Tuesday, 3 June 2014


No genre of films dominates modern cinema as much as the Superhero genre and no company dominates the superhero genre like Marvel Studios does. They are the studios that brought you the likes of Iron Man, Thor and Captain America but do not get them mixed up with their comic counterparts, Marvel comics. While the comics have the freedom to use any characters they have created over the decades they have been at the forefront of the comic world. But the Studios lack this liberty after selling the rights to some of their most famous characters, such as Spider-man, the X-Men and Fantastic Four. In the past they have also sold off rights to the likes of Daredevil and Ghost Rider but after Fox and Coloumbia's failed attempt at bringing them to the big screen, the rights reverted back to Marvel Studios. But they have failed to acquire the rights to their biggest heroes. But what if they could? What if we lived in a perfect world where every hero could play nicely together without the hassle or boring discussion of who owns who?


They could do some brilliant story lines. Some of the best Marvel story arcs include everyone from the Marvel comic universe such as Avengers VS X-Men, which sees Captain America lead his Avengers against Cyclops' X-Men over mutant Hope Summers and the Dark Phoenix. They could tackle The House of M which sees mutant and Avenger, Scarlett Witch suffer a nervous breakdown resulting in her altering the fabric of reality. But the one everyone wants to see is Civil War. Civil War is one of the greatest story arcs Marvel has produced in recent memory and it sees the superhero world divided as the Government crack down hard on masked vigilantes with a new law, called the Registration Act, that would mean all superheroes have to sign up and give up their secret identity in order to carry on their jobs as crime fighters for the Government. This splits the superhero community into two, with Iron Man and the likes of Mr Fantastic, supporting the bill and Captain America and the likes of Wolverine and Daredevil fighting for their freedom. While the mammoth task of adapting these crossovers would be difficult, the comics do give each character their own time to shine which would work if adapted correctly. Who wouldn't want to see our favourite superheroes fighting it out on the big screen?

Imagine the chemistry. I am going to confess that I have never been a big fan of Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark and Iron Man. Downey's take on the character is just downright annoying and it is made even worse when you consider the amount of acting talent the man possesses. But I also have to confess I would love to see Downey's Iron Man quip off with Andrew Garfield's Spider-man, I would love to see Hugh Jackman's Wolverine and Chris Hemsworth's Thor go toe to toe. Each franchise has strong personalities, personalities that would work wonders together if they were done right. If you managed to get all the writers together they could bring the magic they put into their characters in their solo film into this ensemble cast. While many disliked The Amazing Spider-man 2, the best thing about it was Garfield's Spider-man because the actor perfectly translates the character from the comic book page to the screen.

For some, Marvel have yet to drop the ball. Now this entry isn't coming from my opinion but instead it is based on the general consensus. While Marvel's early films were a mess, their recent films have been massively successful, financially and critically. Once they started to organise everything with phases and plans Marvel Studios have really come into their own when it comes to building a cinematic universe. While Spider-man is attempting to replicate this in The Amazing Spider-man 2, for a lot of people it just didn't work. Despite X-Men laying the ground work for Marvel's Cinematic Universe, Fox's mutant universe has yet to produce anything that can rival The Avengers. And concerning the new Fantastic Four, it is uncertain what director Josh Trank will do with that franchise but their is real possibility of a crossover with the X-Men, something that not only the fans want but also an event that would give The Avengers a run for their money. So with Marvel knocking it out of the park with every film that comes out, if they managed to get their hands on all the rights again this film could be a real knock out. This film could continue the trend of popular Marvel Studios films.

Also Marvel Studio's films are the superior when it comes to the Box Office. While the recent Spider-man films and the latest X-Men, Days of Future Past, which is hoovering up money at the ticket stands, cannot contest with the Box Office of the likes of Iron Man 3, which made well over a billion. Marvel Studios can claim to have produced two of the highest grossing films ever with a real chance of getting a third film in their next year with Avengers: Age of Ultron. So with this financial backing Marvel Studios would have the best chance of financing this mammoth task.  


