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

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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.

  • 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.