Marvel Studios: CAMEOS CAMEOS CAMEOS CA–
Okay look I know Marvel has larger plans for the multiverse, given that they’ve devoted two movies and their only show to get a second season (at time of writing) to multiverse stuff, and have all but confirmed that multiverse shenanigans will be the next Infinity War/Endgame. But so far…
- We have Loki, in which Richard E. Grant stopped by for two episodes as “Classic Loki,” aka “Comics Loki Before They Changed Him to Look More Like Tom Hiddleston.” Relatively innocuous, fun guest spot, no complaints, but…
- Spider-Man: No Way Home was forged from multiverse cameos, uniting MCU Peter Parker and his gang with both previous Spider-Men and a villain from each of their movies. Also Matt Murdock dropped by for a scene but that wasn’t multiverse related. And I continue to claim that it all worked, it all landed, but the issue is that a certain percentage of Marvel fandom thinks that’s just how Marvel stuff is going to go now, and somehow get mad when a new Marvel thing (say, for instance, Moon Knight) has the audacity to focus on its own story and characters and not drown us in cameos. Leading to…
- Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness used alternate Earths to finally do the Illuminati, a secret cabal of Marvel bigwig heroes (and Namor) who had secretly been doing clean-up on major Marvel events for years but were introduced so we could watch them bollocks up so badly the Earth nearly gets conquered by Skrulls and destroyed by Hulk, but hey, Marvel fans wanted to see them for some reason. And see them we did, as marvel brought back Haley Atwell as Captain Carter because people liked that one What If episode; Lashana Lynch doing “what if Maria Rambeau had become Captain Marvel;” Patrick Stewart back one more time as Professor X; even Anson Mount got to reprise Black Bolt, from the last Marvel TV project I thought Feige would revisit. Also present, John Krasinksi as Mr. Fantastic, either a) if you believe director Sam Raimi, because it was a popular fan-casting and they wanted people to have it just once; or b) if you believe me and seemingly only me, because they were considering casting him in the impending Fantastic Four movie and wanted to see how he did.
It’s in that last one that we see the real problems. First, the problem coming from the studio. In this sequence they clearly thought that if they trotted out enough cool cameos nobody would notice that they’d brought Doctor Strange’s plot screeching to a halt to discuss Incursions, the new Infinity Stones. It was “Thor’s Magical Spa Day” from Age of Ultron all over again. So they drown us in familiar faces so we’ll pay attention to all their franchise set-up, the way early seasons of Game of Thrones would always put a naked prostitute in the background any time a character was expositing their backstory.
The larger problem is the same thing it always is: fans. Fans can be real dumb. In this case, there were those who felt Multiverse of Madness didn’t have enough cameos. People thought Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness would be a tidal wave of cameos. They expected to see all sorts of X-Men, probably Hugh Jackman as Wolverine but definitely Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool; Ben Affleck as Daredevil because I guess nobody’s willing to let Ben Affleck walk away from superhero nonsense like he clearly wants to; the casts of at least one failed Fantastic Four movie, be it the ones from the 2000s* or the objectively terrible one from 2015 that for some reason someone wanted to revisit. People even thought Tom Cruise would show up in the Illuminati as an alternate Tony Stark, then when it didn’t happen said “The deleted scenes are gonna be huge,” as if Marvel paid Tom-Cruise-money to get Tom Cruise to dress up as Iron Man for two scenes then cut it for time.
But don’t worry, when none of that happened, they
stopped judging movie quality by quantity of cameos transferred all of their hopes and dreams for an Endgame-portal-scene of characters from every Marvel movie/show ever made to Avengers: Secret Wars, totally healthy, not continuing a damaging cycle of setting your hopes irrationally high then getting mad when the movie doesn’t deliver the fanservice you were never promised because some clickbait site made it up.
A multiverse offers infinite story possibilities, but fans just see a window to infinite fan service. And an opening to demand a third Amazing Spider-Man movie because they were kids when the last two came out, and Andrew Garfield was pretty good in No Way Home, which they think vindicates their enjoyment and thus a third is warranted. Nostalgia has gotten dumb, y’all.
(*Someone on Twitter called 2005’s Fantastic Four a “masterpiece” on Twitter because nobody can just say “Sure it has flaws but I like it” anymore, film discourse has gotten dumb, and now the word “masterpiece” is ruined for me.)
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