by Darryl Ayo
Let’s face it: everything that Marvel Studios could want to say in the form of the superhero live action film has been said. And in the cases of The Avengers and The Winter Soldier, they have said their peace well. So as they move onward, we have to ask not how much further Marvel Studios can go in their present direction and probe deeper: how soon until Marvel Studios changes directions entirely and embraces musicals?
And why not? Musicals are a perfect outlet for superhero stories. Without any alterations to either styling, these are two forms that operate with the interplay between visual spectacle and textual density. Superhero fights or battles are much less about the realistic mechanics of combat and much closer to the carefully-orchestrated exhibition of choreographed dance. And the dialogue of superhero stories is often shaped by the form of comics; limits of what characters can say are formed by the physical confines of space in a panel and on a page; much like lyrics of a musical are shaped by the rhythm and rhyme scheme of a song.
When you think about it, it just makes sense.
Then there’s the special effects.
I don’t know how you feel but I feel pretty bored by the dominance of CGI special effects. What about a mixture? What about special effects that capture the human-scale wonder of stage effects. There’s much more to depicting the supernatural and paranormal than simply editing in some glowing lights. And lower-tech solutions can have a much more immediate tone and sensibility, even on film.
And finally, think about the things that Marvel Studios is up to. Think about their forthcoming film properties. Imagine Doctor Strange’s mystical powers informed by clever lighting and sequences of veils and ribbons. Imagine a Guardians of the Galaxy reprisal that illustrates the themes of friendship and harmony with literal harmonies. This isn’t as farfetched an idea as it might seem.
And then, the next phase:
Marvel on Ice!