I’m on the edge of my seat, and in front of me is the menacing final beast form of James McAvoy’s Kevin Wendell. It’s a tour-de-force of acting, brilliantly brought forth. But then, it just doesn’t seem to end when it needs to, and then it happens. Bruce Willis, as David Dunn, just turns up and suddenly we’re in an Unbreakable sequel.

Un-freaking-believable! Split was great as standalone film up until that point, and we definitely didn’t need to establish a cinematic universe for M. Night Shyamalan. At this rate, I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if we got a Wes Anderson Universe, or even a Sofia Coppola Universe. Maybe we’ll see John McLane go against Jason Bourne? Or perhaps Judge Dredd x Robocop. I could go on, but it’s honestly just too sad.

Split was a great original film… and then came the reveal.

We probably won’t see the end of the Cinematic Universes anytime soon. Arguably, it’s on the rise thanks to the superhero giants Marvel and DC, and much like the superhero genre, Hollywood isn’t going to let go of this craze in a hurry. They have a tendency to pick a phase, pump out films, and then the fad loses steam for another phase to take its place. Just look at the Film-Noir phase of the 50s, and the Westerns of the 60’s, the 3D phase we’re currently suffering through. Old habits die hard it seems.

We probably won’t see the end of the Cinematic Universes anytime soon. Arguably, it’s on the rise thanks to the superhero giants Marvel and DC, and much like the superhero genre, Hollywood isn’t going to let go of this craze in a hurry. They have a tendency to pick a phase, pump out films, and then the fad loses steam for another phase to take its place. Just look at the Film-Noir phase of the 50s, and the Westerns of the 60’s, the 3D phase we’re currently suffering through. Old habits die hard it seems.

In their defence, Cinematic Universes can be great to see unfold, and in some cases, are absolutely necessary. Look at Star Wars, and the aforementioned DC and Marvel. These films have an extensive cast of characters that live in the same world, a plethora of events that work when linked up, and to see all these things reference and interact with each other is entertaining to watch. Who isn’t excited to see Iron Man, Star-Lord and Spider-Man all sharing the screen; or seeing all the great references in Rogue One… it’s exciting!

Some Extended Universes just work, but Marvel and DC have decades of stories and characters to draw from.

But sometimes, it just doesn’t feel right. The Shyamalan Universe, Transformers, the Dark Universe, they’re all prime examples of this. But why don’t they feel right? What is it that makes us groan in agony at the announcement of multiple films all entwined in a complex web? Well arguably, these Universes just seem forced. The characters are loosely linked, the events are shoe-horned together and made to work, and seem like it’d make better fan fiction than a movie experience. It also feels like we are being saturated by way too many. Look at Transformers; Paramount is potentially starting up a fourteen-film franchise with The Last Knight. 14 films! The Dark Universe releases its first movie The Mummy this weekend and is also stacking up a huge range of iconic horror characters (with Russell Crowe playing Dr Jekyll, Javier Bardem as Frankenstein’s monster and Johnny Depp as The Invisible Man confirmed) to all eventually share the screen.

Forcing things in films isn’t pleasant to watch, and I don’t want to be saturated with Extended Universes. People can’t keep up if they just keep pumping out these huge, web-like connected stories. And expecting audiences to wait for years just to see the complete set is a hard ask and not always successful. In the meantime, we’re all just gonna have to strap in and ride out this phase of Hollywood like any other, and with Cinematic Universes extending beyond 2020 (at least) who knows when that ride may stop. What directors and producers need to do in the meantime is understand the line between having a valid framework for a Universe, and just forcing films together that may work just cause. Moviegoers will actually relish the refreshing experience of seeing a standalone film!

So do us a favour Hollywood, give us exciting, original films that don’t require prior research to understand everything. And to us, the audience, let’s rally behind great original stories that stand firm on their own two legs. Maybe, just maybe, this phase will be shorter than we think.

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