Mark Ruffalo: There aren’t too many Marvel movies, but ‘Star Wars’ is repetitive

The last Marvel movie/project I watched was The Eternals. I liked it and I mostly watched it for Angelina Jolie and Gemma Chan, and to support Chloe Zhao’s transition to MCU director. Since I don’t live and die by Marvel storylines, I just viewed it as a stand-alone story and they did an okay job explaining some of the backstory for us MCU tourists. Obviously, I’m well aware that Marvel dominates film and television these days. As an entertainment consumer, I kind of tune it out because, again, I don’t live and die by MCU stuff. Of course I’m aware of just how much there is nowadays, and how repetitive, ubiquitous and oversaturated most of these f–king comic book universes have become. Have we reached the tipping point of “too much Marvel”? I don’t know. Some people think so. Mark Ruffalo disagrees though.

Are there too many Marvel movies and TV shows? “Lost” and “Watchmen” showrunner Damon Lindelof recently said he’d like to see fewer Marvel movies made so that “each one that [comes] out [feels] a little bit more special,” but Marvel stalwart Mark Ruffalo isn’t too concerned. The actor is reprising his role of Bruce Banner in “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law,” one of nearly a dozen MCU TV series that have launched on Disney+ in less than two years. Ruffalo doesn’t think Marvel’s output needs to be capped.

“It’s not something I worry about,” Ruffalo said when asked by if there was too much Marvel content. “I understand that these things run their course and then something else comes along. But the thing Marvel has done well is that, inside the MCU, just as they do with comic books, they let a director or an actor sort of recreate each piece to their own style, their likeness. Marvel generally lets them bring that to the material.”

To prove his point, Ruffalo threw a bit of shade at the “Star Wars” universe. The actor said, “If you watch a ‘Star Wars,’ you’re pretty much going to get the same version of ‘Star Wars’ each time. It might have a little bit of humor. It might have a little bit of different animation. But you’re always, really, in that same kind of world. But with Marvel you can have a whole different feeling, even within the Marvel Universe.”

Marvel has released two movies this year (“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” and “Thor: Love and Thunder”), with a third and final feature, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” set to open Nov. 11. The Ruffalo-starring “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law” marks the third Marvel series of the year, and there’s still the “Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special” to come. That’s seven different Marvel entries in one year. As for 2023, Marvel has four movies set for theatrical release, including “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” and “Blade,” and there are potentially six or more Marvel series on the way in those 12 months, including “Secret Invasion” and “Loki” Season 2.

[From Variety]

I think Ruffalo is right that Star Wars movies were oversaturating the market… which is why Disney revised their Star Wars strategy after Solo flopped in 2018. They have vague plans to do more Star Wars movies in the coming years, but I think taking a five/six year break from the movies was probably one of the smartest moves ever from Disney/LucasFilm. Plus, they kept playing with Star Wars properties, they just did it on TV/streaming. The Mandalorian was a huge success for Disney+. Andor is probably going to be huge. Was Obi-Wan Kenobi huge? I’m not sure.

Back to Marvel… yeah, I think Marvel has grossly oversaturated the market with MCU franchises, but until those movies start flopping at the box office, nothing will change. As long as Marvel movies break records every time they open, Marvel will continue to do this. Obviously, there is a market for everything MCU. Will that always be the case? I do not know. (And just to be fair, I also hate that they keep endlessly rebooting the DC Universe too.)

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

40 Responses to “Mark Ruffalo: There aren’t too many Marvel movies, but ‘Star Wars’ is repetitive”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. smegmoria says:

    I dont watch either anymore. But I will never forget being three years old in the movie theater and seeing Billy Dee Williams the first time. Try to tear away your eyes.

