Kevin Feige

[EDIT.] Marvel Studios’ Potential

An EDIT. of Marvel Studios’ Potential

Anyone can voice out there opinion towards recent decisions made by Marvel Studios, or what kind of reception Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is receiving. In the end, there seems to be some form of success pushing them forward making rather curious decisions on how not only to expand their films, but also their universe. Most notably would be their deal with Netflix, which was revealed to the public on November 6, 2013. Together they will create four series focusing on characters that all live in Hell’s Kitchen with Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones, and probably the one most people are excited, Daredevil. What I also find interesting that even after the rather mixed reception of their first venture into television, they are still planning to expand with one focusing on Agent Carter. While I am personally exited for all these different upcoming projects I am rather baffled from one choice. Marvel Studios has set themselves a maximum of two films per year, which have a budget of around 170 to 200 million dollars. This way they can start and focus on their films, as they possess an entire department that focuses on the television projects, but one wonders why they didn’t start making smaller projects focusing on rather unknown characters.

Isn’t it strange that Warner Bros. has made plans to expand their DC Cinematic Universe through various smaller films with budgets ranging from 20 to 40 million after they were planning their Batman vs. Superman movie? It seems as if this entire strategy was thrown out the window to avoid copying their competition yet we are still to see any official release of such DC projects. This seems further evident with the existence of an upcoming Ant-Man film. What do I mean by that? Well, one thing I find interesting is that it is the only film we officially know about for Phase 3, while also following two-months and a half, on July 17, 2015 after the sequel to their flagship franchise, The Avengers. While ignoring the fact that they took Batman vs. Superman’s original release date, but that leaves the entire autumn and winter without a single Marvel Studios film.  Could this actually be hinting on the fact that they are trying to expand on three films per year, especially considering that Captain America: The Winter Soldier has such an early release date this year.

Some could argue that we already know of two planned release dates in the years following 2015, but on the other hand Marvel has been able to keep quite a few secrets from the public, even if some people weren’t too satisfied with a specific twist. When taking these elements into account it could be that their usually big-budget production film of that year might have been split into two smaller films, one being the upcoming Ant-Man. Even taking a look at Edgar Wright’s older productions, he knows how to make even the smallest budget look incredible. While Scott Pilgrim vs. the World was considered a flop, it still looked incredible but only cost half of what a big budget film usually costs. Furthermore, the teaser shown at San Diego Comic-Con in 2012 is certainly a small hint that he can make it quite believable even with a smaller budget. Yet, what other movie could fill that other slot? Maybe that time is slated for the Netflix deal so that people can focus on those films, but one can wish that maybe we will be seeing a film like Doctor Strange or even a smaller character around that time.

At this point it is nothing more but speculation, but there is a deeper meaning on why exactly I have touched upon this topic. Some have complained that Marvel Studio’s films have become a bit too comedic in nature focusing more on a younger audience. While Netflix was pointed out to give us a grittier look at Marvel characters, even though it still hasn’t been officially connected to the overall Marvel Cinematic Universe. Some would also like to see a big screen movie that takes a darker look at the world of our heroes. Some possibilities would be to focus on smaller characters from already existing films, or even expanding by introducing the viewers to lesser-known heroes from the comics.. While the Marvel One-Shots they offer are growing in length with the most recent being around ten minutes long, it still would be nice to have an entire film that can further develop specific characters.

To give an example, I am still interested in how Nick Fury became the man he is today. It would be interesting to see his past and maybe even uncover how the modern S.H.I.E.L.D. came into existence. While we may find out more in the upcoming Captain America film, it still would be a rather interesting film to see. Now, I do understand that a show focusing on Agent Carter will give us a look into how the SSR turned into the S.H.I.E.L.D. we know today, but I am interested in the relationship between one man and his adventure becoming the man who brought earth’s mightiest heroes together. Another possibility might be the rumored Loki film that had been floating around at the time Thor: The Dark World hit theaters. In a way, due to Loki’s popularity he almost took over Thor’s own film, but it would be interesting to see the fallout of that film while also exploring his relationship with Thanos, who probably is still out for his head for letting him down.

Now, a last and probably bizarre idea I had would be to explore the Marvel Cinematic Universe before Iron Man came to be. Maybe a fictional documentary made during the existence of Iron Man which shows how this world had developed after Captain America was lost in the ice. Personally, I think having one showing us how this world developed after the first superhero had vanished. Taking the perspective of a reporter from the comics, sadly someone who can’t be from the Daily Bugle, who explores how their world had developed since the 2nd World War. This concept though could further be developed due to recent reports showing that we might see Hank Pym test out his Pym Particles in the 60s. Just something I would be interested in seeing that could be a little something different in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Taking a more business oriented look at the potential of such small budget films, it would seem like an interesting investment. While one would depend on directors that can handle smaller budgets, they have proven to have a knack for finding great talent. Using a smaller budget the return is much higher if the film is successful, especially when using the Avengers brand, which has proven to be an incredible push for the franchise so far. Smaller films don’t always attract the same audience a blockbuster film would. Marvel Studios has proven to be able to market their films effectively and I believe that they could make quite a profit with smaller films catering to a specific target audience showing versatility in their decisions and how they still care for the main audience of comic book films.


