New Video Essay Tackles Marvel Studios And Their “Ugly” Films

maxresdefault

Marvel Studios are the most dominant force in the superhero-film industry. With their latest release, Doctor Strange, breaking $500 million worldwide over the weekend, and incredible reviews, it is hard to argue against the studio’s dominance. However, one of the most frequent criticisms from cinema goers in regard to these movies, has to do with how they look. When Joss Whedon’s Avengers hit theatres in 2012, comments on every forum complained about the movie’s “TV-like look,” and since then, Marvel Studios has struggled to generate gorgeous movies.

In their defence, Doctor Strange was one of the coolest looking films I have ever seen. So, they are not that bad. In a new video essay published by Patrick H. Willems over on his YouTube channel, the author tackles why Marvel’s movies are “kind of ugly.” Where DC Comics and Warner Bros’ DC Extended Universe is not off to the best of starts in regard to the quality, it is genuinely difficult to fault the visual appeal of those movies.

You can check out the essay below:

Personally, I cannot regard any Marvel movie as “ugly.” When I think of gross-looking movies, I think of the films starring Adam Sandler; now that is an ugly motion picture. But what do you guys think? Do you think Willems is just looking for something to complain about, or does he have a point?

Doctor Strange is in theatres now.

Source: YouTube

Roby D'Ottavi

Roby D'Ottavi

Just a young writer hoping to become an old writer. From the land Down Under; no, I don't know Jai Courtney.

  • Daniel

    This is a clear example of pro-Marvel bias. When critical points are made about Marvel films they are placed in “quotation marks” signifying that the criticism isn’t actually valid. Yet when critical points are made about DC films (“Where DC Comics and Warner Bros’ DC Extended Universe is not off to the best of starts in regard to the quality”) they are made without using “quotation marks” signifying that such criticism is established “fact” and above reproach. It’s a bias.

    • Roby D’Ottavi

      You’re looking way too deeply into a few sentences.

      I loved BvS and enjoyed SS. I have no clue what you’re on about, but thanks for the read!

      • Rob

        I agree. I don’t think you did anything wrong. You introduced the premise of the video essay, you stated others in the past have voiced similar sentiment, and you claimed in one sentence that you disagreed with the premise. I didn’t get at all that you were dismissing or demeaning opposing points of view.

      • SAMURAI36

        He outlined it perfectly in his statement. Perhaps to the untrained eye, it’s not detectable. But as a writer myself, & one with an academic background in journalism, I see the tactics all the time.

        These articles (& not just on HH, but plenty of other sites too) the “writers”, who are mostly nothing but fanboy bloggers, lead in with their own opinions, instead of just reporting the facts. And most of the time, they are not even reporting facts, just recycling another narrative that they copy/pasted from some other biased fanboy’s article.

        For example, there’s an article up here on HH right now, about” How To Make The SS sequel Better”. So where’s the article on how to make the Avengers better? Cuz most people say that AOU was rather pedestrian. Or how’s about “How to make Thor better”? Cuz it’s all but unanimous, that both Thor films sucked.

        Nobody’s gonna write that sort of article, because it goes against the pro-Marvel narrative that’s been created.

        I could write a whole essay on this myself. In fact, cumulatively speaking, I’ve already done that, several times over.

        • Rob

          I swear to God that you DC fan boys are tin foil hat wearing conspiracy theorist nut jobs. There is no vast Marvel-Wing conspiracy going on. Roby stated he loved BvS and liked Suicide Squad.

          And it isn’t all but unanimous that both Thor films sucked. I don’t think most people think they were among the best superhero movies out there, but they got better audience ratings than BvS and Suicide Squad. And plenty of people in the media did pan Thor 2.

          You and your very small minion of DC fanboys sound like raving paranoid lunatics.

        • Axxell

          LMFAO! Sammy calling himself a writer…a guy who covers his ears when he hears an argument he can’t rebut.

    • Rob

      Really?!? I am sorry, but you DC fan boys are way too defensive. You are manufacturing a Pro-Marvel/Anti-DC agenda where there isn’t one.

      It is clear that the author of this article doesn’t agree with the premise of the video essay, but I don’t see him trying to dismiss or demean the opinions of that video essay at all. If he did, why would he write the article to draw attention to the video in the first place.

    • Axxell

      That’s because the criticism claimed here is coming from one guy; I’ve literally never before heard anyone else complain about Marvel movies looking ugly, save maybe for the people already predisposed to criticize Marvel.

    • Axxell

      That’s because the criticism claimed here is coming from one guy; I’ve literally never before heard anyone else complain about Marvel movies looking ugly, save maybe for the people already predisposed to criticize Marvel.

