has consistently delivered high-quality entertainment that resonates with audiences of all ages.

The Pitfalls of Oversaturation

Despite its undeniable success, the MCU's relentless release schedule has led to concerns of oversaturation. With multiple films hitting theaters each year, some critics argue that audiences are becoming fatigued by the constant barrage of superhero content.

In recent years, Marvel Studios has expanded its universe beyond the confines of traditional cinema, venturing into streaming with original series on Disney+. While this has allowed for deeper exploration of characters and storylines, it has also added to the sense of oversaturation, with new content dropping on a regular basis.

Diminishing Returns?

Another factor contributing to Marvel Fatigue is the diminishing returns of formulaic storytelling. While each MCU film brings its own unique flair and style, there's a certain predictability to the overarching narrative structure. Origin stories, villain-of-the-week plots, and world-ending threats have become staples of the genre, leading some audiences to feel like they've seen it all before.

Additionally, as the MCU expands to encompass more characters and storylines, maintaining coherence and continuity becomes increasingly challenging. While die-hard fans may revel in the intricate web of connections, casual moviegoers may find themselves overwhelmed or disengaged by the sheer scope of the universe.

Changing Tastes and Trends

Beyond the specificities of the MCU, Marvel Fatigue may also be indicative of broader shifts in audience preferences. In an era dominated by sequels, reboots, and shared universes, there's a growing appetite for originality and innovation. Audiences crave fresh storytelling and diverse perspectives, which can be difficult to achieve within the confines of a sprawling franchise like the MCU.

Moreover, the rise of streaming services has fundamentally changed the way people consume media. With endless options at their fingertips, audiences are less inclined to venture out to the theater for every Marvel release. Instead, they may choose to wait for home viewing or prioritize other forms of entertainment altogether.

The Future of the MCU

So, where does this leave the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Despite the challenges of Marvel Fatigue, there's no denying that the franchise remains a powerhouse in the world of entertainment. With a slate of upcoming films and series, Marvel Studios shows no signs of slowing down.

However, in order to sustain its success, the MCU must continue to evolve and adapt to changing audience tastes. This may involve taking creative risks, exploring new genres, or diversifying its roster of characters and creators. By staying true to its roots while embracing innovation, Marvel Studios can ensure that the magic of the MCU continues to captivate audiences for years to come.

In conclusion, while Marvel Fatigue may be a real phenomenon for some audiences, it's not necessarily a death knell for the MCU. By addressing the pitfalls of oversaturation, embracing originality, and staying attuned to changing trends, Marvel Studios can navigate the challenges ahead and continue to thrive in an ever-evolving entertainment landscape. As long as there are stories to be told and heroes to root for, the Marvel Cinematic Universe will remain a force to be reckoned with.


And there you go, that's what ChatGPT had to say. I however wonder if perhaps this is the beginning of the end for the MCU. If the films start making less and less money, and potentially become financially risky then Disney could pull the plug on any film that they think is too big of a risk.

They might try to change things up by being less formulaic, but they also have to stay true to the source material... And comic books are by their nature very formulaic. If they differ from the source material too much then the fans will get upset and badmouth the film(s).

Which begs the question, if the diminishing returns are being felt already in 2023-2024, what will it be like 6 years from now in 2030? Will the MCU even still be around in 2030?

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