2018’s “Robin Hood” was released to negative reviews. And while it may seem to be another one-off, there’s more to the story than that. “Robin Hood” is a recent attempt at a studio trying to build their own franchise.
“Robin Hood” was actually supposed to be the first in a cinematic universe based around the mythical title character, with plans for every merry-man to get his own movie. In hindsight, this sounds almost strange, who would want a cinematic universe based off Robin Hood? But the really strange part to this is that it doesn’t sound that far fetched compared to other franchise attempts by other studios. In a way, “Robin Hood” was trying to be what “Iron Man” was for the Marvel films. “Robin Hood”, if anything is the latest example of a studio trying to create a cinematic universe.
Officially beginning in 2009, the MCU is not the first movie franchise or even the first superhero franchise, but its a massive success is something new and has changed Hollywood. Due to the long lasting success of Marvel, releasing over 20 movies, producing around three a year and still going strong, this has caused other studios to think that cinematic universes are worth investing in.
The DC films — or the DCEU — would be the clearest example. Disney’s success with Marvel movies has led to Warner Brothers trying to do the same with DC. But they were unable to fully do so, releasing several movies of either bad or mediocre quality, though the DCEU has seemingly improved in quality with recent films “Wonder Woman” and “Aquaman.”
20th Century Fox tried their superhero franchises: “Deadpool” was good for them, “X-Men” has overall been good, with some flops, but “Fan4stic” is another movie that failed to start a franchise. It’s worth noting that last year all of these properties and more were purchased from Fox by Disney.
- Night Shyamalan’s “Glass” is the third film in a superhero trilogy with his other movies “Unbreakable” and “Split.” And with the sequel “Incredibles 2,” it’s possible a third, and likewise, a franchise might follow. But the impact of cinematic universes is more than superhero franchises. Like “Robin Hood,” there is more.
Universal Pictures tried to create a franchise in 2017 with “The Mummy,” starring Tom Cruise and was a terrible movie. “The Mummy” was supposed to kickstart Universal’s new franchise “The Dark World.” Several movies were planned, and might still, each featuring a classic monster: The Wolfman, Invisible Man and Frankenstein. But “The Mummy’s” bad reception has seemingly derailed the planned series. Universal had released successful movies with these characters in the past during the 1930s and 1940s.
In 2016, “King Arthur” was a mediocre movie and was another failed start. Like the Universal monsters, there had been successful movies made around King Arthur in the past. The same goes for Robin Hood as well.
Part of why these franchises didn’t work is due to them being built around characters who aren’t as culturally relevant. It’s different from Marvel because audiences are familiar with their characters either from comic books or from popular movies and TV shows.
I am not trying to paint the MCU as a bad thing. They have created several entertaining movies that if anything has raised the quality in a way of the average blockbuster. After all, blockbusters now apparently seem to try not only to be entertaining but to have a level of complexity, like in the MCU. And admittedly, as my reviews have shown, I am a big fan of their films.
But movies, even great ones, can impact cinema in ways that are both good and bad. For instance, the “Star Wars” original trilogy and “Jaws” are great movies, some of the best. They both had a huge impact on Hollywood. While they weren’t solely responsible for it, these movies and similar ones led to the rise of blockbuster entertainment and the end of New Hollywood. New Hollywood was a special time in film history when Hollywood films could be bolder, take more chances and didn’t have to feature a happy ending. But with the rise of blockbusters, Hollywood started making movies that were designed to be entertainment, meaning they were less likely to take chances and play it safe.
The MCU has led to the rise of cinematic universes taking over mainstream Hollywood, and this has also led studios to try to make movies that are more like “Iron Man” and less like something trying to be different or take risks. Many people from the film industry have actually left. Instead, they seem to be drawn more to television or television-like streaming services, such as HBO and Netflix. And it’s probably no coincidence that some say we are currently living in “The Golden Age of Television,” due to several great cinematic TV series.
Again, the MCU isn’t necessarily bad. But as “Star Wars” and “Jaws” did, it has created a somewhat negative impact on the film industry. Though some may not mind, as audiences seem to really enjoy Marvel, DC and some other cinematic universes. While some may be failures, with studios making film franchises around characters that are not socially relevant characters, others do have potential. Universal Pictures also has produced 2014’s “Godzilla” and it’s an up-and-coming sequel to “Godzilla: King of Monsters.” Both are supposed to be in the same film universe as “Kong: Skull Island.” This franchise not only makes more sense, but it sounds pretty cool because this would mean that Godzilla and King Kong would have to fight at some point.
The MCU has changed the film industry, and we will see how much so in years to come. But for better or for worse, it has changed Hollywood. And with several movies being released for this year, “Avengers: Endgame” especially, it shows no signs of stopping yet.