Marvel has a problem with the visual effects

Despite the mixed opinions of critics and audiences, Thor: Love and Thunder It was a huge box office hit for Marvel Studios. Even with a sharp 68 percent drop in its second weekend in cinemas — a record drop for a fourth MCU movie — ox An additional $46 million was paid out after he earned $144 million in opening. However, for the studio in general, there was more trouble during the film’s release than its reviews or box office margins. love and thunder Director Taika Waititi recently came under some criticism for the negative comments he made about CGI in a particular scene in the movie, which comes at a time when VFX artists were already speaking out against Marvel Studios about poor working conditions.

Waititi’s comments came during a video of the scene breakdown he made for him Vanity Fair Last week with actress Tessa Thompson who plays King Valkyrie in it love and thunder. “Well, does this sound real?” asks Waititi Thompson, referring to Korg, the rock-hard rock warrior who Waititi voiced in the film.

“In that particular shot, no, actually,” Thompson replies with a laugh.

“Doesn’t it need to be bluer?” Then he asks, before pointing to Thor and asking, “Well, does it look real?”

“No, none of us do,” Thompson replied, before adding that “something sounds really cool” with her character.

While it’s definitely not a good look for a director and one of his actors makes fun of CGI in their own movieThe controversy that followed is not so much about the comments themselves as about the larger VFX issues at Marvel Studios. Waititi and Thompson may not have intended to make such a fuss when they mocked the work the VFX artists did on the film, but they effectively drew attention to a studio and industry-wide problem. And Marvel needs to address it now more than ever.

Visual effects artists – in the entertainment industry in general and those who work with Marvel Studios in particular – never get the recognition they deserve. Consider the role that visual effects play in a movie like 2018 Avengers: Infinity WarFifth highest grossing movie of all time. Among the more than 2,700 shots in the infinity war, only 80 did not feature any visual effects, according to VFX Industrial Light & Magic (ILM). This means less than 3 percent This 2.5 hour movie was created without the help of visual effects. The film earned an Oscar nomination for Best Visual Effects, among many other awards from various voting bodies, but the award cycle failed to recognize or reflect the sheer volume of visual effects work involved in production; Only Marvel Studios and a handful of VFX moderators have received this award. (Just scroll through the visual effects section on infinity warThe cast and crew page on IMDb to see how many people have worked on it. It’s quite a finger exercise.) And for all the amazing CGI shots, or scenes that viewers might not even realize the VFX feature, it’s often the moments where CGI quality is lacking—like Bruce Banner’s head perched atop a Hulkbuster suit—that gets a lot of attention.

Thanks to massive advances in technology, CGI has become so good that it is often easy for viewers to take it for granted. It’s also easier to get distracted when he’s undisguised, whether it’s a lifeless Egyptian jackal rising from the ground in moon knightAnd the bad guys are collapsing into cartoon skeletons in Mrs. MarvellDr. Gharib grows a third eye in Doctor Strange in a multiverse of madnessor pretty much all She-Hulk: Attorney at Law tractor. As someone who writes a lot about Marvel Studios projects, I shared my thoughts on lackluster CGI when I saw it, as did many other viewers on Twitter and elsewhere. But what I imagine myself and many others cannot fully see or understand is what happens behind the scenes of these MCU projects when it comes to the visual effects process. VFX artists recently made it clear that the studio set them up for failure.

Several allegations against Marvel began appearing two months ago on the subreddit r/VFX, an online community where artists from across the industry have shared their negative experiences working with the powerful studio. (Marvel does not handle any of its visual effects in-house, so it hires several VFX studios to work on its projects, such as frequent collaborator ILM; more than a dozen VFX houses have contributed to infinity war alone.) In a thread titled “I’m frankly sick and tired of working on Marvel shows,” a Reddit user named Independent-Ad419 started the conversation. “Marvel probably has the worst approach to production and management of visual effects,” wrote a Reddit user. “They can never fix the look of a show before more than half of the show time is up. Artists working on Marvel shows are not paid the amount of work they do.”

