I’m going to hazard a generalization. Whenever a new Marvel movie hits theaters—or for that matter any film based on an Intellectual Property™ with a zealous fanbase—the critical responses congregate overwhelmingly in two opposing camps. The first group is the professional critics, the serious auteurs, and the intellectual viewers who decry Marvel as a prime suspect in the corporatization of filmmaking and the infantilization of audiences. The second group is the aforementioned zealous fans, a number of whom grew up reading the comics and are ecstatic that their beloved heroes are no longer only two-dimensional drawings on panels but also (real or CGI) flesh-and-blood giants on IMAX screens. I’m sure there are some fans who don’t like the homogenizing cost of Marvel’s entry into the cultural mainstream, but overall it seems fans are grateful that the rest of the world has finally caught up with them and now embraces what was once niche and only for nerds. Whereas the first group prophesies the death of cinema, the second longs with eschatological fervor for every new chapter and sees a bright future. The first dismisses the second as shallow. The second dismisses the first as snobbish.
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