Marvel Comics on Film

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Satori
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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#76 Post by Satori » Sun Oct 06, 2019 12:24 pm

movielocke wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 2:36 am
The marvel films are an auteurist product, just of Kevin Feige not of any individual director. So yeah, he takes some of the (let’s call it ) choreography away from the directors but that’s to allow him the flexibility to cast just about any director he wants so they can add value to the actors and writing that your michael-bay-type experienced hyper vfx directors do not add—and in this way, Feige isn’t locking himself into the dead ecosystem of “proven” hyper vfx directors, he’s leveraging the best of both world, above the line talent at working with writers and directors and below the line expertise at choreographing and executing the logistics challenges of massive complexity of a million interacting puzzle pieces.
I agree with this. Maybe we could make a historical analogy: the narrative portions of 42nd Street, Gold Diggers of 1933, and Dames are all directed by different people, but I think one could make a strong case that Bugsby Berkeley is the most important auteur. Like the Marvel movies, they have slightly different personalities based on the named director: Dames is a bit sillier, like some of Ray Enright's 30s comedies (he did at least two of the films in the Glenda Farrell/Joan Blondell B cycle), while Gold Diggers has more direct social commentary, which an auteurist-minded person might link to LeRoy's Fugitive From a Chain Gang or They Won't Forget. For all that, though, the spectacle portions of the film are consistent because Berkeley's numbers are the real attraction. Hence we don't think of these films as Enright, Bacon, or LeRoy films, but Busby Berkeley films.

We could probably expand this discussion to include many spectacle-based genre in which specialists are called in to produce the spectacle portions.

I haven't followed any of the kerfuffle over Scorcesse's comments beyond scanning this thread, but I suspect that a reasoned debate over auteurism and narrative spectacle is not the dominant form this discussion is taking outside this forum. On some level, I get why Scorcesse might be upset about people taking comic book movies so seriously, though. I wonder if his Marvel comments are actually displaced frustration at all the nonsense about the Joker movie, which seems to be an example of a comic movie that not only borrows extensively from his own work, but might in retrospect be seen as the moment in which the comic book movie has well and truly colonized our film culture: not only have they taken over the tentpole blockbusters, but now they are even winning international film festivals and being talked about as "dangerous, controversial" films like Taxi Driver was in the 70s.

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Mr Sausage
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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#77 Post by Mr Sausage » Sun Oct 06, 2019 12:31 pm

Murdoch wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 12:11 pm
Well, that's an unfair reading of what I said. This is what I get for jumping into a debate about Marvel movies, I guess.
Please don't play the victim. I mean what exactly were you trying to say, anyway?
RIP Film wrote:I’m not into these ‘this has always been the case’ arguments because they ignore a wealth of variables. This isn’t the 1940s where culture was limited due to the exclusive nature of publishing; we’re in the postmodern era where anyone can put out anything and opinions are generally far more tolerant. You watch anime exclusively and dress up like a ‘furry’? Ok.

Second, Lovecraft and pulp detective novels still aren’t considered ‘great literature’, they are valued far more for their stylistic choices and world building. I think a better example would be a movie like ‘The Thief of Bagdad’ from 1940, a colorful, swashbuckling adventure. A good time yes, of historical cultural merit, yet, but of questionable comparison to The Great Dictator or The Grapes of Wrath. We’re not talking about just popularity here, and this goes to the other guy who quoted me; we’re talking about a monolithic fan culture insisting these are great works of art, and any sense of sobriety is vacuumed from the discussion. People can appraise art any way they choose, the elitism in this whole discussion nauseates even me, but what I’m arguing against is the lack of free discourse. You should be able to offer a countering opinion and not be thrown under the bus; for something so popular you would think such comments just be dismissed, instead... and this is witnessed in Gunn’s tweet, there’s this feeling of persecution, which just isn’t in line with reality.
There's literally nothing in here that contradicts what Brian C or I have said. The nature of fandoms has remained pretty consistent across pop culture. The only difference I can see is that social media makes voicing your opinion and joining mobs a lot easier.

But what does any of this have to do with Marvel films? It's so annoying to watch this discussion get hijacked by various chicken littles every time it comes up.

