The Marvel Cinematic Universe seems well on course to take over the world. With each film seeming to build on the success of the last, it has created multi million dollar franchise after multi million dollar franchise and with their most recent release, Guardian’s Of the Galaxy, they look set to take that even further, as it takes us away from the world of superheros and out into a universe that has the potential to go in any direction it chooses. That doesn’t even take into account the fact that it may also be their most entertaining film to date. However, there has always been one flaw in this seemingly indestructible behemoth. That being that they just can’t seem to get a handle on how to end their movies.
You see there has become a common thread throughout every Marvel movie recently and it doesn’t come in the form of the Avengers or Nick Fury, but rather in the shape of giant space ships floating above major population masses in their 3rd act. These ships inevitably end up making a slow descent towards the city below, as our heroes, be it Captain America, Thor or the Guardian’s of the Galaxy, fight for their lives on board against one of a selection of rather generic villains over the possession of a mystical McGuffin.
Now all of these McGuffin’s are obviously leading somewhere, anyone aware of the wider Marvel universe knows exactly where that is, but it doesn’t hide the fact this final act is growing stale. The question then has to be raised about whether Marvel will ever have the courage to ditch these dramatic gestures and go for something simpler. The best bits of Guardian’s did not come when they were battling Ronan the Accuser, who could have easily be substituted for Malekith from Thor: The Dark World, but when the characters interacted with each other. The grand ending was not needed to make this film. If it hadn’t been a full scale battle but rather a much smaller affair it would have, if anything, been a lot better. It would have allowed the characters to continue to shine in a way that they don’t when the world is blowing up around them.
These issues aren’t unique to Marvel movies. Anyone who saw Man of Steel or any of the X-Men films knows that the endings tend to be overlong, over loud and often the most boring part of the film. Yet Marvel may face the repercussions of these ending quicker than any others. They are currently looking to release two films a year and if that schedule continues it seems unlikely that an audience will stay around to watch spaceships slowly descend on major cities and may instead go to find their action fix elsewhere, which would be a damn shame. The truth is Marvel have brought their cast of characters to life better than anyone else and they often deserve better than the 3rd act havoc they tend to be presented with.