Marvel Studios has essentially become the next Pixar — huge budget films that are critically praised that leave a trail of dead bodies in their wake as they annihilate the box office. They’re not perfect (their fan service isn’t always on point) but they’ve done a lot of smart things that other comic books movies would do well to borrow. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like they’ve done that. Here are some of the lessons the comic book properties over at Fox and Warner Brothers might do well to observe …
Keep It Simple
Marvel movies start here, then they end here. Maybe there are twists and stuff, but they don’t have nine million different things going on at once. The Avengers is especially impressive in the way it fits all those big characters into one simple storyline. But Batman V. Superman … what does this thing have, nine different storylines? Batman fights Superman, but Lex Luthor is also there, and Superman is going to jail, and Wonder Woman shows up for all of nine seconds. Like, what the hell is this movie going to be about?
Have A Little Fun
As director of the original Iron Man, Jon Favreau doesn’t get nearly enough credit for creating the very delicate tonal balance of humor and action that’s so important to the Marvel film franchise. It’s fun, it’s jokey, but it’s still respectful of the characters and source material. Meanwhile, these new Fantastic Four movies, oh my God … should a movie about a stretch man, fire man, rock man, and invisi-girl seem so dour and self-serious?
This is where the WB and Fox franchises should have a leg up on Marvel — there aren’t a ton of particularly compelling villains to the film properties that Marvel owns. Loki ended up being great, but a lot of that was because of Tom Hiddleston’s really, really endearing performance. Jesse Eisenberg seems like a … strange choice for Lex Luthor, and Doctor Doom (an AMAZING villain) is barely even in the Fantastic Four trailers. The two X-Men Pre/Sequels still have Magneto, but he’s essentially an anti-hero at this point; Kevin Bacon was good in First Class, but come on, he’s Kevin Bacon. Of course he’s good. Emma Frost, though, was awful and, somehow, not even seductive. You have to hope that Oscar Isaac will break this streak once he plays Apocalypse, but I’m not holding out hope.
Marvel movies are way too long. I have bitched about this TONS of times, and yet no one listens to me. Can you believe it? I’m very important. But anyway, Batman V. Superman is sure to have some outlandish run time, especially for a movie whose ending we already know — Batman and Superman become friends and form the Justice League with Wonder Woman. I mean, don’t they want as many screenings as possible, so they can sell more tickets? I thought it was show BUSINESS, not show ME HOW LONG YOU CAN MAKE YOUR STUPID MOVIE.
The palate of these non-Marvel movies are just dark blues, greys, and black. These are about the most boring choices ever. Liven things up! Marvel has fun with it — Asgard is so colorful, the land of the frost giants is all vibrant blues and whites, and even the American Midwest looks beautiful in Thor. Enough with these muted blues and blacks; your dark colors aren’t fooling anyone, we know your CGI is bad.
Don’t Start With The Team
The Avengers is the third-highest grossing movie in the world. Ever. A big part of how Marvel accomplished this was properly setting up all of the characters involved, with Captain America: The First Avenger probably being the weakest of all the original movies. But it was still good. Suicide Squad, though, is just something that they’re throwing at us — there are so many characters involved, none of whom have appeared in any other movies before, so we’re going to have to sit through so much exposition explaining what the deal is with all of them. Also, it seems mildly blasphemous to introduce the Joker in a film that is not directly related to Batman.
6 Lessons Other Superhero Movies Should Learn From Marvel