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#78 Post by RIP Film » Sun Oct 06, 2019 12:52 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 12:31 pm
There's literally nothing in here that contradicts what Brian C or I have said. The nature of fandoms has remained pretty consistent across pop culture. The only difference I can see is that social media makes voicing your opinion and joining mobs a lot easier.
No you're trying to sweep aside actual rebuttals to your comments, and brand me under the general argument of 'people hate popular things', which I'm not going for. I also like how you think the advent of the internet is some deviation hardly worthy of mention, and that the fandom of Lovecraft and Raymond Chandler novels was anything approaching this.
But what does any of this have to do with Marvel films? It's so annoying to watch this discussion get hijacked by various chicken littles every time it comes up.
Why thank you. Why don't you, Mr. Sausage, tell us what this discussion is really about.

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swo17
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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#79 Post by swo17 » Sun Oct 06, 2019 12:56 pm

I think it's great and totally healthy that one guy thoughtlessly sharing his honest opinion in response to a simple interview question receives as much if not more internet outrage as the latest Trump atrocity

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Murdoch
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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#80 Post by Murdoch » Sun Oct 06, 2019 12:57 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 12:31 pm
Murdoch wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 12:11 pm
Well, that's an unfair reading of what I said. This is what I get for jumping into a debate about Marvel movies, I guess.
Please don't play the victim. I mean what exactly were you trying to say, anyway?
I think what I meant is pretty clear, but I'll bow out here. Call it "playing the victim" if you like, but I'm not interested in your antagonism.

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Mr Sausage
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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#81 Post by Mr Sausage » Sun Oct 06, 2019 2:08 pm

RIP Film wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 12:52 pm
Mr Sausage wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 12:31 pm
There's literally nothing in here that contradicts what Brian C or I have said. The nature of fandoms has remained pretty consistent across pop culture. The only difference I can see is that social media makes voicing your opinion and joining mobs a lot easier.
No you're trying to sweep aside actual rebuttals to your comments, and brand me under the general argument of 'people hate popular things', which I'm not going for.
Excuse me? The idea that I am arguing anything like "people hate popular things" is an absurd invention of your own.

As for your rebuttal, I don't see what it rebuts. I pointed out a consistent human behaviour. You claimed times were different and then moved on to a number of unrelated comments about the lack of free discourse, as you see it, in society. The brevity of my answer came from not wanting to linger on the fact that I found your argument incoherent.
RIP Films wrote:I also like how you think the advent of the internet is some deviation hardly worthy of mention, and that the fandom of Lovecraft and Raymond Chandler novels was anything approaching this.
This is the opposite of what I think. It's also the opposite of what you quoted me as saying. You can see that I attribute what you were complaining about not to any changes in human nature in the last eighty years, but to a change in the modes of interaction and expression we now have access to, ie. the internet and social media. I think the reaction to Wilson's articles is telling. Tho' dwarfed by anything we see today, it's balanced by the fact that people had to take so much more time and effort to voice their complaint, and without the promise of anonymity. And the one thing that got them out in droves was a criticism of popular culture. I can only imagine what Wilson would've faced if there'd been twitter.

To sum up: I see a consistent human behaviour that's been magnified and exacerbated by the internet.
RIP Films wrote:
But what does any of this have to do with Marvel films? It's so annoying to watch this discussion get hijacked by various chicken littles every time it comes up.
Why thank you. Why don't you, Mr. Sausage, tell us what this discussion is really about.
It should be obvious what I'd rather this discussion were about: film. Not vague and tangential complaints about how social media is ruining society, but films and what makes them good, bad, interesting, or not.
Murdoch wrote:I think what I meant is pretty clear, but I'll bow out here. Call it "playing the victim" if you like, but I'm not interested in your antagonism.
Seems like you came in here just waiting to get offended. And now you are. Over nothing.

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#82 Post by RIP Film » Sun Oct 06, 2019 2:22 pm

Mr Sausage wrote: Excuse me? The idea that I am arguing anything like "people hate popular things" is an absurd invention of your own.
You tell me it isn't implicit in your comments:
Mr Sausage wrote: It's not that I think the criticisms usually leveled at Marvel are wrong; I just find they are often overstated and take their proportion from the series' popularity rather than the films themselves.
E.G. people (like me) are ragging on Marvel because they are successful/popular.

