Originally Posted by commodorejohn
I don't buy that audiences are particularly enamored of the "connect the bits" aspect of these movies. (At least, not general audiences - certainly it means something to comics nerds.) From everything I've seen with my "normal" friends and family members, the appeal has everything to do with getting to see characters and/or actors they've come to enjoy watching in reliably entertaining movies and pretty much nothing to do with what the Big Plot Arc might happen to be; that stuff they mostly consider to be anything from a non-concern to a minor annoyance. (In particular, my mother has been getting a bit exasperated with the endless Thanatos teases and was actually relieved to see him having any kind of connection to the actual
plot in Guardians of the Galaxy
I completely agree.
Beyond the set-up to the Avengers, I don't think the Universe approach has been proven to get a***s in seats in and of itself.
I mean, it's not like the characters everyone wants to see, your Iron Mans, your Black Widows, your Hulks, exist independently of the puzzle pieces (the macguffins, etc) and vice versa -- where you find one, you'll find the over.
These movies would do just as well, and maybe even better, if they cut back on the serialized approach and told decent stand-alone stories. The MacGuffins can still be there but they can be introduced and explained in one movie instead of barely exploring what they are and saving it for the next film.
I don't think John Q. Non-Comicbook Fan really cares about the gauntlet, the gems, the cosmic cube, what have you -- they just want to see Cap and Iron Man battle it out. It's gotten so convoluted at this point, in both the MCU and the DCU, that I'm sure it's bound to be turning more casual viewers off the whole superhero genre.
I think the fastest way to improve these movies, irrespective of changing up the Universe approach, is to introduce some compelling villains.
We haven't had a decent villain since Loki and from what we've already seen, Thanos isn't going to cut it.