Film should not focus solely on cinematic universes

For the younger generation growing up in the 21st century of film, some may have noticed the recurring trend of movies connected to a specific universe.

The idea of a multi-film franchise that could potentially bring in millions, if not billions, of dollars has persuaded several studios to give it a try, with varied results.

In 2008, Marvel Studios took a risk by including a scene at the end of their blockbuster success “Iron Man” hinting at a potential future of superheroes meeting up in the same film.

Nearly 10 years later, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is still going strong, with over $13 billion in worldwide box office success so far and plans for future films through 2020 at least.

Earlier this year, Universal Pictures’ “The Mummy,” starring Tom Cruise, rebooted its classic “Universal Monsters” franchise from the early 20th century. The studio seemed so confident in its future for a cinematic universe that it featured the franchise’s new logo at the beginning of the film.

The film, unfortunately, received mostly negative reviews from critics and underperformed at the box office, leaving the future of the franchise uncertain.

In looking at this phenomenon, it is understandable why so many studios have chosen to try this out. A collection of films with different plots, tones and characters that eventually interact with each other is fun to see, keeping fans eagerly waiting on the next installment.

In fact, shared universes on the big screen are not a new concept.

As mentioned before, the “Universal Monsters” franchise proved popular with audiences in the early 20th century, bringing iconic monsters like Dracula, the Wolf Man and Frankenstein’s Monster to life.

However, even though there are worthy tales that should be brought to film and connected, this does not mean every movie in Hollywood should be part of a cinematic universe.

If one were to look at the films nominated in the Oscars, there is no way to connect even half of the movies listed, as they are all their own production.

Films do not win praise because they are in a shared universe, but rather because they are beautiful pieces of visual art. Besides the multiple connected films Hollywood brings out every year, there are plenty of independent films that have their own unique stories and ideas that receive love from fans and critics.

There are several film students in UNA’s Department of Communications, and each one of them has their own vision, which is what Hollywood always needs to keep.

If one feels pressure to change a vision into a shared universe of films, he or she should remember that a vision belongs to the person who created it, and, no matter if it does not match a current film trend, this does not mean it could not end up being a masterpiece.

Also, if a studio wants to adapt a potential franchise that one feels is only being created to make money and not to show off an artistic vision, speak up. A post on social media can say a lot in today’s world. And, if enough people rally behind it, who knows whose attention it might catch?

Even though there is nothing wrong with cinematic universes, moviegoers and wannabe directors should not forget the endless possibilities of film.