    • Jen says:

      Right there with you Smegmoria. I still remember the sound my grandmother made every time Billy Dee entered a scene. 😜

  2. Jo says:

    I mean, easy opinion to have as apparently it tracks.
    I am all for having a bit of everything. The problem with Marvel is the same with pop music: you have huge teams of people working on what has to be a flawless product (which most often than not becomes a vanilla hit) rather than an artwork. Sometimes it is that rare gem that achieves something, such as Rihanna’s last album or Thor Ragnarok but most times it’s easy entertainment.
    The only thing I ask is: while we’re putting all this time, money, energy and talent into these, is there anything left for great indie films and music? In London indie films are at the BFI, a few Curzons and then museums. I still remember French and Italian, or Mike Leigh films staying ages in the cinemas. Not anymore.
    I bought a ticket for a new Brazilian film for my daughter’s birthday yesterday (lots of prizes and festivals) that I came across by chance in the program of a museum. The great democratization of culture is being ransacked by by ultra capitalist mechanics and we are letting them. (And funnily enough this film is about a group of girls who take power into their own hands, like favela superheroes).

  3. Lala11_7 says:

    Honestly…my enjoyment of Marvel movies started waning with ‘Black Panther”…which was underwhelming to me….I don’t appreciate what they did to Black Widow…and watching the Eternals & the last Dr. Strange movies are….Meh…and Letitia Wright being involved in BP2 is a DEFINITIVE “No”…for me….and the last Thor movie? 😒 I guess what I’m saying is that I’m over MCU & Star Wars at this point…and for a HUGE part of my childhood & teens…both of those entities WERE EVERYTHING TO ME!

    • StellainNH says:

      Since Disney sunk its teeth into both franchises, I stopped watching both. There s an oversaturation of both and it’s a little much.

  4. ChewieNYC says:

    The problem with Star Wars is it COULD have done an amazing extended universe situation like Marvel if it had kept all of the canon from the books written over decades. There were so many amazing story arches that played off of the original movies and characters. Disney/Lucas did the franchise dirty by wiping all that away for their own storylines.

    • michyk says:

      i totally agree with this assessment. this was the biggest mistake they could have made, and they did. i get maybe going through what was already done, and being ‘choosy’ about what to keep, but to just get rid of all of it was a huge mistake, and a slap in the face to so many creators who did amazing work. i kind of hate what dave filoni has done to star wars-he’s the one pushing all this bad tech, too: replacing puppets and actors and even voice actors with AI. some of it’s so bad. i mostly like what jon favreau has done with work in the franchise, and i wonder how much of a role he had to play in getting rid of canon.

      i am SUPER excited to see andor. diego luna is: chef’s kiss, and i saw an interview with the director (producer? both? i don’t remember) about how they are using small effects and actual sets and locations to shoot. the trailers look amazing.

      and a strong agree with everyone saying rogue one was great, hands down my favorite star wars movie. seeing motherf***ing donnie yen in a star wars movie was something i never thought i’d see, and it was amazing.

      • ChewieNYC says:

        I’m just hoping Disney decides to do an X-Wing series based off the books. Those were by far some of the best stories and may still be able to fit into their new direction. I also really enjoyed Rogue One. A great example of focusing off the main characters.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      I totally agree about the expanded universe – so much amazing material there, esp when it came to setting up a next generation of Jedi. But they have been dipping into it for plot lines, Kylo Ren is pretty much Jacen Solo and they are introducing Grand Admiral Thrawn into the series (I don’t recall him being mentioned in any of the Trilogies).

      I always hoped that they would have made a series out of the Yuuzhan Vong war – that was quite the story arc, particularly for a major original character.

    • harpervalleypta says:

      The extended universe they made in the books was *coherent*. Somebody kept track of all the story lines in books and comics, and so nobody was outright going rogue with plot lines.

      They don’t have anyone doing that now.

      I cannot believe that the sequel trilogy had nobody in charge. So movie one, Joss Whedon does his thing. Movie 2, Rian Johnson says, “I want to go in a different direction.” Joss Whedon comes back for Movie 3 and basically says that Movie 2 doesn’t exist.