    • SAMURAI36

      Yep, I’ve seen this writing tactic being played out all over the internet, when it comes to the DC v Marvel paradigm. Marvel gets treated with velvet gloves, while DC gets treated with a spiked gauntlet.

      • Axxell

        If DC made better movies, maybe it’d be different.

    • Carl

      Well it’s because this is just one person’s opinion on high quality films. There is no fact there.

  • Darthmanwe

    SOme of the Marvel movies look like a tv pilot, and some others are visual masterpieces.

    I don’t honestly understand why Avengers looked so bad when I go back and watch it, in terms of lighting, not CGI, when you can obviously do superb lighting like they did in GotG.

    • SAMURAI36

      I’ve been saying for the longest, that Marvel films don’t hold up over time. That’s why their home video sales are nothing to write home about.

      • Rob

        Huh?!?

        Here are the DVD and Blu Ray Sales for some Marvel movies
        GOTG – $125.1 million
        Avengers – $233.2 million
        Winter Soldier $66.8 million
        Age of Ultron $77.4 million

        I won’t go farther just because it isn’t a fair comparison before that because more DVD and Blurays sold before digital downloads became more prevalent.

        Here are DC ones
        BvS – $65.2 million
        Man of Steel $109.8 million

        Marvel does just fine on video sales and their movies not holding up over time is your opinion, not fact.

        • Axxell

          LOL! All these guys say is based on feeling. Can’t even point out facts if they hit them in the face…SMH…

      • DoYouFeelInCharge?

        I agree to an extent, not a single MCU film has had the impact that Donner’s Superman films, Singer’s early X-Men films, Raimi’s SM trilogy or Nolan’s DK trilogy have had. All of those films were key in changing people’s perception of comic book
        films and helping to raise the bar for what they could/should aspire to
        be. Marvel studios has done one thing extremely well, they’ve become the equivalent of Coca-Cola in terms of brand awareness and being the “safe”, reliable choice. As long as Coca-Cola keeps churning out
        Coca-Cola and they don’t do anything to rub consumers the wrong way, they’ll continue to sell their product in mass. That’s why Marvel could probably sell people on a freakin’ Squirrel Girl movie at this point, it’s the brand that sells and the characters themselves are secondary to that.

        • Axxell

          And that’s why DC and Co. are trying so hard to copy their formula, right?

          • DoYouFeelInCharge?

            The idea of these characters existing in a shared universe wasn’t introduced by the MCU, it was introduced in comic books. So yes, Marvel has shown DC that it could work on the big screen, and unfortunately DC’s films will now be compared to Marvel’s. However this was simply a common sense move for DC, they had a massive head start and they blew it. They had a BvS and JL film in development for years and were too scared and/or confused to pull the trigger. Thankfully WB’s current CEO is not.

          • Rob

            A lot of the negative comparisons are WB/DC’s own fault though. They so desperately want to play keep up and rather than grow a shared universe gradually and more organically, they raced to get to where Marvel got in 6-7 movies in two or three.

            And yes, DC is trying to copy Marvel’s formula. Sure a shared universe is not new, but how it is implemented on the big screen is. DC tried to be different in tone, but copied things like teasing characters that will appear in later movies directly from Marvel.

          • DoYouFeelInCharge?

            I agree it was a bit rushed, but now that all of the players are on the field they can play the game and after JL they are getting back to basics with solo films and perhaps more origin stories like we’re getting with WW. Also the teasing of what’s to come is not exclusively a Marvel thing, it happens with every major franchise where sequels are planned.

          • SAMURAI36

            The only truly redeemable thing the MCU has/had going for it, is the shared universe aspect. If most of these MCU films were completely stand alone movies, they would have been viciously lampooned, by critics & audiences alike.
            But even now, the novelty of that is wearing off, because other franchises are creating their own shared universes, to varying degrees of success, so now it’s not a novelty that Marvel owns anymore.

          • Axxell

            Making a mega franchise that’s NOT a rushed attempt to throw a bunch of semi-developed characters at the screen…THAT’s still a Marvel novelty.

          • Axxell

            I find it hilarious you want to pretend the DCCU wasn’t a direct response motivated by the MCU. Call it common sense or whatever, but the fact remains that every other studio is stampeeding to make their own “shared universe” because of Marvel’s success. That’s arguably a bigger impact than any other comic book franchise in Hollywood history.

            PS: Your comment is also specially funny when you claim Marvel is like Coca Cola, feeding people the same formula, when you consider the fact WB/DC was giving people the same retread of Superman/Batman movies for decades…until they saw Marvel do it differently, of course…

          • DoYouFeelInCharge?

