4 Reasons Why All the Marvel Movies Are the Same

#2. Marvel Is Pissing Off All of Their Best Actors

A good way to make actors angry is to make them think they're doing one movie and then release an entirely different one, which happens surprisingly often. Marvel is particularly fond of this bait-and-switch technique, apparently: Take Oscar-haver Natalie Portman, who was all excited about being a part of Patty Jenkins' vision for Thor 2, and then naturally got upset when they replaced the director at the last minute. Since Portman was already under contract with Marvel, she had to do the damned movie anyway.

Marvel Studios
"Fine, but I'm using the same face for all the scenes."

Hey, ever wonder why we didn't get Edward Norton back as the Hulk? That's because the whole reason he signed up for the role was because Marvel promised him creative control over the movie, so he actually went and rewrote the script to add more character development ... only for Marvel to undo pretty much all his changes during editing. It's just shy of a miracle that he didn't Hulk Smash the entire studio to the ground after he found out he'd been conned.

Then we have Norton's fellow Academy Award nominee Mickey Rourke, who was too good for a Marvel film anyway (and for this world, in general). Rourke took the time to construct a true multidimensional villain in Iron Man 2, but, once again, all his hard work ended up on the cutting room floor. Marvel wanted a cartoon villain, so that's what they got. That perfectly sums up what might be Marvel's downfall. We love one-dimensional bad guys -- it's true. We love Die Hard and Indiana Jones. But eventually, when it's more of the same thing, we stop giving a shit.

Lucasfilm, 20th Century Fox
We're just gonna leave this here.

Furthermore, the actors stop giving a shit, too. Jeremy Renner (yet another multiple Oscar nominee) signed up to play Hawkeye in The Avengers, so he was pretty pissed off when it turned out he was portraying a mind-controlled goon for half the movie. Even Chris Evans has made a little noise about quitting acting the moment his Marvel contract expires because he doesn't enjoy it anymore -- the grueling action sequences, uncomfortably tight suits, and endless promotional appearances that come with being an Avenger probably have something to do with that.

But look at it this way, Chris: If you keep at it and have a full-blown feud with Marvel, that means you're getting nominated for a golden statue at some point. Probably not from a Marvel movie, though, because ...

#1. Comic Book Audiences Don't Actually Like Auteur Filmmakers

The ultimate reason why Marvel doesn't get auteur filmmakers to do their films is ... they already did. And it didn't work. Ang Lee's Hulk was described by the director as "a personal film on a big canvas," and Roger Ebert loved it. The fans? Not so much. When Zak Penn started writing a new Hulk script, his main selling point was how he'd make it more like the comics and less like Ang Lee's vision, and now his film is the better-praised one. Lee's version is widely seen as the shameful disaster, even though both movies made about the same amount of money.

Universal Studios, Marvel Studios
"HULK CUT CARBS!"

People don't want to see a director's vision of their favorite book or comic -- they just want to see their favorite book or comic. And since 12 out of the 20 best-grossing films of 2013 were sequels or adaptations, that's what is being made. To those of you screaming "NOLAN!" right now, how do you think comic fans would have reacted to Christopher Nolan's Batman movies if they'd been told backward, or featured dream-within-a-dream sequences? In the context of Nolan's career, his Bat-movies are straightforward action flicks with dramatic music in every scene to make you think something deep is going on.

We'll leave you with one final example: There's a movie with good audience ratings called Vidocq that was directed by a French director who had been widely praised for his work in special effects. Then a Hollywood studio hired him to make a superhero movie starring an award-winning actress at a high point of her career. He intentionally ignored much of the comic book source material in hopes of making a unique, original movie. That movie?

Warner Bros.

Yep, we're probably never getting meaningful, transcendental Marvel films, but if we do, you'll probably hate them and they'll be banished to obscurity. Marvel's best case scenario is telling the same stories over and over in slightly different configurations so we don't realize it.

All that said, that space raccoon looks dope as fuck.


Isaac helps out with Personal Experience articles here at Cracked. If you've got a story you'd like to tell, contact him either here or through email.

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