Kevin Feige, president of production at Marvel Studios, is a smart man. Combined, his films have a worldwide box office gross of $8.3 billion. With the upcoming release of Thor: The Dark World and the release of Iron Man 3 last May, it’s safe to say Marvel’s “Phase Two” of the requisite superhero flicks leading up to 2015’s release of The Avengers: Age of Ultron is well underway. However, one could also say that Marvel needs to keep things fresh and perhaps unpredictable – not just fillers a la Captain America: The First Avenger to the initial Avengers to keep fandoms’ appetites whet and the box office bucks flowing. So, below are a list of ways the guys at Marvel can (and have chosen to) mix it up.
Change of crew
There was a reason Iron Man 3 was quick and witty, and it is wasn’t just because of Robert Downey, Jr. Marvel brought on Legal Weapon director/writer Shane Black to pen Tony Stark’s third outing, which I think was a very successful outing at that. So, hopefully, with upcoming releases ahead like Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy, the comic book-based, Disney-owned company has chosen filmmakers and writers who bring something different to the table.
Change of tone
Thor’s next adventure already looks to experiment with more of a sci-fi element than its predecessor and Captain America: The Winter Soldier takes place in modern society and follows Cap in the midst of a political thriller. And as for Guardians of the Galaxy…well, I’ll get to that below.
Unique voices and characters
With a change of crew and tone comes a certain choice of characters, and that is certainly clear in the studio’s Guardians of the Galaxy to be released next May. The film has been described as more of an interstellar, unique Avengers-type movie with an interesting director (James Gunn) at the helm. Gunn is responsible for such films as the gloriously disgusting Slither and 2010’s bizarro action-comedy Super with Rainn Wilson and Ellen Page.
Not so crammed with “hero” stereotypes
Perhaps Feige and company should take a note from the most recent The Wolverine, a more drama-centered tale that doesn’t necessarily succumb to the loud, boisterous stereotypes often found in “these” movies. Most Marvel movies have seen heroes face physical battles/conditions that include boisterous action, which we all enjoy, but it may be a bit refreshing if the filmmakers focused a little more on a character battling his/her own inner demons with more subtleties and a dash of poignancy. You know, a little more soul.
It’s exciting to live in a time where technology is evolving at a rapid pace, and pop culture is taking full advantage of it. The ‘90s weren’t so kind to superheroes (ahem, Batman and Robin), but that thankfully took a turn with the millennium. With the recent release of Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity, we’ve now seen what is possible in film. And therefore a lot of comic book fans who never dreamed of seeing their favorite characters up on the big screen, whether that be Marvel’s initial Avengers film, or next summer’s Guardians of the Galaxy or 2015’s Ant-man, the future is an exciting place for superhero and comic films and here’s to hoping Marvel can keep us entwined in their series with fresh ideas and interesting characters.