By now the 2014 summer movie season is in full swing, and we have seen our fair share of action packed adventures. There is one upcoming film, however, that may well be one of the most important movies of the year. Marvel’s “Guardian’s of the Galaxy”, which is set to release on Aug. 1, is seemingly a mere outer space saga full of cartoonish characters and ships blowing up. In reality, however, it is the next step in Marvel’s flawless execution of changing the movie industry forever.
“Guardians” will tell the story of a motley crew of mercenaries that turn out to be the galaxy’s last hope of survival. Nothing groundbreaking here. But Marvel will fuse this new and fantastic out of this world story with its already flourishing planet earth based Avengers franchise. If all goes well with critics and box office numbers, Marvel just may build upon a new and fantastic production strategy that is revamping the way Hollywood operates: world building.
What Marvel has accomplished in the last six years is nothing short of magic. So magical, in fact, that other production companies have made desperate sloppy attempts at recreating that magic. Earlier this year, Sony Pictures released “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”. Critics failed to swoon over the film, as it felt disjointed and unsatisfying. The story line lacked oomph, and the lack of discretion behind hidden Easter eggs was almost insulting. It almost seemed as though the film was less a stand-alone allegory about a noble super hero, and more a rickety bridge to future films that the company wants to make. Sure enough, even before the release of “Spider-Man”, Sony had already announced sequels and spinoffs involving comic book characters that were not so subtly introduced in the latest Spider-Man film.
Marvel’s comic book rival, DC Entertainment, is also heading in a direction that may lead to disaster. The success of last year’s “Man of Steel” somewhat justified the hasty announcements of a sequel, but in the spirit of impatience, DC and Warner Bros. chose to leap frog that idea. Instead, the “Man of Steel” sequel was transformed into “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice”, which will be a Batman and Superman crossover film that intends to pave the way for a world of superhero spinoffs.
The primary problem with Sony and DC’s world building technique is that they are planning sequels and spinoff films before the audience has even had the opportunity to demand them. In a similar vein, they are force-feeding new characters to moviegoers before viewers have even had the time to bond with the old ones.