Also, your reduction of my arguments into:
People love pop culture and they get defensive about what they love. The internet has merely exacerbated what was always there.
There's literally nothing in here that contradicts what Brian C or I have said. The nature of fandoms has remained pretty consistent across pop culture. The only difference I can see is that social media makes voicing your opinion and joining mobs a lot easier.
What Brian C said, btw:
This isn't "monoculture", it's just that people like popular things and criticizing popular things is therefore unpopular.
Anyway I have better things to do than get into a long winded discussion about Marvel movies.

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Mr Sausage
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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#83 Post by Mr Sausage » Sun Oct 06, 2019 4:03 pm

RIP Film wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 2:22 pm
Mr Sausage wrote: Excuse me? The idea that I am arguing anything like "people hate popular things" is an absurd invention of your own.
You tell me it isn't implicit in your comments:
Mr Sausage wrote: It's not that I think the criticisms usually leveled at Marvel are wrong; I just find they are often overstated and take their proportion from the series' popularity rather than the films themselves.
E.G. people (like me) are ragging on Marvel because they are successful/popular.
I had a feeling you'd not only quote the above, but would strategically leave out a key part. Let's quote the thing in full, with an important part bolded:
Mr Sausage wrote:It's not that I think the criticisms usually leveled at Marvel are wrong; I just find they are often overstated and take their proportion from the series' popularity rather than the films themselves. This is also the case when they're overpraised.
So I'm being even handed, not holding one side more responsible than the other. In addition, I outright admit that the usual criticisms of Marvel are legitimate, which is hardly a position I'd take if I were merely going to claim that people only hated Marvel because they're popular.

I think the problem here is: my argument is nuanced, and you've long left nuance behind. Anger and outrage is the clearest thing I get from your posts. And that's too bad, because what I'm saying is more complicated than that "people hate popular things" and deserves a better reaction than you've given it. My argument is that the intensity with which both sides are making their claims is more a result of the large cultural effect of the films than the actual aesthetic merits of what's being praised or blamed, but that nevertheless the content of their praise or blame is worth taking seriously. In the process, I've been careful not to villainize either side, whereas many here are content to lambast Marvel fans for all sorts of crimes, from creating monocultures to destroying the free exchange of ideas to seemingly every other social ill arising from the internet.

Also, why do you assume I include you among those who overstate their case? I'm not sure what you think of Marvel films or what the tenor of your criticisms are, so I don't see how you can be so confident about my opinions of you. And I wrote my post well before you'd even entered the discussion, too, which makes your reaction even weirder.
RIP Films wrote:Also, your reduction of my arguments into:
People love pop culture and they get defensive about what they love. The internet has merely exacerbated what was always there.
There's literally nothing in here that contradicts what Brian C or I have said. The nature of fandoms has remained pretty consistent across pop culture. The only difference I can see is that social media makes voicing your opinion and joining mobs a lot easier.
Jesus Christ, dude. Those are my arguments, not descriptions of your arguments. How are you having so much trouble following this conversation?
RIP Films wrote:Anyway I have better things to do than get into a long winded discussion about Marvel movies.
Sadly, you also seem to have better things to do than make proper coherent arguments.

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#84 Post by RIP Film » Mon Oct 07, 2019 10:21 am

Mr Sausage wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 4:03 pm
Sadly, you also seem to have better things to do than make proper coherent arguments.
Let me rephrase that, I have better things to do than argue with Mr Sausage.

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TwoTecs
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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#85 Post by TwoTecs » Thu Oct 10, 2019 10:44 am

knives wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 11:12 am
TwoTecs wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 7:15 pm
knives wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 5:15 pm
What does that even mean?
What does what mean? I thought it was pretty clear. Scorsese is making an auteurist argument. He is not saying there aren't scenes of emotion in the films but he is saying that these films don't reveal much about the filmmakers.
If that's the case then he's making, or you're making for him, an even more bizarre argument then I first assumed. Firstly, who cares if something is auteurist? Casablanca is a beautiful and great film while having no real author while L'eau à la bouche is awful even as it is authored by one person. Quality is not determined by directorial authorship.

