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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 will change the way we watch the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies forever.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe (or MCU) is an impressive undertaking. It spans superhero franchises as tiny as Ant-Man to behemoths like The Avengers, weaving together everything from Dr. Strange and his mystic powers to Iron Man and his billionaire antics.
But all these various superhero sub-franchises share one pretty massive problem in common: Nobody of significance ever dies and then stays dead. Spoilers follow.
Playing it safe.
Okay, sure, they die a little. They are, at times, mostly dead. It just doesn’t stick.
Groot “dies” in Guardians of the Galaxy but he comes back as an even more adorable baby Groot by the end of the film. Loki “dies” in the second Thor film, only to be revived by the end. Nick Fury was only faking his death in Captain America: Winter Soldier. The list of fake deaths goes on and on and frankly it’s a massive issue for the MCU.
When deaths are always fake-outs, and no significant character ever really dies, we never find ourselves sitting on the edge of our seats. Nobody we care about will die, so why worry?
In Age of Ultron, Pietro Maximoff dies saving Hawkeye, but he’s a character who was introduced in that same film and who I think it’s safe to say, many viewers have completely forgotten about. If that movie wanted to really rock viewers and make the MCU feel truly dangerous, they would have killed off Hawkeye.
Instead, time and time again, the MCU plays it safe. Nobody really dies. Nobody really pays the ultimate price. And audiences never really have to worry, since every conflict, no matter how huge, will ultimately be resolved with a few bruises. Goons will die. Civvies will die. But our heroes, great and small, will remain unscathed.
CW’s DC shows have a similar problem.
This reminds me of a very similar problem that the CW’s DC Comics shows have.
Time and again, characters die only to be resurrected. To be fair, the CW has left a couple of its major corpses in the dirt, but you still never know. They could come back. Or some version of them from Earth 2 (or 20) might show up. Okay, some version will almost certainly show up.
The Flash uses every excuse in the book to bring back actor Tom Cavanagh and some version of Harrison Wells. Time travel makes any number of past or alternative versions of characters possible. Time travel plus multiple Earths pretty much negate the risk of anyone ever dying, which really takes the sting out of the show.
The Lance sisters have taken turns dying and coming back to life…
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