      It was the old way of doing sequels (from like the 80s) when they only made sequels when the first movie did really well. That doesn’t really happen anymore, and if it does, they bring the first crew back! It was always going to be a trilogy, and so why wasn’t someone hired for all three movies!

      Marvel isn’t perfect, but at least Feige is In Charge. No director is making a movie saying that Spiderman is actually Tony Stark’s son. It’s at least coherent.

  5. girl_ninja says:

    I’m just looking to see what they do with Jessica Jones and Daredevil now that they’ve said that Disney will continue the series on their channel. I’m hoping they will be as great as they were on Netflix.

  6. TwinFalls says:

    I watched Obi Wan and loved it because I love Ewan McGregor. Not sure I would have otherwise.

    I generally like the MCU movies. Some stories more than others. I’m not a film buff. Right now, I just want to be entertained and MCU works for that.

    I think it’s kind of a pipe dream that if MCU wasn’t so big there would be all of this amazing indie content in its place.

    • L84Tea says:

      I really enjoyed Obi Wan, both for Ewan McGregor and because we got to see so much Vader. I thought it was a lot of fun.

      • Owlsyn (Ableism is Not Cool) says:

        I think Obi Wan would have worked better as a film (I heard that someone recut it in to a two and a half hour movie). On the other hand, Rogue One is an amazing movie even if you don’t like Star Wars or sci-fi, so I am interested in them expanding that part of the story as a TV show because I want more.

      • Becks1 says:

        I really liked Obi-Wan, I think its been my favorite of the spin off series. And I agree that Rogue one is amazing. I think the ones that tend to do better are the ones that tell a story that people want to know – like what did Obi-Wan actually do in the desert while watching Luke grow up? How did they get the Death Star plans?

        I’m not a MCU person. It’s just not my cup of tea. i agree that some of the Star Wars movies outside of the original (and best!) trilogy are repetitive, but I can’t even keep the MCU movies straight bc I think they’re so repetitive and frankly some of them are just stupid IMO, lol. there are some that I enjoy, I’m not a total hater, lol (I liked Black Panther a lot, I liked Shang-chi, I liked the first Dr Strange, not the second, that was a hot mess, and I liked Wandavision on Disney Plus.)

        But i don’t think you can say with a straight face that Star Wars is repetitive while the MCU movies are not.

  7. Esmerelda says:

    I do not agree with him about Star Wars: Rogue One had a completely different vibe from The Last Jedi, which had a completely different vibe from The rise of Skywalker – 4 movies in the Star Wars universe were directed by Lucas, and Kershner’s turn is widely held to be the best. The canonical series follows the story of one family, so of course it’s more cohesive – the TV spin offs have more variety, the clone wars is clearly a Filoni project, etc.
    I don’t think you can compare the MCU (different creators for the comic books, one producer with a vision) with Star Wars (one artist, Lucas, who micromanaged most things until Disney came along).
    And humor is not a Star Wars thing – it’s a MCU thing.
    I think streaming services and Disney plus have solved the issue of oversaturation: there’s a lot of content, for both, but if you’re not interested you can easily ignore it. From what I’ve seen, the theatrical runs are shorter, so I feel there’s more space for other movies now.

  8. Steph says:

    I don’t think it’s oversaturated nor do I find out repetitive. It’s a vast property with hundreds of stories to tell. Bc of that, there’s something for everyone. For example I don’t care for GotG so I ignore that but will watch anything with Bucky in it. I’m really excited to see how they incorporate the X-Men into the franchise bc they’re my favorite.
    DC- they need to just shelve their movies and stick to tv. They make great tv shows but can’t get it together with the movies.

  9. Mia4s says:

    For all its faults I vastly prefer Star Wars to MCU as Star Wars has maintained its sense of wonder. In Marvel the most incredible, stunning, world-altering thing will appear…and two seconds later some character has a quirky response or a snark. They’re not remotely affected. No wonder, all snark. It’s dull and, oh Mark, talk about repetitive!

