James Gunn Offers A Surprising Reason For The Marvel Cinematic Universe's Persistence
James Gunn, the director of Guardians of the Galaxy, shares the surprising reason why the Marvel Cinematic Universe has grown so popular
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has grown steadily since its beginning in 2008 with the surprise success of Iron Man starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jon Favreau, and it doesn't appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Following the conclusion of the Infinity Saga in Joe and Anthony Russo's Avengers: Endgame, in which the Avengers defeated Thanos, the MCU is currently preparing for Phase 4. After dozens of projects, the series is still a smash on the big and small screens, thanks to its new Disney+ branch. Gunn discusses the success of the universe and what he feels is behind it as it continues to grow.
Gunn discusses his work throughout the years in a new interview with VFX Supervisor Betsy Paterson sponsored by Deadline. When the conversation turned to the MCU, the director credited the evolution of CGI as the franchise's success. Below is the complete quote from Gunn:
"A lot of the modern films exist today simply because of VFX. People always ask me, ‘Why are Marvel movies so popular today when they weren’t in the past?’ I tell you 100% from me, 100% because the VFX got to the place where we can make it believable that a metal guy is flying around.”
Marvel Studios has established itself as the gold standard for creating an integrated franchise throughout the years. Several studios have attempted to mimic the MCU's creative paradigm since its inception, but none have come close to matching its success. It has been the unchallenged leader in terms of superhero storylines until now, and with the addition of its tiny screen pocket via Disney+, it is certain to maintain that position for the foreseeable future. Gunn's response, though, is a bit surprising; the franchise's long-term viability has been debated, and the MCU's success has always been credited to its characters. However, in retrospect, the Guardians of the Galaxy director makes an excellent argument.
It's understandable that Gunn attributed the MCU's success to its visual effects. Iron Man wouldn't have had the same impact on audiences if the public didn't believe Tony Stark could make a suit of armor, as he mentioned in his remark. In terms of his own films in the franchise, however, both Guardians of the Galaxy films significantly depended on CGI work, both in terms of people and the worlds in which their storylines take place. It would be hard to produce some of the fan-favorite characters, as well as the bright cosmic sets, without the use of visual effects.