[SHIELD] Debriefing #101 – Pilot

Agents Debriefing

#101 – PILOT

What were our expectations when this show was first announced? A television show that directly ties into the Marvel Cinematic Universe really showed how much this franchise has evolved. Not only that, we also have Joss Whedon, the director of the Avengers and show runner of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer to produce the show. On top of that, after tweeting #CoulsonLives all over the web they decided to bring him back from the dead. Three elements that already got everyone excited on the potential this show had to expand on that world. We could finally get an insight into what happens between each film, while exploring the world. So, what did everyone believe to bet he best fit for a television show? Naturally, the S.H.I.E.L.D. organization seemed to bet he perfect fit, especially if Coulson was going to return. It seemed like someone created a dream recipe and everything was falling together.

Now, twelve episodes in, we have come to face a rather interesting reaction. Many called out for this show being horrible, because it faces many issues. First and foremost, the cast is completely unlikeable and they can’t stand the character Skye, especially due to a lack of diversity in the group. Secondly, it doesn’t feature enough of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to make it relevant to the rest. Furthermore, some said it didn’t show us enough of the universe while giving us rather uninteresting plotlines. I am not here to point a finger at any one who doesn’t like the show, or have a specific opinion about it. While I believe some to be much harsher than others I thought it was time to look back at where the show began.

“Coulson lives and is bringing a team together. While poor Mike Peterson shows off his powers he is accidently thrown into a world that he wasn’t ready for when S.H.I.E.L.D. and a little hacker named Skye catch their attention.”

Pilots never have it easy when it comes to how they can tell a story. Not only are we introduced to a variety of characters, but also the world, our regular setting and overall themes of the show. While one would consider it to be easier for this show as the world it’s a part of already exists, it rises a completely different problematic. The show is trying to be its own entity that lives alongside the universe. In this case, we have many callbacks to the attack on New York, while also showing how it changed the world around them. In this case, an unknown organization named Project: Centipede has been trying to harness the powers that created the Hulk and Captain America so that they can create their very own super-soldiers. It is an interesting concept that they would use every known substance to enhance them beyond what they already saw, but adding the Extremis virus was a nice touch. Yes, I do actually have a complaint with the under usage of Extremis that sadly gets slightly sidelined. Why isn’t Centipede any already known organization? I would actually blame the existence of Captain America: The Winter Soldier or this, as there is a mystery hidden in that film that might be hinted at within this show.

Mike Peterson is a bizarre character to really define. From the cast at this moment, he probably shows the most complexity and reflects the world they live in. Heroes exist and so the mentality of the world has changed with what is considered good and evil. So, when he confronts the factory employer he is faced with a much simpler world due to existence of these heroes, and him receiving such abilities. They believe it to be a dawn of a new era, so not only does he mention the line that this is his origin story, but also one of the new rules. Additionally, the serum that is infused into his body through Chitauri technology affects his way of thinking as well, he is much more aggressive and the effects are showing on how impulsive he truly reacts to things. While he is no true antagonist, he does make a nice introduction onto how our world changed on a much smaller scale. While Stark is fighting a new form of terrorism and anxiety attacks, people are starting to figure out what makes them stand out.

Our main cast is quite young besides Melinda May and Agent Coulson. Most notably are FitzSimmons and Skye, who seem to be in their mid-20s while Ward might be closing in on his 30s. Some pointed out a lack of diversity in the group, while it actually does feature quite a variety of diversity, in a sense. Three members are female, while two are of a different race. Fitz and Simmons are of European heritage, which adds a little cultural diversity. Another important factor of all is the age difference as we have various generations clashing on this ship. Are they all stereotypes in this episode? While in our society we have come to learn to avoid such things as best as possible, they are still an easy way to define certain characteristics. It helps an audience build up an understanding of who they are and make it easier to lash on, so that they could evolve over the course of the franchise. We do get a little with Agent Ward, who always was faced with social issues, not only has to adapt to working with a group of people, but also not being the man who simply shoots down his target. He comes to accept that there may be other options and shows that he can evolve beyond a stern man-of-action.

The main focus of the show does rest on Coulson, who not only has no idea that he died by the hands of Loki, but only stalled his death for a few seconds. With a great cameo by Ron Glass as a S.H.I.E.L.D. doctor we come to understand that something did indeed happen, but it holds much darker implications. We do also see that it had an effect on him. There seems to be a reason why he is bringing this rather unorthodox group together to form a team of S.H.I.E.L.D. that can act independently in various cases. While I do love the idea of the bus it actually says a lot about Phil that expands something we learned in the Avengers. He is a collector, who cherishes vintage items, but also embraces newer aspects. Nothing shows this more than Lola, a nice red Corvette that has the ability to fly. Not only was this a tribute to classic Marvel spy comics, but also expands upon the flying car concept Howard Stark was working on in Captain America: The First Avenger.  The bus and his team help further cement the way Coulson thinks, he prefers this transport due to its nostalgic value, but also embraces newer things with him assembling a young team around him.

Overall, yes the pilot isn’t perfect. Extremis could have been utilized a bit better in this episode, maybe expand on if this is a time before Stark found a cure or not. That would be my main gripe that it is difficult to place it in the Marvel Cinematic Universe at the moment of its release. While we do have a lot of mentions here and there, I would have liked some mention of Roxxon, A.I.M., Hammer Industries or even Stark Industries. Having their logo in the background, or allowing us to see advertisement from them would have been a nice way to make it feel more like it belongs in the same world, then simply having it told us. Still, I believe it to work as a pilot for a show. We are given a lot of groundwork for potential plotlines, we do in fact have an overarching enemy, who simply is given no name, and we actually get to see a rather sentimental unregistered gifted, which is a nice reference to the Civil War comic event. It is a good start into a show with great potential, and I am certainly curios what will follow.

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