  10. Snuffles says:

    I’m actually REALLY enjoying the Marvel Disney+ shows. It’s allowing them to deep dives into previously sidelined characters or take their time introducing new ones. I enjoy the world building. The shows have all been very different from each other.

    • LightPurple says:

      I loved the world building in Ms Marvel, a glimpse of world history and life in America that most Americans never see. And the Khan family is wonderful.

      I enjoyed Hawkeye, thought it was a fun romp with the Christmas theme, the LARPers, and the return of Vincent D’Onifrio to the MCU.

      And I can’t wait to see where Julia Louis-Dreyfus shows up next.

    • Flowerlake says:

      Me too. I already collected Ms Marvel comics and loved the show.

      She is such an important, but also fun character.

      Wish more people would watch/buy the comics.

  11. Beana says:

    I get so tired of the argument that there are “too many” MCU movies. That it’s not “art” (however one defines that). That it pulls resources away from indie movies (which are thought to be a “higher” art form). That, because it’s commercially successful, or because it’s colorful or child-friendly or licensed out the wazoo, that it’s too lowbrow to possibly enjoy.

    I think the MCU is successful because it is telling the kind of stories we have been telling for thousands of years – icelandic sagas, The Epic of Gilgamesh, The Iliad, The Odyssey – they told stories of gods with human struggles, or humans with god-like abilities, who had to wrestle with aspects of human frailty to overcome a challenge. We, the storytellers and listeners, told those stories, again and again, because they helped us understand our own inner journeys. The stories are universal, and will be told, again and again, throughout human existence, just changing the names and abilities to suit our lifestyles.

    And yes, those characters are from comic books with ridiculous-looking outfits and sometimes endless stories. But comic books were once pretty “indie” themselves. They were a place of creativity, where nerds and geeks (like myself) sought refuge in stories of outsiders who went on to do great things despite their experiences of exclusion and bullying. I love that the MCU’s movies have widely spread a message that difference is OK, that unique talents can be used to better the world, that sometimes the overlooked people have the most to offer.

    Like all movies, the MCU isn’t for everyone. They are commercially successful worldwide because they resonate with many people and tell the stories we want to hear and see. They become another mechanism for all of us to have broader conversations about our values and choices. And isn’t that a positive? Anyway, I spent to much time on this brief essay, I gotta go read about the new She-Hulk series.

    • Jo says:

      I’ll bite as I seem to be the only one who has stated what you are tired of, which I understand because I think, respectfully, that you are missing the point. I’m a contemporary art curator and I see how artworks are made – there are artist duos, but there are seldom art teams. It’s a more individual kind of creativity that is not audience tested and is usually beautifully flawed. The art world is in a crisis of its own, it is not, far from it, perfect. Bc of the press people think we’re juggling millions (I wish) but that’s neither here not there.
      Marcel films – to which I extend big budget films – are made by teams whose creativity can flourish but that correspond to a lot of market expectations and are driven by a lot of people’s racial and mysoginistic prejudices amongst others. As we have seen with Black Widow from what I read here.
      You can not believe numbers and facts, and be tired of this argument, but the truth is that in my city all « alternative » cinemas closed down. Accessibility is key.
      Ps: 1) yes, a lot of visual arts are crap / silly/ pretentious like books, films etc 2) I love some mainstream films like everyone else ET, Jaws, Mad Max, Thor Ragnarok, all the BBC ultra-formatted series etc.

      • Eurydice says:

        All films are made by a team. Does that mean they can never be art? Theater, opera, orchestral performances – all collaborative, can they never be art?

      • Beana says:

        Jo, my husband is an artist, so I want to clarify that I’m not tired of independent art in any form – especially independent filmmaking.

        I’m tired of the argument that commercially-successful art, including the MCU, is the reason why independent artists are struggling right now. I don’t think it’s a foregone conclusion that those indie cinemas are gone because the MCU became successful, just as I don’t believe that my husband’s art would automatically be more widely known if Jeff Koons wasn’t on the scene. I absolutely agree that there is a “baked in” element of capitalism that values certain art over others – in every medium – and thereby suppresses and inhibits all forms of storytelling. I’m with you that we need to create spaces and supports to change that, for the betterment of us all.