            Did you miss the part where I acknowledged that Marvel showed DC that the shared universe thing could work? You are comparing WB, a studio that’s been operating since the 1920’s under countless different regimes to Marvel studios which has only been in existence since 2008 and has always been under the creative control of one guy, Kevin Feige. WB’s CURRENT CEO Kevin Tsujihara is willing to take risks with these properties, and he’s doing just that. And I stand by what I said about Marvel’s films being formulaic, I’ll criticize DC just the same if they fall into the same pattern.

          • Axxell

            Did you miss the part where I acknowledged that Marvel showed DC that the shared universe thing could work?

            And yet here you are, blabbering that “not a single MCU film has had the impact that Donner’s Superman films, Singer’s early X-Men films, Raimi’s SM trilogy or Nolan’s DK trilogy have had”…or did I miss the part where you acknowledge that Universal, Paramount, Sony and more, are each bringing MULTIPLE cinematic universe projects…all thanks to the success of the MCU? Seriously, how many of those franchises you listed has ever had an impact THAT big?

            And what the he11 does WB’s time operating have to do with this discussion? Please tell me you’re not trying to come up with a weak @ss excuse, inferring that WB is at a disadvantage because of their age compared to the upstart Marvel Studios…LOL!

            If you wanna sit there and pontificate about how “game changing” WB are, you better show something more substantial than “he’s taking risks”, especially when Marvel just gave them the blueprint. You gotta show me where they nail it…and believe me, “nailing it” is the very last phrase I’d use to describe the DCCU; not when everybody (even the fücking actors themselves) are criticizing the end product. Call them “formulaic” or whatever you want; it doesn’t matter. Their reception speaks for itself.

          • DoYouFeelInCharge?

            Westerns were hot from the 30’s to the 60’s, every movie studio was making them…that’s how Hollywood works, a genre or a certain trend catches fire and everyone follows the money. Marvel obviously started the “shared universe” trend, I never denied that.They have made some good films, not taking that away from them either, but what real impact have they made beyond starting a trend? By the time Iron Man came along in 2008 the genre was already in good standing with critics, they weren’t thumbing their noses at CB films anymore, and you can thank the directors I mentioned for that.The reason I brought up WB’s time operating is because you are suggesting that the same guy has been running the show at WB for decades and didn’t want to do anything but “retreads” of Batman/Superman, when in fact there has been several regime changes over the years and the current CEO can’t be blamed for the past.

          • Axxell

            They have made some good films, not taking that away from them either, but what real impact have they made beyond starting a trend? By the time Iron Man came along in 2008 the genre was already in good standing with critics, they weren’t thumbing their noses at CB films anymore, and you can thank the directors I mentioned for that.

            Only Singer and Raimi get credit for bringing comic book movies to respectability; Donner’s Superman came years BEFORE the genre became a laughingstock, and Nolan’s Batman series came years AFTER the string of successes of Spiderman and X-Men.

            Having considered that, what “real impact” have those movies made beyond whatever achievement they have, because it seems it’s only fair to be just as dismissive of their accomplishments as you are being about the MCU’s…

            The reason I brought up WB’s time operating is because you are suggesting that the same guy has been running the show at WB for decades and didn’t want to do anything but “retreads” of Batman/Superman, when in fact there has been several regime changes over the years and the current CEO can’t be blamed for the past.

            I’m not blaming Tsujihara, not did I suggest he’s been running WB all this time…I’m blaming WB itself for their culture of being content with milking franchises as long as they bring money in. It was on the board of directors to name someone who could make full use of their IP portfolio and get those projects going, but it wasn’t until they saw Marvel’s success that they decided to bring someone else in, specifically with the directive of following Marvel. So no, I don’t blame Tsujihara for what WB did in the past, but he gets no credit either for “taking risks” on a proven strategy that was laid out in front of him.

          • DoYouFeelInCharge?

            Name a CB franchise prior to the DK trilogy that had a higher caliber of talent involved both behind the lense and in front of the camera. Chris Nolan is one of the highest grossing directors in history and no director of his caliber has touched a CB property since. Heath Ledger was the first actor to win a freakin’ Oscar for a CB movie performance and no CB movie performance has had a bigger impact on pop culture. These were films that EVERYONE had to see, not just comic book fans or action junkies, because they were great movies period, not just great comic book movies. You trying to downplay the impact of the DK trilogy proves you’re a Marvel fanboy clown.

