The Marvel Cinematic Universe is easily one of the most groundbreaking achievements in the modern age of cinema, turning the work of comic books into a decade-long serialized story, allowing several independent franchises crossover with one another while still existing simultaneously. From Iron Man to Captain Marvel, this connected universe known as the MCU has changed blockbuster filmmaking forever, and it's quickly become one of the most bankable franchises at the box office. It's beloved and game-changing, but that doesn't mean it's without its limits. Yes, the MCU is mortal, and a new video explains what is holding the on-screen Marvel universe back from being even greater.
This video comes from Patrick Willems, who is known for breaking down cinematic tropes and trends on YouTube. In one of his newest videos, he dissects the shortcomings of the MCU. It's clear that he's still a fan of the films produced by Marvel Studios, but has become frustrated with the product from time to time.
The first issue Willems takes a look at in the video is that of the storytelling structure. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with the way the MCU weaves its stories together, but it lacks some of what the comics bring to the table. In the comics, we get several issues of character development between big events, while the MCU seemingly goes from event to event, while the lives of the characters we are supposed to care about go on mostly off-screen. Willems points to Bucky Barnes as a major example of how the MCU doesn't fully utilize its characters.
In the second segment of this video, Willems looks into the visual style of the MCU films, which have become very normalized over the past few years. As opposed to the striking visuals and camera work used in the early films, especially the two directed by Joss Whedon, the more modern Marvel fare has the same look from movie to movie. Even films with big color schemes like Thor: Ragnarok still utilize the common Marvel style. This extends specifically to Joe and Anthony Russo, who have become Marvel's go-to event directors. While they are clearly talented filmmakers, Willems points out that they don't exactly have a style of their own, and it leads to bland results from time to time.
Another piece of this argument looks at the heavy visual effects used in the MCU, and how they have taken away from a lot of the realism and excitement that helped create early success for the franchise. Prospective directors have even commented (as Willems explains) that Marvel told them "not to worry" about the action sequences, and that the studio would take care of those things. Willems goes on to show how utilizing directors that don't have any experiences with heavy VFX films can be an issue for these films.0comments
Whether you think the MCU movies are great or not, this video does provide a wonderful analysis of movie-making, and how Marvel Studios could potentially become even better in the years to come. It's definitely worth checking out if you've got the time.
Marvel's next movie, the highly-anticipated Avengers: Endgame, hits theaters on April 26th.