        The MCU is absolutely a large commercial enterprise that has been required in all sorts of ways to bow to the financial pressures imposed by political systems and other powerful groups. Of course, some of its stories have been problematic and that needs to be challenged. All I’m saying is that I still find it to be an incredibly enjoyable, beneficial expression of art that I believe has a role in larger social conversations.

      • Jo says:

        Oh how wonderful to know your husband is an artist. Mine is too. I feel that this is taking a more personal tone and perhaps we are taking up space for other discussions around the Marvel vs Star Wars universe but just a quick word to say that as a curator I am not that interested in the stratosphere Jeff Koons navigates in but I have to admit that a lot of the money (in Europe) is going for big museum productions such as his when it could perfectly go to artists who have never had a solo show in a gallery / museum.
        I too am all for whatever fiction people enjoy but I do find that less production and more variety would be nice in contemporary art and in films, even mainstream ones. That’s all. And also that we art and entertainment lovers, because we enjoy things, tend to be a bit too accepting. I mean I am talking about things we talk about amongst professionals. A friend of mine who is a chief curator in a big European museum complains that they only let he do exhibition switch big confirmed artists, so big museums cannot promote an artists’ career unless they have been validated by the market.

        @Eurydice yes, collective productions are art but they are usually based on one author’s libretto, composer, and most of the teams are either technicians or interpreters. Nothing like 20 people signing a Beyoncé song.

      • Eurydice says:

        @Jo – Maybe I sound nitpicky, but isn’t Yo Yo Ma an artist? Jussi Bjorling? How about Robert Merrill *and* Jussi Bjorling? Are actors not artists, or musical conductors, or film directors? Are they just interpreters? What’s the point of writing a stage play or screenplay or libretto or composing music, if it isn’t going to be performed by people who will interpret the words and notes for the audience? It’s the collaborative process, including the technical side, that brings the skeleton to life.

        And how are contemporary artists (or any other artists, really) not interpreters themselves? When I go to MOMA and find displayed a bookcase with 6 purple-bound volumes of Proust or a giant, stuffed McDonald’s hamburger, aren’t I seeing the artists’ interpretations of what they mean?

      • Jo says:

        Hi Eurydice, you’re looking at creativity from a really interesting perspective and questioning authorship! That’s fascinating to me. Let’s see. It’s not because I am say, adapting a book to cinema, so being the author of a film based on a book like Steve McQueen with 12 Years a Slave (which brings to the table film authorship, that I called indie as opposed to blockbusters) that I am not an author myself. Then there is the art of interpretation – but it’s simple. Without the pianist Maria João Pires, Schubert’s music would still exist. Without Schubert, none of his music exists. However, without very good interpreters the music would not come alive in the way it does. Still, without Max Richter there would be no Vivaldi’s « 4 Seasons reinvented » (nor The Leftovers soundtrack). You’re saying that without Vivaldi Richter wouldn’t have done that piece, but without Richter that piece would have never existed. You’re talking about what is called derogatory at times « derivative art ». But that doesn’t question authorship. And, by the way, there are artist collectives and there are curators who actively participate in the creative process. What we don’t have is the need to corresponds to pre-empted formulas and to public test art before it goes to museums.
        And also what I really really do not want to do is create a hierarchy. Authors are not better than interpreters. They are just at the beginning of the life of the artwork.

      • Eurydice says:

        @Jo – this is such an interesting discussion, it will probably go on forever. I may be looking through Proust-colored glasses in that he felt that art existed in some plane and the artist was a translator. I’m simplifying enormously and he wasn’t always consistent in this, but idea is that art is about communication. How can we know something is art if we can never experience it? It’s through artists/performers/interpreters/translators or whatever you want to call them that we can see and hear.

