Previously On…

With seemingly the entire film industry having contracted the plague of sequelitis, why don’t these endless franchises preface each installment with “previously on” montages, the sort popularized during television’s serialization epoch?

(By the by, should there be a comma between ‘previously’ and ‘on’? Help me out here, grammar po-po!).

A few weeks ago, I commented on the absurd length of Marvel’s new pre-movie studio card that’s more of a sequence; wouldn’t that time be better served functionally, reminding the audience of the essential plot points from previous movies in Marvel’s ever-expanding, interconnected universe that we need to know before proceeding any further?

Trust me, it wouldn’t take that long; very few of these spectacles rely on intimidate familiarity with what’s actually going on right on the screen in front of you, let alone what happened in years prior — they just need excuses to make shit go boom. At the very least, it could diminish the amount of unbearably bald exposition force-fed to us innocent souls in the opening minutes, and every time an old character returns. Shoving all of this boring backstory outside the film proper would avoid the need for these cumbersomely-executed diversions, and carving out a precise space to inform us uninformed folks could prove more explicit, and thus efficient, and thus effective. Plus, perhaps sufficiently jogging our memories regarding past character arcs could enhance the overall emotional effect of the pictures?

Unrealistic, I know. But a boy can dream…

In any case, some basic touchstones would be much appreciated to provide context for the ensuing mayhem, especially for those of us who can’t seem to remember even the bare bones of the preceding offerings in Marvel’s endless stream of churning out the same fundamental products, with one blurring into the next. It’s tough to recall individual entries when they get lost in a haze of artistic conformity, with corporate influence preventing any from bearing the memorable mark of personal artistry.

This suggestion/request by no means pertains exclusively to Marvel. I adored Fallout, but maybe I would’ve followed a bit more of the deliberately-complex narrative with a refresher on Rogue Nation, especially since the latest is the most direct sequel in Mission: Impossible history (plus, its origins as a legendary serialized TV series would lend this move some genre justification).

Ideally, sequels would stop being the norm. But if you can’t beat ’em, we might as well try to improve ’em!

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