Marvel Comics on Film

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Brian C
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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#51 Post by Brian C » Sat Oct 05, 2019 4:25 pm

Never Cursed wrote:
Sat Oct 05, 2019 3:40 pm
But that isn't the same thing - sure, there was lots of studio-imposed meddling in the crews of Golden Age films, but that was, at least to my understanding, the unplanned result of studio politics and huge concurrent projects (things like The Wizard Of Oz and Gone With The Wind simultaneously hemorrhaging/swapping directors and cinematographers). That's certainly not an ideal system for filmmaking, but those movies were at least being made and overseen at all times by filmmakers. What Martel describes in the above article is not that so much as Kevin Feige et al making the deliberate decision at early planning stages to keep integral parts of a film from being made by the hired and credited filmmaker.
Yeah but what difference does it really make? We're used to thinking of the director as the auteur but that doesn't necessarily need to be the case.

I don't see a useful distinction between "movies" and "cinema". They're interchangeable terms aside from the latter being frequently used to connote artistic pretensions.

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#52 Post by Foam » Sat Oct 05, 2019 6:07 pm

After putting up a resistance for all but the most acclaimed of the Marvel films for the better part of a decade, I recently decided to go through the entire MCU chronologically. I assumed it would be a masochistic exercise but some films seem to have redeeming elements, and I don't always agree with the consensus. (For me, Iron Man 2 is clearly the strongest film from Phase One). Right now I'm up to The Winter Soldier. I have to say, even my favorites so far are mediocre at best, and the worst films are near terrible (Hulk and Thor 2). Although I wouldn't agree with the precise wording of Scorsese's comment, it is true that I haven't felt these films are very communicative of anything, especially of psychological interest. The Iron Man films succeed in performing a kind of light, playful, and detached breeziness (at least until the pretentious "deconstruction" of Iron Man 3) but other than that all of these films seem crushed under the weight of their own maudlin, adolescent self-seriousness. None of them are particularly interesting to look at, although I have heard that this improves with the Guardian films and Ragnarok.

I've also seen Logan and Into the Spiderverse and both of those were far superior to anything in the actual MCU (again, of those that I have already seen). I have to wonder if there's some reason for that? For those like Sausage and movielocke who seem more informed about the series, and willing to defend it, would you say that there is any serious aesthetic charge that can be consistently leveled at the films as a group?

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#53 Post by Mr Sausage » Sat Oct 05, 2019 6:36 pm

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. I find the films as films get lost amidst what are really arguments for the legitimacy of this or that group's tastes and opinions.

I think phase 3 has the most interesting films, probably because Marvel was so secure in their operation they could allow directors more wiggle room to be creative. So Dr. Strange, Guardians 2, Captain Marvel, and Thor: Ragnarok especially, have more life and vibrancy than the drearier stuff from phase 2. And the last two Avengers films easily outdo the first two (especially the dire second one). I suspect Guardians 1 showed them they could allow more personal quirks into the films without threatening their box office plans, tho' obviously there was a limit to what they would tolerate (see: Edgar Wright and Ant-Man).

But this is all to judge the movies against themselves and other comic book movies. My own opinion is that they're fine blockbuster movies, mostly forgettable, with a few bright spots along the way. But I'd agree that Logan is a better film than anything in the MCU.

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#54 Post by black&huge » Sat Oct 05, 2019 6:53 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:
Sat Oct 05, 2019 6:36 pm
I think phase 3 has the most interesting films, probably because Marvel was so secure in their operation they could allow directors more wiggle room to be creative. So Dr. Strange
Oddly enough this one is the one I still see major studio hovering with in phase 3. They could manage to take a loss if need be since Guardians proved to be a hit and Gunn was allowed to craft it from the get go to his liking but Strange's material always seemed to me to sort of scare Marvel regardless of past "B-property" success. What I see in that movie is akin to a young adult fantasy novel of sorts. It was a gamble either way but the thought on Marvel's end could have been "let's cater the subject matter with this and if it's a miss we'll learn". Just the same they could have let Derrickson go wild in the confines of a PG-13 rating and the results would have gone exactly either way no matter what.

But it seems they are letting that happen with the sequel. It's pretty much the only MCU movie I am looking forward to post infinity saga.

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#55 Post by Mr Sausage » Sat Oct 05, 2019 7:07 pm

I'm not familiar with the source material (I don't think I've ever read a Marvel comic, actually). But they let the film resolve without resorting to another big fight scene, and in Marvel terms--hell, in blockbuster terms--that's unusual.