      • Jo says:

        @Eurydice Yes, these are endless topics!
        Proust did a lot to cover his sexuality and the fact that he was literally inspired by a lot of people around him. For instance, he wrote «Contre Sainte-Beuve » (Against Sainte-Beuve would be the translation I guess), as you know, to say that the author’s biography is irrelevant for the interpretation of their writing. But, now, there are now so many studies about his infatuation for his driver and his characters being snatched from his own family and surroundings. In those days, there were no helpful notions such as auto-fiction, so he did what he could to explain how he transsubstantiated his life into his writing. While also hiding his sexuality. He also wrote « Pastiches » which were texts written in the style of other writers to improve his craft.
        I agree with you that the mystery of creation is akin to a form of interpretation. But you have so many approaches nowadays. For instance the conceptual artists of the 1970s working with data, refusing emotional content, etc. Robert Filliou, one of those artists – he was quite out there – said that « art is what makes life more interesting than art ». Then you have Joseph Beuys saying that everyone is an artist! But I think this all comes from a deep love of both life and art, and a recognition that something else lived in you when you were creating something.
        And now I wanna read Proust!

    • Tessa says:

      I have literally never ever heard anyone have a conversation about our choices and values after watching a Marvel film. People see it as entertainment and don’t think that “everything needs to be so deep, why can’t we just enjoy it”. People who told Northern Sagas never heard of Gilgamesh and vice versa. They all essentially say and teach the same thing in a different setting. I don’t think anyone ever needed to hear them all. The stories you mention are essentially fairytales. While fairytales are important, they can’t be the only stories we tell ourselves, especially past a certain age. I think the state of our society partially reflects this desire to escape reality and be “just entertained”, without having the hard and “boring” conversations because they aren’t fun and don’t make us feel good.

  12. Owlsyn (Ableism is Not Cool) says:

    To quote a great film, “That’s just, like, your opinion man.”

    To each their own.

  13. A says:

    They’re the same kind of movie, essentially. Just one franchise has had a better plan than the other. But the idea that they’re so vastly different what’s happened to Star Wars can’t or won’t happen to Marvel is ridiculous.

  14. Wilma says:

    I like both the Star Wars and the Marvel universe. They’re good concept to tell lots of different stories with.
    That being said, they could slow down the output because it’s hard to keep up with everything.

  15. Arizona says:

    Star Wars can’t get out of the Skywalker thing, so they end up telling the same stories and connecting the same characters, and it does tend to look all the same (look ma, it’s another desert planet!). I enjoyed the Mandalorian the most, until they introduced Luke into it. Star Wars is SUPPOSED to be entire galaxies, and yet everything comes down to Vader, Luke, and Leia. 😴😴😴

    I enjoy that the Marvel properties are pretty different and tell a variety of character stories. they are all similar in a way, but can differ a lot in terms of style and substance – as long as you’re into superhero stuff. the shows in particular have helped.

    • Christine says:

      You nailed how I feel about Star Wars. I want to like it – but it’s literally just the same story told over and over. I wanted to like Obi-Wan, but it was SO BORING. The best things to come out of that universe since the reboot has been Rogue One and Mandalorian.

  16. Eurydice says:

    The only reason to compare Marvel to Star Wars is because of box office. Otherwise, they’re nothing alike.

  17. Case says:

    Why is he putting down Star Wars to prop up Marvel? For starters, there are 9 Star Wars films in the primary Star Wars saga so yeah, they have intentional similarities (for me, the core Skywalker family drama is the biggest draw to Star Wars, so I don’t mind this at all). The other output they’ve had, like TV shows, have been fairly different from the main saga.

    I am very much a Marvel fan, but half of their movies from the first couple of phases are the same origin story format over and over again. I love that the MCU is experimenting and branching out now, but a little self-awareness would do him good. Or even better, don’t compare different franchises at all, because they both provide value to those who enjoy them.

  18. The Recluse says:

    I like them both. I will watch them both. (I saw the first Star Wars at 13, in 1977. I’m an old school Star Wars fan.)