This has led me to the idea that the studio has gotten more liberal with their reins, allowing their filmmakers to take risks so long as they work within established sort of parameters. Given that the studio seemed to be sort of middling in the quality of their films during Phase 2, it led me to believe that it was more of a recent development, but is that the case? Speaking with Birth.Movies.Death, Feige responded to that premise, saying:
“We’ve had some examples that are very clear, but I think that’s always been the case. I think people had to digest the fact that there was an interconnected universe from a single studio, which sounded like a machine or a corporate thing, but we’re making movies now the same way we were then.
“The first Thor is very much Ken Branagh and the first two Iron Man movies are very much Jon Favreau. Captain America: The First Avenger is very much Joe Johnston, and Joss Whedon is entirely Avengers. So almost all the movies you could say that. As we continue to make movies and realize audiences are with us, we can go even further into something strange or funny or cosmic, that allows people like Taika and Ryan, and Joe and Anth, and Peyton to go even further.”
I’m not going to lie. I went into this story thinking I’d start to pick apart as to why it’s wrong, but I’m not sure I agree with myself anymore. Those examples are pretty spot-on from Feige, and while I’d call Incredible Hulk pretty generic overall, they were just finding their way, I could let it slide. Iron Man 3 was distinctly Shane Black, The Winter Soldier carry the staple of the Russo Brothers’ action, and Guardians of the Galaxy is as James Gunn as can be.
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The only ones that maybe rub me the wrong way are Thor: The Dark World, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and maybe Ant-Man. In retrospect, the reason for the first two is that they were the weakest to me, so perhaps I was rougher on them than I should have been, and Ant-Man seemed like a film that Peyton Reed executed just to get done. Now, with Ant-Man and the Wasp out, it’s clear that the bubbly style is just his own, but he likely pulled back a bit initially just so he could keep the project on-rails since he was a late addition.
In short, I wonder if I need to rethink my thoughts that Marvel Studios hasn’t been incredibly director-focused, but what do you think? Do you agree with Feige, or do you think it’s just lip service? I can see the argument either way, especially since Phase 2 is littered with the bodies of contentious creative disagreements. Let us know your thoughts down below!
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