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#56 Post by mfunk9786 » Sat Oct 05, 2019 11:56 pm

Image

This is about as good a (lighthearted and not airtight though it is) summation as I've seen of why the backlash against Scorsese's comments is overblown and unnecessary.

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#57 Post by Brian C » Sun Oct 06, 2019 12:53 am

The tweet about Bourdain fails on multiple levels, including this one.

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#58 Post by mfunk9786 » Sun Oct 06, 2019 1:03 am

Not sure he was jumping to the defense of Olive Garden in a vacuum there.

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#59 Post by Brian C » Sun Oct 06, 2019 1:05 am

Not the point though, is it?

I guess what I’d like to see is someone try to defend Scorsese’s comments in a way that doesn’t rely purely on snobbery.

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#60 Post by mfunk9786 » Sun Oct 06, 2019 1:16 am

I'm much less concerned about snobbery than I am some form of judgment passed on the people who enjoy those films, which Scorsese wasn't doing. Surely he sees the value in theme park attractions, even if they aren't his bag personally. But if "snobbery" = not grinning and nodding agreeably at mass marketed products that will do just fine without that grin and nod, then I don't see any problem with being a snob.

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#61 Post by Brian C » Sun Oct 06, 2019 1:27 am

I don’t know what you’re trying to say. But I’m not saying that you’re a snob if you don’t like Marvel movies; I don’t like them either. It’s the impulse to classify them as something lesser than “cinema” that I find pretentious.

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#62 Post by mfunk9786 » Sun Oct 06, 2019 1:32 am

I think we disagree fundamentally on whether they're lesser than cinema. Let's use that not completely sound analogy from before. Both of these fall into the category of being movies, just like a chef's tasting menu at a well regarded restaurant and a bag of McDonald's both fall into the category of being food. I don't think anybody is disputing that aspect. But would you really go to bat for that bag of McDonald's being just as important as that effort and creativity intensive restaurant meal? They're two different things that are only the same if you're using the largest umbrella available.

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#63 Post by Murdoch » Sun Oct 06, 2019 1:39 am

It came across to me that Scorsese sees cinema as a means of auteurist personal expression and Marvel movies to him are more about maximizing appeal to audiences to ensure more profits than expressing anything personal from the directors. They're a corporatist approach to cinema, casting big name actors in a long series of movies with connecting plots to ensure continued audience engagement.

Mr. Sausage provides a good rebuttal to this view since there are Marvel movies with a clear auteurist vision behind them, and I doubt Scorsese has seen much of the movies in the franchise as a reference for his criticism.

I don't like the snobbish distinction of "cinema" versus every other movies, but I do agree with his cynical view of Marvel - that the movies function more as theme park attractions than a personal artistic work. Unlike most big blockbusters which are fairly self-contained experiences (or at least confined to a few sequels sparsed out over several years), Marvel is about prolonging itself and ensuring its shelf-life through multiple interconnected releases each year. I see it as an amorphous blob, consuming popular cinema and applying the TV model of dragging a plot out to its furthest possible conclusion to movies.

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Marvel Comics on Film

#64 Post by movielocke » 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. For example, a director can bring in any editor they want, but they’ll be relying hard on a team of expert and experienced assistants who are making all the complicated vfx and sound things work seamlessly for the editor so they feel like it’s hardly different from any other film—sure we could go auteurist and say it’s not cinema unless everyone figure everything out from scratch, but that would be kind of ridiculous. So yeah it’s more collaborationist at a ton of levels (and less the traditional phallic, absolute and total unitary control of one director) but cinema history is replete with collaborationist examples, the Hollywood studio system chief among them.

In terms of what I find most aesthetically pleasing about the films are the rigorous density of the scripts, particularly the latter films (after Ultron). The films are so intricate in the dialogue and all the information packed therein, and the way this ruthlessly contributes to world building / Mileau development while working within the established character relationships, driving plot forward, and also driving character relationships forward in ways that link backward to develop aspects from previous films while setting up future films while resolving the internal conflicts of the individual film. As someone who has dabbled in sci-fi and fantasy writing since I was a teenager I find the ways marvel consistently deals with all the fundamental structural world building obstacles of secondary worlds to be absolutely stunning at how well they execute it all on a pure writing level.

Is this revolutionary? No it’s not unheard of TV, with hyper dense dialogue walk-n-talks in West Wing or House, or complex serialized character writing in sopranos or game of thrones, it’s just incredible to have all this applied to film on such a massive scale, and for it work so well in a different medium with different needs that can’t lean on serialized crutches for flexibility.

