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‘People Used to Complain About Westerns in the Same Way’

‘People Used to Complain About Westerns in the Same Way’


  • The Russo brothers aren’t buying into the superhero fatigue theory: “People used to complain about Westerns in the same way.”
  • Joe and Anthony Russo also point out that storytelling formats are changing with the rise of instant gratification and shorter attention spans.
  • Deadpool & Wolverine
    will have a chance to right the MCU ship financially when it drops in theaters this July.

The Russo brothers don’t believe in the superhero fatigue theory. Before the Marvel Cinematic Universe started struggling to reap the same impressive financials at the box office, with underachievers like The Marvels, the Russos cranked out hit after hit for the MCU. And the siblings helmed the two biggest moneymakers of the entire franchise — Avengers: Infinity War ($2.1 billion) and Avengers: Endgame ($2.8 billion). Anthony and Joe Russo recently attended the 2024 Sands: International Film Festival of St Andrews, and they addressed the fatigue issue. Anthony said in an interview with GamesRadar+:

“I think it’s fatigue in general.
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.”

Avengers Endgame poster

Avengers: Endgame

Release Date
April 24, 2019


Part of the journey is the end.

Joe Russo also pointed to the “current state of everything” as being part of the problem. He said in the same discussion:

“I think it’s a reflection of
the current state of everything.
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.”

While the Russo brothers might be perplexed by how Robert Downey Jr. might return to the MCU, Joe and Anthony don’t have any qualms about calling out the disputable notion of superhero fatigue. Clearly, there are other issues in their minds that are contributing to the MCU’s lack of success when compared to the multi-billion-dollar accomplishments of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame in the past. For instance, Joe pointed out the way media is consumed as a cause for concern in the same interview:

“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 aging 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
[…] 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.”


Every Russo Brothers Post-Avengers: Endgame Project, Ranked by Rotten Tomatoes Score

After making their mark in the MCU, the Russo Brothers left to direct and produce other movies and TV shows. Here’s every post-Endgame project.

Joe continued:

“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.”

While the superhero fatigue debate rages on, the MCU could get healthy very quickly thanks to the highly anticipated arrival of this summer’s Deadpool & Wolverine. Deadpool 3 figures to rewrite the rules of Marvel’s multiverse. However, it’s far too early to forecast if Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman’s upcoming team-up will result in the same kind of financial success the Russo brothers achieved with Infinity War and Endgame.

Deadpool & Wolverine
opens in theaters on July 26.

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