‘Thunderbolts’ Could Be the Story That Saves Marvel

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Thunderbolts, Red Guardian and Yelena

Credit: Marvel Studios

There’s been a lot of upheaval at Marvel Studios recently. Between superhero fatigue, the ongoing Hollywood strikes, and Bob Iger’s own comments about Marvel’s quantity in the last few years, it’s hard to know exactly what is going on.

The studio was already struggling to maintain the insane pace they’ve set for themselves in the last few years. Since Iron Man was first released in 2008, Marvel has released 32 films and almost a dozen interconnected series, with about eight series released to Disney+ as part of Phase Four between 2021 and 2022.

Wanda and Vision on the WandaVision poster
Credit: Marvel Studios

Unfortunately, this pace has been criticized by Marvel workers, Iger, and fans, and it’s clearly affected the quality of Marvel releases in the last year or two. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania was released earlier this year as the start of Marvel’s Phase Five, only to become the MCU’s biggest box-office bomb. Secret Invasion, marketed as the biggest MCU series yet, became a massive disappointment for fans and the studio, and several projects had already been pushed back even before the Hollywood strikes shut down productions everywhere.

With Loki Season 2 finally being released this October and filming for Captain America: Brave New World officially wrapped, it still leaves several dozen projects in limbo, including Thunderbolts. Thunderbolts is the team-up of characters like Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) and Alexei Shostakov/Red Guardian (David Harbour).

A group of people standing around a table
Credit: Marvel Studios

While filming remains halted, Thunderbolts director Jake Schreier recently spoke to Collider about what fans can expect from the film. While the film will be another major Marvel crossover of characters, Schreier says he’s brought something special to it.

“In the end, obviously, we want to make a big universal movie that everyone can connect to, but that you can only do that by making something that feels personal, and I think that’s what’s exciting about the project to us.”

Since Avengers: Endgame (2019), and perhaps even before then, most of the projects coming out of the MCU seem to focus on setting up the next thing: the next villain, the next movie/series, the next insane team-up, etc. By doing that, they’ve lost a lot of characterization and personality in their characters, relying on their typical (if boring) Marvel humor to connect with audiences.

Credit: Marvel Studios

With Schreier confident that his movie will feature a “different approach” and “a new kind of story,” he could bring the heart and life back to characters that have started to feel one-dimension and flat among a dozen other assorted Marvel heroes. While not The Avengers, it’s possible that Thunderbolts could be the project to save and reinvigorate the MCU.

Are you excited about Thunderbolts? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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