A visual effects artist who has worked on multiple Marvel films has addressed a common complaint levelled at the hit film franchise.
The freelance VFX artist, who spoke under conditions of anonymity for fear of being “blacklisted” by the comic book behemoth, revealed the chaotic working conditions that he believes contributes to a familiar issue with viewers: that it’s hard to understand what’s happening on screen, particularly during massive fight scenes.
In the report, the artist described a culture of last-minute changes, understaffing, and inflexible deadlines. But he says the “main problem” is the directors themselves, who “aren’t familiar with working with visual effects”.
“A lot of them have just done little indies at the Sundance Film Festival and have never worked with VFX,” the industry insider told Vulture. “They don’t know how to visualise something that’s not there yet, that’s not on set with them.”
Marvel has a reputation for tapping esteemed directors from outside the world of blockbuster film-making to helm their projects.
Taika Waititi transitioned from an indie director when he took charge of Thor: Ragnarok, the hit third film in the Thor series released in 2017. The MCU film Eternals was director Chloe Zhao’s follow-up to her Oscar-winning drama Nomadland. And the first everThor film was directed by Kenneth Branagh.
The VFX artist went on to say Marvel often requests that the entire third act of its mega-budget superhero films get reworked, sometimes just a month before a film is released, leaving VFX houses scrabbling to keep up with the volume of changes.
He singled out the battle scene at the end of Black Panther as a good example of what can happen under the conditions set by Marvel.
“The physics are completely off. Suddenly, the characters are jumping around, doing all these crazy moves like action figures in space. Suddenly, the camera is doing these motions that haven’t happened in the rest of the movie. It all looks a bit cartoony,” he said.
A representative for Marvel did not immediately respond to The Independent’s request for comment.
The sequel to Black Panther is expected to hit theatres this autumn. A trailer for the film was released this week at ComicCon in San Diego.
Marvel also recently revealed a full list of all the MCU films and television series due to premiere between now and 2025.