Endgame directors on superhero fatigue

Avengers: Endgame directors Joe & Anthony Russo don’t believe in superhero fatigue, saying Marvel’s problem are due to “generational divide.”

Avengers: Endgame, superhero fatigue

It’s safe to say that the Marvel Cinematic Universe hasn’t been on the top of its game for a few years. That’s not to say that there haven’t been some great movies released during that time, but fans typically point to Avengers: Endgame as the high point of the entire franchise. With dwindling box offices and lackluster reviews, some point to superhero fatigue as the cause, but directors Joe and Anthony Russo have a different explanation.

The Avengers: Endgame directors told GamesRadar that the problem is something much bigger than superhero fatigue, as it affects the rest of Hollywood as well. “I think it’s a reflection of the current state of everything,” Joe Russo said. “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.

He continued, “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.

Anthony Russo added that even if superhero fatigue is an issue, it’s nothing the industry hasn’t faced before with other genres. “I think it’s fatigue in general,” he said. “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.

The rate at which we consume information, entertainment, and just about everything else has skyrocketed, and Joe Russo believes the current generations are looking to reinvent the tried and true methods of storytelling. “We have never collectively, globally, processed our conversation so intimately and quickly as we do now. I think that creates problems, where we over-process and don’t care about context anymore,” Russo explained. “We communicate through memes and headlines, with nobody reading past two sentences, so everything’s 100 characters or less – or 10-second videos on social media you swipe through. I think that the two-hour format, the structure that goes into making a movie, it’s over a century old now and everything always transitions. So, there is something happening again and that form is repetitive. But it’s hard to reinvent that form and I think this next generation is looking for ways to tell their own stories that service their own sort of collective ADHD.

What are your thoughts on superhero fatigue?