Fan Service, Between The Flash(CW), Crisis on Infinite Earth, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Loki, The Flash Movie, and SpiderMan No Way Home. The multiverse trend is really common. And it really begs the question. Is it just for fan service and cheap pops or there is still potential for a good story is left?
Fan Service and superhero movies go hand in hand. As long as there is a superhero movie, fan service will be there. And you can see that everywhere. And it is not wrong in any way. But when Fan Service gets in the middle of a story, it is very annoying. Casual fans don’t realize that because they just want to enjoy the movie. But it really affects the die-hard fans of the franchise. Fans have been following the series for a very long time now. And it affects them.
I think the best example of this kind of fan service was Avengers: Endgame. I know I will get hate for this, but it is true. The thing is, Endgame could have been so much better than it actually was. And we didn’t need some miracle to do that. We just had to do some bits here and there. The main thing that affected Endgame was world-building because there was none. We heard that the world is in shambles throughout the movie, but we only saw a glimpse of it only once in the whole 3-hour movie. Instead, we got Captain America vs Captain America for solid 5 minutes. We never got a satisfactory ending for Captain America and Carol as we saw it in The Civil War. And there are lots of things like that.
Enter The Multiverse
Yes, I know that half of the movie I mentioned hasn’t been released yet. And it is just speculation at this point in time. And I can be wrong and I will be happy if that happens.
On one hand… I think it’s perfectly possible to craft a good (or even great) story that incorporates the multiverse aspect within itself in a way that’s beyond fanservice; Spider-Verse thus far being the best example. Giving Miles a failed AU Peter as a mentor and then the former inspires the latter to make things better in his world once he returns to it, plus the message that “anyone can be Spider-Man” executed literally with all the Spider-People. Neat stuff! Also, hyped as I am for the Raimi stuff in No Way Home. I hope it’s integrated in a way that respects or at least doesn’t ruin what came before it.
On the other hand… I understand those who think this trend has already overstayed its welcome. While we still have more of this stuff in the upcoming years (including that Doctor Strange sequel), it is also true that we’ve been exposed to the words “multiverse”, “alternate Earth”, etc on live-action for quite a LONG while now. I honestly wonder what’s gonna be the next big trend once this fades out because I have no idea.
Fan Service Or Good Stories?
The thing is both of them elevates the movie in one way or another. Every maker wants someone to cheer for during their movies. And fan service is the easiest way to do that. No matter how much you disliked Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Episode IX). But you definitely cheered on when X-Wing appeared on the screen. Fan Service makes hardcore fans stay connected to the movie. It feels like they are being rewarded for all those years. But at the same time, it takes away something from the story.
It’s a tough line to walk. On one hand, it’s a great excuse to offer up fresh or alternate takes on characters who are well-established or are already dead in one universe. On the other hand, it has the potential to get confusing or overused very quickly.