The Marvel Cinematic Universe has undoubtedly introduced a brand new world of storytelling, but it isn’t devoid of criticisms and Marvel President Kevin Feige admitted that one of those flaws is true – the seemingly weak villains that don’t get to shine beyond their single appearance.
Speaking to Cinema Blend, Feige used Thanos as an example.
“We’ve been criticized… if a big criticism of ours is that we focus on the heroes more than the villains, I think that’s probably true. I don’t think it will always be true, and I think some of you spoke to Chris [Markus] and Steve [McFeely] at the Civil War junket…. And they talked about, in appropriately oblique terms, Thanos. Thanos in Infinity War is — in a movie that has a lot of characters, you could almost go so far as to say he is the main character, and that’s a bit of a departure from what we’ve done before. But that was appropriate for a movie called Infinity War.”
McFeely has indeed addressed Marvel’s villain problems last year through JoBlo. He understands the disappointment of fans because the bad guys typically have their fair share of spotlight in the comic books. However, McFeely also reminds fans that the reason is because of the limited time each movie gets.
“If you think about it, I get the criticism, but the early phases were all origin stories. It tends to create a similar villain. When it is no longer an origin story, I think you might have a little bit more freedom to create different villains. I’m sensitive to the problem. I get it. But it wasn’t the Robert Redford story, it was Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It wasn’t the Red Skull’s journey, it was the journey of one guy going from ninety pound weakling to American hero and then going into the ice. So in a 120-minute movie, it is difficult, and Thanos will possibly change that, but you want time spent.”
He went on to compare the films with the Marvel Netflix shows which he loves because “you have so much more time to spend with your villains.”
Marvel TV, for example, has been particularly good in creating intriguing worlds for its villains to inhabit like HYDRA. MCU can find a better way to establish the links between these stealthy organizations.
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To solve its villain problem, MCU could similarly give its bad guys deeper motivations for creating chaos. Most of the films rely on the classic formula of villain who would do anything to annihilate the hero. Even if this works, MCU should consider making a villain’s origin and motivation more intricate. One example is what MCU did to the Winter Soldier who turned out to be so much more than a mindless killer.
It’s a risky step to take but MCU can incorporate a change by not killing its villains just like what Hulk did to the Abomination. For films to better depict the villains, surely they need to be alive a little longer.
While Marvel might be having challenges with its massive catalog of characters, it appears that Josh Brolin’s Thanos will play a role that’s more crucial than his predecessors. Feige’s statement even suggest that he could be Infinity War‘s lead character.
Avengers: Infinity War is currently filming in Atlanta with a scheduled release on May 4, 2018. On the other hand, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the next Marvel Cinematic Universe project, is set to hit the silver screen on May 5, 2017.
With so much possibilities to consider, how do you think should MCU address its villain problem?
[Featured Image by Marvel]