The Avengers - Thor and Captain America (header)

Apparently we’re not the only ones who hate the current obsession with Marvel-style universes. Director James Gunn has weighed in with a rant against “Hollywood’s new love of shared universes,” blasting the model as “flawed.” And he should know — he’s involved with the original Marvel-style universe, i.e., the Marvel universe. Hit the jump to read the James Gunn shared universe comments.

Gunn shared his thoughts on Facebook.

Gunn really hits the nail on the head here. It’s not that shared universes are inherently bad. A well done one is a win for audiences and studios alike. We’re happy to return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe time and time again because we like it there, and studios are happy to bring us back because we pay them handsomely for the favor each time.

The problem is that Hollywood studios are so eager for shared universes they’re pushing them out half-baked. That’s how we wind up with nonsense like the last scene in Dracula Untold, tacked on at the last minute to make the film fit the Universal Monsters franchise.

While Gunn doesn’t call out anyone by name, Marvel competitors are some of the worst offenders. Warner Bros. got mixed reactions from fans for Man of Steel but is still barreling ahead with 11 more DC universe movies. Sony has struggled to find its footing with The Amazing Spider-Man films but is nevertheless planning Sinister Six, Venom, and “mystery female” spinoffs.

Arguably, Marvel isn’t entirely immune to Marvel-Style Universe Syndrome either. In fact, it may be a victim of its own success. There’s a reason all the Marvel movies feel kind of same-y — they can’t really risk upending the formula at this point and sending a multibillion-dollar franchise careening off the rails. They can’t kill off popular characters because they might be needed for sequels. And every movie needs to leave some loose ends left dangling so the next movie can pick it up.

That’s not to say all of these upcoming films will be bad. And granted, some of the shared universe talk is just advance hype. The best laid plans will get thrown out the window if the first film really bombs. But that just makes it more irritating to see studios think three installments ahead while half-assing the very first entry. And it just gets harder and harder to get excited at the idea of shared universes when there are so many shoddy ones out there.

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