            And I wasn’t suggesting that Kevin Tsujihara has done anything game changing with the DCEU so far, my “taking risks” comment refers to him sacking up and taking chances with obscure properties like Marvel. Anyway, I’m done with this discussion.

          • Axxell

            Who said anything about caliber of talent? AFAIK, the conversation was about whether the MCU has had a big impact on the industry…do you know what impact is? It implies an effect…a change produced by something.

            No one has denied the DK trilogy had talented people working on it, or that they were good movies. But what impact has it had on the industry, beyond temporarily ensuring the job of the people who desaturate the colors of WB/DC movies? Because from where I stand, it seems like it is WB is now working backwards with the DCCU and adding more color and life into their movies, like Marvel is known to do from the beginning.

            As far as Tsujihara, like I said, you can’t say you take risks when you’re doing something that is known to work…Marvel has already proven people are just as willing to accept new concepts in the lesser known characters, so what risk is he taking on, exactly? It’s not like they’re taking on a taboo subject…

          • DoYouFeelInCharge?

            The DK trilogy raised the bar for comic books, it aspired to be more then just a fun popcorn movie and changed people’s standards. Marvel has actually caused to genre to regress, because while CB films are now making more money then ever before, critics now shame any comic book film that forces you to think or feel something. Now those films are apparently too “self serious ” or too “pretentious”. I’m not saying Zack Snyder accomplished with Nolan did, or anything close to it, but he shouldn’t have been crucified for even attempting to. So if WB is in fact “working backwards” now to be more like Marvel, you can blame the idiot critics who have been fed the Marvel formula for so long that they apparently can’t remember the taste of the great CB films that came before the MCU. It’s not at all fair or reasonable, but it suits you Marvel fanboys just fine doesn’t it?

          • Axxell

            Nowhere in that paragraph do I see you explain how DK had an impact in the industry. You claim it changed people’s standards, but at the same time b¡tching about Marvel actually changing the industry instead. So you’re indirectly admitting the DK series wasn’t the big impact you first claimed it was.

          • DoYouFeelInCharge?

            Ok you got me TDK didn’t have as big an impact, it was just a great movie that set a very high bar and I consider that important. I consider it important that CB films aspire to be that good even if they fall short. I want real stakes, real ramifications for my heroes, real heart and emotion, and interesting villains. Marvel started a popular trend and made the industry super hero crazy, that was all them, that was their impact. I already gave them credit for that lol.

  • Brennan Klensch

    I have a background in Cinematography and Editing and this is one of my top complaints about Marvel films (if not THE tops); one of the only ones to escape this “look” has been Guardians of the Galaxy which is genuinely a gorgeous film and it’s one of my favorites. I loathe the sort of “vanilla” look of pretty much every other MCU film. Even Dr Strange

    • SAMURAI36

      Yep, most of Marvel’s movie content is bland & forgettable. Everything from the composition of music, to the names of the villains.
      If you don’t belive me, ask the next casual movie goers you see, to hum the theme song of Thor to you, or name one of the villains in ANY of the IM films.

      • Rob

        Can anyone hum the theme song to BvS or Man of Steel? Sure the scores suck for Marvel movies, but it isn’t like DC’s scores have been all that memorable.

        And I am sure people know Loki, Ultron, Winter Soldier, Red Skull, and a few other Marvel villains. But I am sure they probably forgotten Obadiah Stane, Malekith, and a bunch of other ones. I think Marvel has been a mixed bag on villains.

        But then again, if you ask most people who seen all the DC movies who are Faora is or who was the main villains of Suicide Squad were, most of them couldn’t answer.

      • Chris Schroeder

        Music wise, the theme from First Avenger is by far the best out of the MCU

    • Monty

      I’m in film school now. Our instructor actually talked about this in our digital film class. Now I’m wondering if this guy had our same teacher.

      • SAMURAI36

        Hm, I really wish it would get talked about more.

  • Keiran S-C

    the mcu has failed at almost everything in my books from incohenrent narratives, scripts, tone, character portrayal, love interests or actor chemistry and are a huge step down from Marvels old films. The MCU has the very rare film which is actually good such as IM1, WS’s narrative, and 80% of GOTG other than that i would say they have some of the worst directed and written films in superhero movies with almost identicle superhero personas in every film.

    The coulour gradient is the least of their problem :/

  • Carl

    Just a clickbait video taking a shot at the top dog. Ignore it.

    • Axxell

      Exactly…All of a sudden, almost a full decade after the first MCU film, now these out of nowhere “critics” are claiming the movies are “ugly” and that the soundtrack is “not memorable”?

      Color me skeptic.