As someone who never read comics growing up and was only familiar with comic books as movies like Batman or Spider-Man, maybe I’m not a good example in that I have no expectations, but I really enjoy all the complexities and subtle ways all the marvel movies hook into one another and build on each other. It has made rewatching them both desirable and also frequently rewarding in terms of getting new aspects I missed the first time around (also frequently makes giant plot holes all the worse, ha!)

A lot of that is fairly technical and detached in terms of admiring the mechanics of how these machines are assembled, but they really do build up powerful character and familial relationships that they explore pretty aggressively and effectively in a lot of the films and that’s what makes those last two avengers big climactic films so emotionally effective and rich because they’re characters we’ve spent a lot of time with watching them struggle and grow to this ending.

It’s not Andrei rublev but it’s certainly cinema, but blockbusters at this 25 film scale, with serialized elements, dense world building, dozens of leading roles, and intricate interconnected plotting is not something that’s ever been done before. And if one has only got a haphazard interaction with a few of the films it’s probably not going to click. It didn’t click for me until last year when I decided to finally watch the fifteen-ish films I had missed before Infinity War came out.

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#65 Post by Mr Sausage » Sun Oct 06, 2019 8:59 am

Murdoch wrote:I see it as...applying the TV model of dragging a plot out to its furthest possible conclusion to movies.
Surely they're applying the "comic books" model?
mfunk wrote:I'm much less concerned about snobbery than I am some form of judgment passed on the people who enjoy those films, which Scorsese wasn't doing. Surely he sees the value in theme park attractions, even if they aren't his bag personally. But if "snobbery" = not grinning and nodding agreeably at mass marketed products that will do just fine without that grin and nod, then I don't see any problem with being a snob.
It's not merely a difference of opinion, tho'. It's that his difference of opinion is lofty enough to give him the right to exclude this series from some basic categories. It's more than a simple value judgement to say something is both not cinema and not human, which is the thrust of his "doesn't contain human interaction" comment.

His criticism is also unfortunate since Marvel is better at human interaction than any other action blockbuster out there. Bay's Transformers films? Not a human moment in them. Mostly people scream at and antagonize each other. The DC films? Jesus, no (except maybe Wonder Woman, because I haven't seen it). Roland Emmerich movies? Nope. The last couple X Men or Pirates of the Caribbean films? Uh uh. None of them has a scene like in Winter Soldier (a merely ok movie it must be said) where Captain America and Falcon quietly share their dislocation at returning from war to a world whose comforts they're unable to find comfortable. A quiet moment of connection between two alienated people--it's, well, adequately done in the scheme of things, but has twice the humanity of anything in a Bay or Snyder film. And you find those kind of moments peppered throughout this series. And there's a reason: unlike the vast majority of action blockbuster filmmakers, deep down the Marvel people care about these characters. They grew up reading Captain America and Hulk and Spiderman comics. They want to make big event films with astonishing action and thrills that make tons of money and are safe, etc, etc. But they also want to see their favourite characters treated properly, and they do their best to include purely human, emotional moments for these characters that most blockbuster filmmakers would avoid or treat as perfunctory. Next to all that, it's hard not see much of the criticism against Marvel as a lack of charity. They are slightly better than the competition at a lot of the things they're (often rightly) criticized for.


I'd have to ask those defending Scorsese's comments: how much of your solidarity here is principle and how much just comes from already agreeing with him? What if he turned these same comments towards a part of consumer culture you do like? What if he declared Godzilla films not cinema? Or Mr. Moto and Charlie Chan programmers? Or early 2000s torture porn? What if he declared Kanye West not music? Or hip hop dancing not dancing? How much would it take for you to find these kinds of comments unfair?

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#66 Post by Nasir007 » Sun Oct 06, 2019 10:06 am

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. For example, a director can bring in any editor they want, but they’ll be relying hard on a team of expert and experienced assistants who are making all the complicated vfx and sound things work seamlessly for the editor so they feel like it’s hardly different from any other film—sure we could go auteurist and say it’s not cinema unless everyone figure everything out from scratch, but that would be kind of ridiculous. So yeah it’s more collaborationist at a ton of levels (and less the traditional phallic, absolute and total unitary control of one director) but cinema history is replete with collaborationist examples, the Hollywood studio system chief among them.

In terms of what I find most aesthetically pleasing about the films are the rigorous density of the scripts, particularly the latter films (after Ultron). The films are so intricate in the dialogue and all the information packed therein, and the way this ruthlessly contributes to world building / Mileau development while working within the established character relationships, driving plot forward, and also driving character relationships forward in ways that link backward to develop aspects from previous films while setting up future films while resolving the internal conflicts of the individual film. As someone who has dabbled in sci-fi and fantasy writing since I was a teenager I find the ways marvel consistently deals with all the fundamental structural world building obstacles of secondary worlds to be absolutely stunning at how well they execute it all on a pure writing level.