Others soon joined, citing unreasonable deadlines and heavy pressure from poor management, with many commentators sharing that they asked not to work on future Marvel projects. One user wrote: “They expect a variety of options so they can change their mind 3 more times.”

By early July, the thread has grown enough player Publish an article – It was published on the same day that Vanity Fair Happened to publish them love and thunder Scene Breakdown – Covers the growing number of claims made against Marvel Studios. A former sound effects artist named Dhruv Govil, who worked on it Guardians of the Galaxy And the Spider-Man: Homecomingthen shared the article on Twitter, writing, “Working on Marvel shows is what drove me to quit the VFX industry. They’re a terrible customer, and I’ve seen a lot of colleagues fall apart after being overworked, while Marvel tightens the money strings.”

Govil’s tweet has been liked more than 85,000 times. He added in another comment: “Since a lot of people have mentioned it, this has been the case since the early days of the MCU. It hasn’t started recently, not because [Disney CEO Bob] tangle. The problem is that Marvel is too big and can claim whatever they want. It’s a toxic relationship.”

These issues of intense workloads and crisis culture are reminiscent of those developers have long faced in the video game industry, where a labor movement to improve working conditions is currently underway. And between Waititi’s comments, an article written by playerAnd, Govil tweets, Marvel’s VFX problem is starting to get too big for the studio to ignore. According to Govil, at least, this is not a new problem. But it’s likely to be more prominent in recent years as the studio’s success has grown and with more production on both the big and small screens increasing its appetite for shots.

For context: the first phase included six films over four years, while the fourth phase has already scored six films And the Six live TV shows over a year and a half. (This content backlog may also have something to do with pandemic-driven production delays that were originally postponed to 2020. However, Marvel saturation is a real thing for now.) It’s not as if Marvel TV shows require less work or a lower budget. Lots of movies too; exactly the contrary, WandaVisionThe number of VFX shots was more than required Avengers: Endgameto me WandaVision costar Paul Bettany and The Hollywood Reporter I previously mentioned that the MCU series is like WandaVisionAnd the The Hawk and the Winter SoldierAnd the hook At a cost of up to $25 million per episode.

While it seems that Marvel’s visual effects issues can be traced back to the early days of Infinity Saga, the faltering quality of CGI and VFX in the studio’s TV shows and movies was more noticeable and vulnerable in Phase 4, in part because the quality of the projects varied. The latter in general. There were a lot of bright spots, but the MCU is facing the quality And the A quantum problem, and with no real indication of where the franchise is heading as this phase draws to an end, keeping up with everything Marvel releases becomes less important — and more difficult. (Although it It seems Like MCU working towards a file secret wars The crossover happened, and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige promised that a Marvel master plan would come into focus soon enough, the so-called interconnected cinematic universe didn’t build toward a common goal as effectively as it did in Infinity Saga.)

Given how dominant Marvel’s power has remained at the global box office as audiences returned to cinemas – last year Spider-Man: There’s no way home It grossed over $1.9 billion at the box office on its way to becoming the sixth highest-grossing movie of all time – Phase 4 may eventually be seen as an awkward transition between the Infinity Saga and whatever the next chapter may be. But since mediocre reviews come in so frequently, and the second weekend box office drops—like love and thunderAnd the The multiverse of madnessAnd the eternity They’re all just experienced – it’s becoming more and more apparent, and superhero fatigue seems to be hitting the masses, waning patience for the suspected CGI.

As long as Marvel Studios continues to generate revenue at the box office, this VFX controversy may wait until the visual effects industry takes some form of teamwork, such as forming unions to fight for equality and better working conditions. Attempts to form trade unions and associations in the past have failed, though, revealing the challenges of establishing solidarity within a global industry that has grown more competitive. However, given all the attention this issue has received in recent weeks, Marvel’s CGI and VFX will likely be scrutinized more closely as long as the MCU remains in this creative limbo. and with Strong woman—A series consisting of approximately several characters FULL OF VISUAL EFFECTS – As August approaches, this VFX chat may be getting louder soon.

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