Are Marvel And DC Making A Mistake With The Multiverse?

Superhero comics have a long history of experimenting with parallel universes, now Marvel Studios and DC Studios have embraced the concept; the multiverse allows for ambitious crossovers, multiple variants of one character, and can even resurrect fan favorites.

So, why does the multiverse feel so boring?

The trailer for DC’s The Flash, starring controversy-magnet Ezra Miller, shows the titular hero teaming up with himself, along with Micheal Keaton’s Batman and the tattered remnants of the Snyderverse.

Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania sees the entire multiverse at stake from Kang the Conqueror, and currently holds a limp 52% on Rotten Tomatoes, with many critics noting that the film suffers from too much set-up, failing to justify itself as a standalone story.

It’s hard to watch the trailers for these two multiverse tales, and not feel a bit fatigued.

The Flash trailer looks like someone stuffed a bunch of superhero figurines into a blender, while Quantumania looks murky and lifeless, like AI-generated art. I hope Jonathan Majors has been working out, because he’s about to carry the entire MCU on his shoulders (judging from his stellar performance in Loki, he might even pull it off).

Superhero sequels have a tendency to escalate; first, the city needs to be protected, then the planet, the galaxy, the entire universe, and finally, the multiverse. The stakes grow so large that they can feel meaningless, and the very existence of a multiverse suggests infinite back-ups; if the heroes fail, well, there’s always another universe, another Loki to take the place of the original.

At this point in the MCU’s life cycle, the saga feels overwhelming and underwhelming, simultaneously. It’s harder to tease death and danger if we know that there’s always another variant waiting in the wings, and the deluge of movies and TV shows can feel intimidating to the casual viewer. These movies, after all, are supposed to be simple.

DC, on the other hand, seems to be using the multiverse to wipe their confusing slate clean, and invoke Burton Batman nostalgia. Both franchises feel like Fortnite, Ready Player One or even a Super Bowl commercial; a endless mishmash of references, colliding into each other with no impact.

It doesn’t have to be like this; the multiverse is much more than a crossover generator. The concept can be used to tell insightful stories, as long as the stakes remain personal. Everything, Everywhere, All At Once used the gimmick to stage inventive action sequences, and tell a touching story of lost opportunities, roads not taken. The film went to some fantastical places, but stayed small, never straying too far away from the strained relationships at its core.

Into The Spider-Verse is one of the greatest superhero films of all time, and it used the multiverse to show that the identity of Spider-Man is flexible, but his core traits are not, emphasizing that anyone can wear the mask (as long as they can handle losing a loved one).

Rick and Morty uses the multiverse to invoke humor and existential dread, exploring how infinite possibility has warped Rick into a depraved nihilist. In its very first season, the show explores the aftermath of Rick and Morty destroying their own universe, and stepping into an identical “back-up universe,” a deeply traumatizing experience for Morty.

There are no shortage of ways to utilize the multiverse, and pop culture seems to have organically embraced the concept anyway; the internet almost seems designed for cross-pollination between favorite franchises. Kids today will watch YouTube videos featuring a mishmash of characters that spit in the face of copyright, and never think twice about it.

For superhero movies, crossovers stopped being a novelty years ago; the multiverse should spark a more interesting story, instead of being used to squeeze in yet another cameo.

#Marvel #Making #Mistake #Multiverse

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