The Kevin Feige quote-apalooze continues! Last week I sat down with Marvel Studios' President of Production and prodded him about issues that interested me (ie, I wasn't exactly hunting scoops). So far I've shared with you his thoughts on how to integrate magic into the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Doctor Strange (read here) and his thoughts on Marvel's responsibility offer films with diverse leads (read that here).
Marvel and DC have been rivals for decades, with each comic book company having periods of supremacy and periods where they just simply couldn't stop shitting the bed. For years DC characters ruled movie screens, but in a post-The Dark Knight landscape things have changed. While Warner Bros has struggled to get their DC characters on film (opting, increasingly, to put them on TV), Marvel Studios has crafted an exciting and innovative approach, creating a connected universe that builds on itself and culminates in Avengers movies. But more than that, the Marvel movies have a reputation as being brighter and more fun, while the movies based on DC characters (now) have a reputation for being darker and harder edged.
With Captain America: The Winter Soldier it looked like Marvel had gone to the grim n' gritty side, but while the movie is very serious - emotionally and politically - it continues the Marvel tradition of being fun and funny. I asked Feige about the perceived differences between the House of Ideas' penchant for fun and their Distinguished Competition's general seriousness.
I like them both. I like suprising people. I think people were surprised by how, for lack of a better word, funny Iron Man Three was, or how funny Thor: The Dark World was. Going by the trailers people asked me, ‘Are you going gritty now?’ Even this movie - there’s humor, thankfully in [The Winter Soldier].
For many Guardians of the Galaxy looks to be the apotheosis of Marvel's commitment to fun, but Feige warns that those expecting just a silly space comedy are going to be in for a shock. Of emotion.
I think the surprise in Guardians will be that it looks like a weird, zany movie - and it is! - but we’re attempting to do, what James [Gunn[ is attempting to do, is make it a somber movie in places and a shockingly emotional movie in places. That’s the idea of the roller coaster ride when you go to the movies.
That last sentence nails it for me. The roller coaster of moviegoing isn't about the spectacle, it's about the emotional journey - I'm excited, I'm scared, I'm laughing, I'm sad, I'm pumped, I'm anxious - and too many modern blockbusters don't get that. They go from the highs of the action sequences to the lows of the neceessary exposition and plot movement scenes, but the emotional tones are the same throughout. What Marvel gets is that the emotional tone needs to be vaired. That - not blowing up cities - is the heart of storytelling.