It doesn’t seem so long ago that Hollywood was obsessed with trilogies, thanks in large part to the success of The Lord of the Rings. Now lately it has become apparent that a trilogy is not enough… every studio is busy trying to emulate Marvel by setting up a shared universe or copy the Harry Potter series by dividing book adaptations up into as many installments as possible. Although cinema was once a medium mostly dedicated to stand-alone stories, it has now become increasingly reliant on the serialized format that has thrived for so long on television and in comic books. In a way, I guess we shouldn’t be surprised, especially given the growing importance of television in the pop culture landscape… but is this trend somehow devaluing the moviegoing experience?
On the one hand, you could say that the success of Marvel’s formula proves that people are eager to follow a continuing storyline told across multiple movies featuring characters they have grown to love. But on the other hand, when a movie is just one part of a larger story, that can also make it feel less satisfying — not to mention the fact that it requires the audience to have done its homework as well. In a worst case scenario, a movie comes across as completely impenetrable to non-fans and fails to tell a standalone story. But in an increasingly fragmented market, maybe appealing to the hardcore fans is all that matters. What do you think? Are you a fan of the Marvel formula and the direction they have taken Hollywood blockbusters? Do serialized stories allow for more character development and depth or do they just result in disposable stories? Is the serialization of movies a good thing or a bad thing? Give us your thoughts here on Open Forum Friday.