What Did Marvel Get Right With ‘Infinity War’ That Disney Failed With ‘Last Jedi’?
At this point in time, it is almost impossible to say that Disney doesn’t singlehandedly hold the future of all nerd-culture in the palm of their clenched, gauntleted fist. Having taken over ‘Star Wars’ and the ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’ it seems like there are few options for entertainment at the Box Office that don’t have Disney looming over them. Still, this entertainment monopoly hasn’t been all bad and we can point to the wildly successful, both critically and financially, ‘Infinity War’ as proof. However, Disney dropped the ball with ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ and fans are starting to wonder why the monolithic production company is having trouble balancing the two properties. Let’s take a spoilers-free look at how Disney is juggling two of the biggest properties in nerd culture.
Both ‘The Last Jedi’ and ‘Infinity War’ were box office juggernauts that did things financially that few other filmmakers will ever dream to dream, excluding guys like James Cameron. However, despite their mutual success only ‘Infinity War’ is bringing in the amazing critical reception while ‘The Last Jedi’ is being named one of the most divisive entries into the entire ‘Star Wars’ universe. What is the difference between the two properties? At face value they both have much in common: they are products of years of preparation and they feature some of the most well-known characters and cinematic universes in the history of pop culture.
The difference, as it turns out, is reverence for the source material. The Russo Brothers have done something with ‘Infinity War’ that would have been considered altogether impossible even just a few years ago. While Marvel has consistently leaned on their ‘quip-a-minute’ formula, the Russo Brothers were admirably balanced in their approach to the Mad Titan Thanos himself. Thanos and his minions are as horrifying and uniquely driven as they were in their comic book counterparts. They are still distinctly Marvel characters, but there is real weight to their actions. In ‘The Last Jedi’, director Rian Johnson leans into Marvel-quirk without any of the actual charms and he ends up underselling his space opera as a result, leaving everyone with a foul taste in their mouth.