If it went wrong it would be a catastrophe. In pretty much all my arguments for why the franchises should revert back to Marvel Studios have included the words "if adapted correctly". And this is a big problem for whoever would take on the monumental task of writing the script for the film(s). Undoubtedly, most people would look to Joss Whedon to take on the script and directing roles due to his success with the Avengers but even this seems out of Whedon's reach. The studio could bring in the different writers from the different studios to work on one script together but this seems unlikely and difficult. Imagine the likes of Joss Whedon, James Gunn, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Simon Kinberg sat around a table attempting to write one film that is to all their tastes, that just wouldn't work due to differing styles and jarring tones. These writers would need to be attached to the film in some fashion because they all know how to write for their respected characters but it seems unfeasable that they would be able to set on issues such as how much screen time each of their character gets and what comic story arc they want to adapt.

If the film(s) did fail it would most certainly be the death of the modern Superhero genre. If you don't enjoy the new Spider-man you always have the Guardians of the Galaxy to look forward to, if you didn't like Days of Future Past you can always go back and watch Captain America: The Winter Solider but if all these superheroes are in one film and it is a complete failure you have nowhere to turn for reassurance, don't you dare say Batman V Superman.

Less diversity. If you had told a comic book fan back in the 70's or 80's that in a few decades time films such as Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man were going to be released within a few years of each other, and the likes of Black Panther, Namor and Doctor Strange possibly getting adapted, they would probably have been sent to a hospital suffering from a severe heart attack. The likes of Spider-man and X-Men are possibly Marvel's most famous creations but because the rights for these characters are with other studios, Marvel Studios have had to look at other comic creations to adapt. Who would have thought Iron Man would be become such a hit? And Loki would win the hearts of so many fans? And it is because of this risk taking and believing in these lesser-known characters that has led to Marvel's success. This success has led them to adapt fan favourites such as Ant-Man, a character that when you mention him most people will laugh but no Marvel have confidence that they can bring this small time character to big screen and make people fall in love with him. The best example is Rocket Racoon, from the Guardians of the Galaxy. Rocket is an alien Raccoon that carries a gun and has some serious swagger and Marvel have used this character in their summer blockbuster, that takes a lot of balls. Marvel are the studio that managed to get a sharp shooting Raccoon on screen before DC have managed to get Wonder Woman in a film, can this Studio really do any wrong?

Furthermore, with Marvel not getting involved it gifts the allows the other franchises to expand into their own universes. With the recent success of the X-Men films a lot of people, including the producers of the lucrative franchise, have been expecting Fox to announce an X-Force film sometime in the future. X-Force are a bit like the X-Men just more R-rated. By Fox opening their universe with an X-Force film would do wonders for the franchise, allowing for so many new and interesting mutants to find their way onto the big screen for the first time ever. Sony are also getting in on the universe building business with The Amazing Spider-man 2 laying the ground work for future Spider-man films including a Sinister Six film and a Venom film. If Marvel Studios had Spider-man and X-Men in their ranks then they couldn't enjoy this freedom. Instead Xavier and his mutant friends, along with Spidey and the Fantastic Four, would have to fit into their plans.

This diversity would not be possible if Marvel Studios had the rights to their most famous properties back. Rocket wouldn't get a look in if Marvel are making a new Spider-man and Ant-Man would be invisible to the studio if they were working on a X: Men film. So by other studios having ownership of these other characters, it leaves Marvel Studios to delve into their back catalogue and give fan favourites the chance to shine.
Imagine the cost. To make most big blockbuster films nowadays you are looking at having a budget anywhere between £180 million to £250 million. Avengers cost Marvel £220 million, X: Men cost Fox £200 million and The Amazing Spiderman 2 cost Sony between £220-£255 million and that is not including Sony's expensive marketing that cost pretty much the same amount as the film. So with these figures in mind, the concept of a Marvel film with all or at least, a lot of characters in, would warrant a budget about the same amount as small country's GDP. If they were to tackle story arcs such as The House of M or Civil War it would be impossible to adapt without the budget that would do an adaptation of these crossovers justice. The film(s) would have to take place over a number of locations, with a massive amount CGI and that is not to mention the amount you would have to pay some of the actors and actresses.

No doubt that the film would hoover up money, jumping up the highest-grossing film list quicker than Quicksilver but it seems unfeasable for Marvel to keep producing more money for possible sequels. If Marvel were to don the same structure they have used in their recent phases, then it would only be crossovers but Marvel Studios would also have to produce stand alone films, which would further rinse the bank of Marvel. While Disney own Marvel and Disney have a momentous net worth of $42.6 billion, it seems out of reach even for them.

