It’s a narrative that’s been around since around Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films. “Sure, the movies are good, but they do tend to feel kind of similar to each other.”
Honestly, as much as I love the movies, it’s a perspective that I share. In my eyes, they do a good change of changing the skin of a movie, but at the end of the day, said skin is laid over the same skeletal structure. Marvel Cinematic Universe films are usually very traditionally-told stories.
Speaking with Uproxx, Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige had a chance to address that criticism, and here’s what he had to say:
“I think it’s just the way we make the movies. I think all the movies are relatively different. I think there’s a narrative that people like to write about because they’re all produced by the same team and they all inhabit the same fictional cinematic universe. That we look for common similarities. And I’m not saying there aren’t common similarities throughout it, but I think Thor: Ragnarok and Spider-Man: Homecoming are two totally different types of movies. They’re both fun. People both enjoy them. Is that a similarity? If so, I’ll take it. If that’s a criticism, I’ll take that, too. But really, yeah, Homecoming, Ragnarok, Panther, into Infinity War, Ant-Man and the Wasp after that. And a ’90s-set Captain Marvel after that; these are six very different movies. If what they have in common is they’re all really enjoyable and fun to watch, then I’ll take it.”
Can’t say I fully agree. To me, on a surface level, these movies are often very different. Guardians is different from Iron Man in style, which is different from Spider-Man, which is different from Ant-Man. However, as stated above, at a deeper level, they share the same DNA in their storytelling style. The most different ones to me may perhaps be the second two Captain America films, though even those are fairly straightforward narratives. Compare it to stuff from the DCEU (not to hammer away on that comparison), where the stories are more narratively diverse. Sure, the DCEU doesn’t have the track record Marvel does, but I do think they’ve taken bigger narrative risks.
At the end of the day, I think the approach they’ve taken may be devoid of big risks, and tend to have very human-centric ideas that make them relatable to mass audiences. So yes, there is a commonality, and so long as they continue to change the skin of each film, they’re likely able to continue this success. As bad as it sounds that these films feel the same, to me, it’s not a bad thing, but what enables them to maintain that certain Marvel quality we’ve come to expect.
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