In any case though to say that the Marvel movies have no author is plainly absurd. Kevin Feige as producer has clearly thought through and developed these films as their author. Sometimes he has co-authors such as the case with Whedon, Gunn, and Rudd but two authors doesn't lessen the authorship of the primary author. So, even if we were to be insane enough to say that a film can't be good without authorship the Marvel films do have a unifying artistic voice behind them with the films revealing things about Feige. Just because these films are Agatha Christie and not Patricia Highsmith doesn't void them of artistic worth.
As Feige is not the director, he technically cannot be the auteur. and what exactly do the films reveal about Feige? He certainly seems much smarter than movies themselves. His personality is revealed more in the conditions of the productions than the productions themselves. MCU is more like Franklin W. Dixon than Agatha Christie.

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#86 Post by domino harvey » Thu Oct 10, 2019 10:56 am

Selznick was the real auteur of most of the films he produced, and the only reason an outlier like Rebecca doesn’t primarily bear his fingerprints is because Hitchcock cleverly worked out a system to minimize his impact

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#87 Post by therewillbeblus » Thu Oct 10, 2019 10:58 am

I believe knives and others have argued that auteur theory can be stretched beyond the director. In many cases, producers feel fitting for the label even within the same ballpark as a director or moreso, such as Val Lewton, and even when looking at modern comedies- rarely thought of as auteurist vehicles- people like Judd Apatow (despite not liking his work) weave a more consistent thread through his produced films than the directors often do themselves. Feige and the people at Marvel seem to me to be the clear authors of the franchise, regardless of small variations between films in quality and content initiated by directors, screenwriters, etc. However, it's worth noting that they have been influenced by various filmmakers (i.e. see 'silly Thor' in the later films) to swing their direction, which kind of pokes a hole in the auteurist argument for Marvel for me, even if the primary authorship still belongs to the execs at Marvel Studios.

Edit: domino said this more succinctly.

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#88 Post by TwoTecs » Thu Oct 10, 2019 11:16 am

They may be the controllers of the films who have veto power but they certainly are not auteurs. Auteur theory does not just apply to modern auteurs who have a great amount of control but also to directors who were expressing themselves in the studio system. Auteur theory, as conceived by Sarris, in no way considers Feige an auteur. He is more the circus master.

You guys are not talking about the auteur theory but instead the word "author", and seeing who it applies to in this situation.

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#89 Post by domino harvey » Thu Oct 10, 2019 11:23 am

I’m well aware of what the auteur theory is— know your audience, dude. What you are seeing is a major flaw in the theory that has been well known for as long as it’s existed, namely that many directors lauded as having singular vision in fact are operating at the behest of a more influential and powerful producer, and while there are traits and marks of commonality, the studio system is always where the auteur theory falls apart when presented with any real scrutiny because the modes of production don’t allow for the kind of romantic fantasy the proponents further. Like most critical approaches to film, there are aspects that fit well universally and those that are awfully subjective/debatable, but a case like Selznick is kind of hard to get around with any credibility

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#90 Post by Dr Amicus » Thu Oct 10, 2019 11:28 am

IIRC, doesn't one of Robin Wood's articles make a similar argument - one of his examples being that the auteur of The Big Country was Jerome Moross.

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#91 Post by Nasir007 » Thu Oct 10, 2019 12:18 pm

Auteur theory is A theory. Like Standard Model. Like General Relativity. None of them work in absolutely every conceivable scenario. But the theories work.

The auteur theory is one way to look at cinema. There can be others. People will have a different view of it etc etc.

There aren't any right answers here. Just answers.

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#92 Post by Brian C » Thu Oct 10, 2019 12:42 pm

Nasir007 wrote:Auteur theory is A theory. Like Standard Model. Like General Relativity. None of them work in absolutely every conceivable scenario. But the theories work.

The auteur theory is one way to look at cinema. There can be others. People will have a different view of it etc etc.

There aren't any right answers here. Just answers.
You’re describing a similarity to the theory pf general relativism, not general relativity.

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Mr Sausage
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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#93 Post by Mr Sausage » Thu Oct 10, 2019 2:30 pm

The members on this board tend to fall back on the auteur theory to talk about showrunners. If the studio system analogy isn't doing it for you, why not think of Feige's role in terms of a tv showrunner?

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#94 Post by knives » Thu Oct 10, 2019 3:03 pm

Dr Amicus wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 11:28 am
IIRC, doesn't one of Robin Wood's articles make a similar argument - one of his examples being that the auteur of The Big Country was Jerome Moross.
Likewise the Twilight Time for Left Hand of God had an interesting article about its producer as auteur citing his life long obsession with the pacific islands in particular.