Is this revolutionary? No it’s not unheard of TV, with hyper dense dialogue walk-n-talks in West Wing or House, or complex serialized character writing in sopranos or game of thrones, it’s just incredible to have all this applied to film on such a massive scale, and for it work so well in a different medium with different needs that can’t lean on serialized crutches for flexibility.

As someone who never read comics growing up and was only familiar with comic books as movies like Batman or Spider-Man, maybe I’m not a good example in that I have no expectations, but I really enjoy all the complexities and subtle ways all the marvel movies hook into one another and build on each other. It has made rewatching them both desirable and also frequently rewarding in terms of getting new aspects I missed the first time around (also frequently makes giant plot holes all the worse, ha!)

A lot of that is fairly technical and detached in terms of admiring the mechanics of how these machines are assembled, but they really do build up powerful character and familial relationships that they explore pretty aggressively and effectively in a lot of the films and that’s what makes those last two avengers big climactic films so emotionally effective and rich because they’re characters we’ve spent a lot of time with watching them struggle and grow to this ending.

It’s not Andrei rublev but it’s certainly cinema, but blockbusters at this 25 film scale, with serialized elements, dense world building, dozens of leading roles, and intricate interconnected plotting is not something that’s ever been done before. And if one has only got a haphazard interaction with a few of the films it’s probably not going to click. It didn’t click for me until last year when I decided to finally watch the fifteen-ish films I had missed before Infinity War came out.
This is a great post and I agree with the essence. Feige is the auteur of Marvel and he for real deserves some kind of special Oscar or thalberg for what he has wrought here. It is absolutely unprecedented at this scale. It is a triumph of logistics if not artistic merit. And while movies are about artistic merit, they are about logistics too as anyone who has even remotely dabbled in even making home movies knows.

Even with that said, I was with Marvel until Ultron. I had doubts about Winter Soldier but I liked Guardians 1 and Ultron. And then I was iffy on Civil War, and Guardians 2, and completely lost my faith after Captain Marvel and Endgame. I now have no interest in seeing any marvel film ever. But even during this rough phase I liked Black Panther and Infinity War deftly handles its multiple chess pieces, so I admired it.

So yeah it is mixed bag. My complaint is there are simply too many of them, and while Feige is able to ensure narrative continuity, he can't ensure consistent quality.

And lest anyone thinks the Russos lack self awareness, they themselves at length have brought up and discussed whether Marvel is a bigbudget TV series which it indisputably is.

The problems I have with Marvel are the same ones I have with TV - I find it too diffuse, I find it lacks overarching coherence and unity, and I think the length is not merited to properly narrate the underlying story.

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#67 Post by RIP Film » Sun Oct 06, 2019 10:29 am

What bothers me the most about all of this is the drift toward monoculture; it’s not enough that the last one made nearly $3 billion worldwide, you also have to defend yourself when you give any opinion that isn’t a full endorsement. You now have established directors saying things to a similar effect (Cronenberg said comic book films weren’t ‘elevated’), and then being lambasted as if they were denying the moon landing. It reminds me of that trope in TV/films where everyone in a town is addicted to some drug, then they find the protagonist and are like “Hey man why aren’t you on this, is there something wrong with you?” Then proceed to chase them and force feed it.

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#68 Post by Murdoch » Sun Oct 06, 2019 10:50 am

Mr Sausage wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 8:59 am
Murdoch wrote:I see it as...applying the TV model of dragging a plot out to its furthest possible conclusion to movies.
Surely they're applying the "comic books" model?
Tomato, tomahto. I just chose a like visual medium over the print equivalent.

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#69 Post by Mr Sausage » Sun Oct 06, 2019 11:03 am

RIP Film wrote:What bothers me the most about all of this is the drift toward monoculture; it’s not enough that the last one made nearly $3 billion worldwide, you also have to defend yourself when you give any opinion that isn’t a full endorsement. You now have established directors saying things to a similar effect (Cronenberg said comic book films weren’t ‘elevated’), and then being lambasted as if they were denying the moon landing. It reminds me of that trope in TV/films where everyone in a town is addicted to some drug, then they find the protagonist and are like “Hey man why aren’t you on this, is there something wrong with you?” Then proceed to chase them and force feed it.
This has always been true. Edmund Wilson at his post at the New Yorker never got so much mail as when he criticized detective novels over three articles. And that was the 40s, when you had to write your complaints out longhand, walk down to the post office, and then pay for it to be delivered. Imagine if they’d had social media. And Lovecraft fans have never stopped fuming about Wilson’s hatchet job on the man, and it’s been near 80 years.

