Avengers directors blame decline of Marvel Cinematic Universe’s popularity on ‘generational divide’

Avengers directors blame decline of Marvel Cinematic Universe’s popularity on ‘generational divide’

The directors of the 2019 Marvel blockbuster Avengers: Endgame have blamed the decline in popularity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) on a “generational divide”.

Since the release of Iron Man in 2008, the superhero franchise has made nearly $30bn at the box office. However, the MCU has struggled in recent years, with several films, including The Marvels, Eternals and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, underperforming financially.

This fact, coupled with a run of underwhelmingly received Marvel series on Disney+, has lead many analysts to claim that audiences are suffering from “superhero fatigue”.

Asked about this by Games Radar, directors Joe and Anthony Russo blamed a shift in how audiences are consuming media.

Said Joe: "I think it's a reflection of the current state of everything. It's difficult right now, it's an interesting time. I think we're in a transitional period and people don't know quite yet how they're going to receive stories moving forward, or what kinds of stories they're going to want.

“There’s a big generational divide about how you consume media. There’s a generation that’s used to appointment viewing and going to a theater on a certain date to see something, but it’s ageing out. Meanwhile the new generation are ‘I want it now, I want to process it now’, then moving onto the next thing, which they process whilst doing two other things at the same time.

“You know, it’s a very different moment in time than it’s ever been. And so I think everyone, including Marvel, is experiencing the same thing, this transition. And I think that really is probably what’s at play more than anything else.”

Robert Downey Jr in ‘Avengers: Endgame' (Marvel Studios)
Robert Downey Jr in ‘Avengers: Endgame' (Marvel Studios)

The sibling filmmakers, who also directed Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, contended that “superhero fatigue” was not the real issue.

“I think it’s fatigue in general,” said Anthony. The superhero fatigue question was around long before the work we were doing. So, it’s sort of an eternal complaint, like we always used to cite this back in our early days with superhero work.

“People used to complain about westerns in the same way but they lasted for decades and decades and decades. They were continually reinvented and brought to new heights as they went on.”