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#95 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Oct 10, 2019 3:05 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 2:30 pm
The members on this board tend to fall back on the auteur theory to talk about showrunners. If the studio system analogy isn't doing it for you, why not think of Feige's role in terms of a tv showrunner?
How about Harvey Weinstein, then? How far out from the actual process of being creative do you have to be before you stop getting credit for the creation? I don't see Daniel Lupi and JoAnne Sellar going around saying they're the showrunners of PT Anderson's career output.

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#96 Post by knives » Thu Oct 10, 2019 3:11 pm

They might be an influence. Look at Woody Allen. He's clearly the big voice in his movies, but his long term crew, in particular Jack Rollins, are a major part of his sustained career and changing voice. To run with what was said above they can be seen as the source to Allen's silly Thor even as Allen has run away with the idea.

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#97 Post by domino harvey » Thu Oct 10, 2019 3:13 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 3:05 pm
Mr Sausage wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 2:30 pm
The members on this board tend to fall back on the auteur theory to talk about showrunners. If the studio system analogy isn't doing it for you, why not think of Feige's role in terms of a tv showrunner?
How about Harvey Weinstein, then? How far out from the actual process of being creative do you have to be before you stop getting credit for the creation?
That’s an interesting point. Weinstein seems best understood, at least in the films most closely associated with him, as more an example of curation— in his own way he’s closer to an Henri Langlois-esque celebrator and furtherer of films (with Oscar bait replacing, you know, the good stuff Langlois dealt in). I don’t think I’ve ever heard Weinstein argued as an auteur, but saying a film had Weinstein’s mark or name on it was certainly treated in a not dissimilar way (and we see traces of this in how A24 films are seen and received, which is giving us a recognizable variant of what was known as a studio’s “house style” despite drastically different modes of production)

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#98 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Oct 10, 2019 3:25 pm

Paraphrasing from some recollections of him since his... legal troubles: Apparently the one thing that would set him off and make him angrier than anything else is when people would imply that he wasn't a filmmaker, or part of the creative process of making the film. Some think one of the reasons he would always insist upon cuts and re-edits is so he could make some sort of mark on the final product, not because it would make the film measurably better

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#99 Post by domino harvey » Thu Oct 10, 2019 3:29 pm

I mean, he was called Harvey Scissorhands for a reason, but I always took it as evidence of him feeling like Selznick in that he believed he knew best what his intended audience wanted, though that doesn’t preclude him also feeling like an artist in the process of making his notorious elisions

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Marvel Comics on Film

#100 Post by Mr Sausage » Thu Oct 10, 2019 3:44 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:
Mr Sausage wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 2:30 pm
The members on this board tend to fall back on the auteur theory to talk about showrunners. If the studio system analogy isn't doing it for you, why not think of Feige's role in terms of a tv showrunner?
How about Harvey Weinstein, then? How far out from the actual process of being creative do you have to be before you stop getting credit for the creation? I don't see Daniel Lupi and JoAnne Sellar going around saying they're the showrunners of PT Anderson's career output.
I can’t speak to Weinstein; I don’t know much about what he did as producer. Nor the other two you mentioned. But I don’t think any of them were responsible for creating and principally guiding a series, so I don’t see how they’re better points of comparison than tv showrunners, whom I still think Feige more closely resembles.

Anyway, Marvel’s an interesting case in how it allows for and then subsumes auteurs. Marvel recapitulates the original conditions that birthed the auteur theory, namely in how it’s principally run by a producer and has a house style that directors and other creators are subordinated to, but there are a handful of directors able to impose their own personality on their films (Whedon, Gunn, and especially Waititi). Here’s the interesting part: rather than those instances of personal touch being outliers, like Hitchcock’s work for Selznick, Marvel ends up incorporating their directors’ personalities into their house style so that they becomes in effect Marvel. Part of it is choosing directors whose quirks already fit Marvel’s style (they love irreverent humourists), the other part is being willing to adapt themselves to what works in a director’s voice. It’s hard to remember that Gunn’s choices, for instance, were against the grain, they seem so quintessentially Marvel now. And Waititi’s humour was so embraced that Marvel’s kept his idiosyncratic version of Thor. Soon enough we’ll think of him as just Marvel’s Thor and not Waititi’s creative invention.

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