It’s a commonly held belief now that the MCU has seen better days. Hell, that’s putting it lightly; the Marvel Cinematic Universe pretty much stinks, and even its successes like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 are tinged with a faint feeling of disappointment.
There are a number of reasons why: bad scripts, mediocre VFX, a general sense of narrative aimlessness, and too many variants and multiverses for anyone to follow while still keeping their sanity intact. Nobody knew for sure what the heck was wrong with the MCU exactly … until now. In a scathing expose, Variety’s Tatiana Siegel paints an illuminating and messy picture of a once-invulnerable studio besieged by a multitude of problems, both internal and external, that have tarnished its brand and have left many fans, myself included, jaded about its future. Among the many revelations are the following:
Remember The Flash, that now-forgotten 2023 would-be summer blockbuster that was hyped to be one of the best superhero movies ever and instead was a terrible movie plagued by endless reshoots and questionable test screenings? Well, Marvel may have its own equivalent in The Marvels. As Variety reports, the movie, which cost a whopping $250 million, had four weeks of reshoots and a middling test screening this past summer in Texas.
What’s worse is that the director, Nia DaCosta, already moved on to work another film while The Marvels was in postproduction. That’s simply unheard of for a director of a big tentpole, which suggests she either wanted to forget the experience as quickly as possible or Marvel wanted to retool it without her. Or maybe it’s something else altogether. In any scenario, the outlook isn’t good for the forthcoming Marvel movie.
Yes, you read that right. A show set largely in Los Angeles, with a small cast and a relatively low-stakes storyline, had a pilot that cost $25 million. That’s even more than an episode of Game of Thrones, which has to construct an entire world filled with dragons and incest out of thin air. What’s worse is that She-Hulk: Attorney at Law was generally criticized for looking cheap, “shoddy,” and not up to the usual Marvel standard. Ouch.
We’ve all seen the memes of the floating head from Thor: Love and Thunder and the numerous wonky shots from Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. And yes, part of the problem was the fact that many of the VFX artists were overwhelmed with work. But as Variety reveals, the problem stemmed from Marvel President Kevin Feige himself.
As one insider is quoted in the article: “The so-called bad VFX we see was because of half-baked scripts. That is not Victoria [Alonso, the recently fired head of VFX]. That is Kevin. And even above Kevin. Those issues should be addressed in preproduction. The timeline is not allowing the Marvel executives to sit with the material.”
Most people know by now the legal issues involving Jonathan Majors, the actor who plays Kang in Loki and other Marvel projects. What people don’t know is that Marvel has a backup plan: Doctor Doom. The Fantastic Four villain is seen as a logical replacement should Majors leave the Kang role or if Marvel decides to go in another direction.
It was inevitable that the original Avengers would return at some point. They are too beloved as pop culture characters, and too lucrative of an asset, to be shelved completely by Disney. And while a couple of them are technically dead (R.I.P. Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man and Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow), that hasn’t stopped Marvel from trying to make it happen.
While Variety cautions that the studio hasn’t locked down anyone yet, the fact that they are even considering it this early, just four years after Avengers: Endgame, is indicative of the chaotic, somewhat depressed state the MCU is in right now. Like Married with Children‘s Al Bundy, they want to relive their glory days already, and who can blame them?
Find out more MCU gossip, including news about the upcoming Blade movie, in Variety.
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