Stephen King Isn't A Fan Of 'Barely Masked Gloating' About The Marvels Box Office, Offers A Theory About Why It's Happening

 The Marvels cast.
The Marvels cast.
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By Marvel Studios standards, Nia DaCosta's The Marvels did not have a good opening weekend. The last MCU blockbuster of 2023 earned less in its debut than any previous chapter of the ever-expanding franchise, and it has a lot of people questioning what the future holds for the brand and the genre. A lot of the conversation that has started is honest and earnest, but there has also been a mean-spirited response to the developments, and Stephen King is questioning why anybody would take pleasure in failure.

The author and avid Twitter user took to his account shortly after box office numbers broke on Sunday morning, and he pondered why coverage of The Marvels ticket sales was coming packaged with a level of spitefulness. Admitting that he is not particularly big on MCU in general himself, Stephen King wrote:

I don’t go to MCU movies, don’t care for them, but I find this barely masked gloating over the low box office for THE MARVELS very unpleasant. Why gloat over failure?

So why has The Marvels been the recipient of this disrespectful attitude? It's a fair question, if not particularly because online metrics suggest that the film has gotten an overall positive response from those who have seen it. With "fun" frequently utilized as an adjective in reactions, 63 percent of critics on Rotten Tomatoes have given the Marvel blockbuster a positive rating, and that's been matched with an 84 percent audience score. Surveys from CinemaScore delivered a "B" rating from the opening weekend.

Marvel Cinematic Universe releases in general have always been a target of some movie-goers with iconoclastic perspectives on blockbusters, and one can't ignore that The Marvels features a diverse cast of stars and is directed by a black woman  – but Stephen King pondered in a follow-up post if the response is also at least partially due to schoolyard-level sexism:

Some of the rejection of THE MARVELS may be adolescent fanboy hate. You know, "Yuck! GIRLS!"

The Marvels isn't the first Marvel Studios film to center on a female lead, as the movie comes after Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck's Captain Marvel and Cate Shortland's Black Widow, but it is the first title in the franchise to center on three female heroes (Brie Larson's Carol Danvers, Teyonnah Parris' Monica Rambeau and Iman Vellani's Kamala Khan) and also feature a female central antagonist (Zawe Ashton's Dar-Benn).

As I wrote in my CinemaBlend review of The Marvels, there are lacking and messy elements of the film, and it's easy to point to flaws in its story, but the adventure is more about the characters than the plot, and it succeeds as a result. The complicated dynamics between the heroes is both emotional and delightful, and the three leads are wonderful together – with Iman Vellani being the effervescent MVP. It's a movie that's only going to earn more love and appreciation over time, especially when more removed from the baggage of box office and the ever-building future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

To keep track of all things Marvel, check out our Upcoming Marvel Movies and Upcoming Marvel TV guides, and to stay up to date with all of the latest news from the world of Stephen King, head back here to CinemaBlend every Thursday for a new edition of my weekly column The King Beat.