People love pop culture and they get defensive about what they love. The internet has merely exacerbated what was always there.

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#70 Post by knives » 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.

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#71 Post by Brian C » Sun Oct 06, 2019 11:25 am

mfunk9786 wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 1:32 am
I think we disagree fundamentally on whether they're lesser than cinema. Let's use that not completely sound analogy from before. Both of these fall into the category of being movies, just like a chef's tasting menu at a well regarded restaurant and a bag of McDonald's both fall into the category of being food. I don't think anybody is disputing that aspect. But would you really go to bat for that bag of McDonald's being just as important as that effort and creativity intensive restaurant meal? They're two different things that are only the same if you're using the largest umbrella available.
Again, "important" is a snobbery word. And how are you measuring "important" anyway? There's probably not a restaurant as "important" as McDonald's in the history of the world.

And the same goes for "effort" - to my mind, the amount of effort that goes into providing a consistent product that people actually want to eat, on an international scale, dwarfs what goes into a local restaurant. Whatever criticisms one can make of McDonald's, "effort" seems like the silliest possible one. It's just not effort in the way that you personally want to see it channeled. But obviously other people have other priorities. Hell, I'll cop to enjoying McDonald's from time to time myself, and obviously not every expensive well-regarded restaurant is all it's cracked up to be, either.

I think where we disagree is that I think "cinema" actually is the "largest umbrella" applicable here. I'm resisting the narrowing of the term "cinema" in this context because I don't think the distinction Scorsese and his defenders here are making is one that holds up or is really worth making in the first place.

Nonetheless, I'm well aware that you - and me, and literally everyone else - like some movies more than others.
RIP Film wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 10:29 am
What bothers me the most about all of this is the drift toward monoculture; it’s not enough that the last one made nearly $3 billion worldwide, you also have to defend yourself when you give any opinion that isn’t a full endorsement. You now have established directors saying things to a similar effect (Cronenberg said comic book films weren’t ‘elevated’), and then being lambasted as if they were denying the moon landing. It reminds me of that trope in TV/films where everyone in a town is addicted to some drug, then they find the protagonist and are like “Hey man why aren’t you on this, is there something wrong with you?” Then proceed to chase them and force feed it.
This isn't "monoculture", it's just that people like popular things and criticizing popular things is therefore unpopular. Which seems intuitive enough. There's plenty of people at this forum too that get sore when they see something they love get dragged through the mud.

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#72 Post by Murdoch » Sun Oct 06, 2019 11:33 am

One person getting up in arms over another person criticizing a beloved movie is a far cry from thousands taking to social media to criticize someone for speaking ill of their beloved film, so much so that it makes it into the news cycle. But it's also not really exclusive to Marvel either.

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#73 Post by Mr Sausage » Sun Oct 06, 2019 11:55 am

Murdoch wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 11:33 am
One person getting up in arms over another person criticizing a beloved movie is a far cry from thousands taking to social media to criticize someone for speaking ill of their beloved film, so much so that it makes it into the news cycle. But it's also not really exclusive to Marvel either.
If only we could go back to those halcyon pre-internet days when mob mentality didn't exist.

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#74 Post by Murdoch » 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.

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Re: Marvel Comics on Film

#75 Post by RIP Film » Sun Oct 06, 2019 12:23 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 11:03 am
RIP Film wrote:What bothers me the most about all of this is the drift toward monoculture; it’s not enough that the last one made nearly $3 billion worldwide, you also have to defend yourself when you give any opinion that isn’t a full endorsement. You now have established directors saying things to a similar effect (Cronenberg said comic book films weren’t ‘elevated’), and then being lambasted as if they were denying the moon landing. It reminds me of that trope in TV/films where everyone in a town is addicted to some drug, then they find the protagonist and are like “Hey man why aren’t you on this, is there something wrong with you?” Then proceed to chase them and force feed it.
This has always been true. Edmund Wilson at his post at the New Yorker never got so much mail as when he criticized detective novels over three articles. And that was the 40s, when you had to write your complaints out longhand, walk down to the post office, and then pay for it to be delivered. Imagine if they’d had social media. And Lovecraft fans have never stopped fuming about Wilson’s hatchet job on the man, and it’s been near 80 years.

People love pop culture and they get defensive about what they love. The internet has merely exacerbated what was always there.
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, sure, 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 would 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.
Last edited by RIP Film on Sun Oct 06, 2019 12:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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