Casting would be an issue. This point really depends on when and how Marvel would do things. If they were to do it within a year or so there wouldn't be such an issue but if it took place in three or four years Marvel would have a problem on their hands. Chris Evans has already said he only wants to do two more Capt films before he gives up acting and opts to go behind the camera. Robert Downey Jr has also said he only sees it as a matter of time before his age catches up with him and Hugh Jackman cannot play the psychically demanding role of Wolverine forever. This brings up Marvel's problem of their need to either recast roles or get rid of certain characters, both of these solutions have big problems. Recasting roles seems a difficult task for Marvel seeing as they would need to recast Iron Man yet Downey's charisma is a massive reason the films were so popular in the first place. Finding someone to replace Hugh Jackman as the Wolverine seems like an impossible task due to Jackman's absolute domination of the role. Whoever Marvel recast in these films, it is difficult to imagine anyone else taking on these characters.

It is not only these two who would prove a pain for Marvel but also Andrew Garfield as Spider-man. For me, no other actor represents a superhero more than Garfield represents Spider-man. Over the short amount of time he has played the web head he has made the role his and added a massive amount to the character. While the actor doesn't go under the same extreme muscle gain Jackman does or suffer the same age problem as Downey, it seems unlikely, not matter how much he enjoys the character, that Garfield would want to stay in the role for much longer than he is already contractually obliged to. While there is an abundance of young actors who could play Peter Parker/Spider-man, none of them have the ability to make the character so likeable and authentic.  However, there are characters, in my opinion at least, that you could recast and most people wouldn't mind, Thor for instance. While many enjoy Loki, few people comment on the brilliance of Chris Hemsworth's acting, rather more the girth of the actor's biceps and the rigid structure of his six pack. The recasting of Captain America is another that really wouldn't phase me due to the fact I have never been a big fan of Chris Evans as the super solider and the film's portrayal of the character is a little stale and Evans doesn't bring the same to the character as Garfield or Jackman bring to their superheroes.

Ultimately, it would confusing for most cinema-goers. Again, this point all depends on how Marvel studios would go about creating this film or collection of films. If they chose to include all the characters from the already exisiting universe than that may confuse the average cinema-goer but if they chose to reboot the franchise than that would undoubtedly annoy the average cinema-goer. If Marvel Studios were to include all the characters from the already exisiting univereses than it would confuse the average cinema-goer because many would question where was Spider-man when Loki opened a portal above Manhattan, where were the Fantastic Four when the President was attacked in Iron Man 3. There is an obvious answer to this and it is the one we have been told when asking the same questions about the existing Marvel Cinematic Universe, just accept it. We have to just accept that Iron Man isn't going to pop up to save Captain America but no matter how often we are told to accept it, we still ask the question and so would the average cinema-goer who pays no attention to what the directors or writers are telling us. If the average cinema-goer was to sit down and watch these crossover films it would confuse them why all these characters were suddenly intruding in each other's universes.

Yet, if Marvel Studios wanted to reboot the franchise it would conjure up a whole host of new issues for the production company. As mentioned before recasting would be an issue, many fans would have felt like the phases were a complete waste of time and beloved characters would fall by the way side. Not to the mention the fact that reboots that have followed on from beloved films have not proved as successful as they may have wish, I'm looking at you Amazing Spider-man.


The answer to the question of whether Spider-man, the X-Men and Fantastic Four should revert back to Marvel Studios is probably clear from the amount of points I have for and against. While I understand that The Amazing Spider-man films are not as popular as Sony may have hoped when they rebooted the franchise but I love the films. It is as if Marc Webb has taken the characters from the comics and directly porjected them onto the screen, espeically in the characters of Peter Parker/Spider-man and Gwen Stacy. Also the Fantastic Four film has some serious potential. The cast is made up of some of the most interesting actors around at the moment and with Chronicle director, Josh Trank, behind the camera do you honestly think it will be as bad as the last attempts?

As for X-Men, while the likes of X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine were complete duds, Days of Future Past and First Class are two of my favourite superhero films ever and they are the franchise that will give Marvel Studios' a run for their money. So while it would be nice to see all the heroes in the same place at once, fighting alongside one another, maybe the world just isn't ready for that yet.

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