Vision actor Paul Bettany claims that the movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have enjoyed so much success because the people making them are genuine fans of the characters involved. Bettany is primed to make his third on-screen appearance in the Marvel movie franchise in Avengers: Infinity War after having previously appeared in both Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War. Infinity War marks the culmination of the MCU thus far, bringing together an ambitious amount of heroes from a variety of movies and focusing on the threat of Thanos that has loomed large over the series ever since Joss Whedon's first The Avengers movie.
The man driving this sizeable cinematic project from the beginning has been Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige. Feige's knowledge and passion for comic books, and the world of Marvel in particular, is well documented and the man has been producing comic book movies since 1998's Blade. Another key figure in the development and success of the franchise is Joss Whedon, whose geek credentials are widely celebrated and have led to him working on movies for both Marvel and rivals DC, having taken over from Zack Snyder to complete work on Justice League.
MCU actor Paul Bettany believes that it is this passion from behind the scenes that has directly contributed to the success of the Marvel franchise. Speaking on the set of Infinity War, Bettany claims:
"I think the success of the Marvel films comes from the fact that they’re made by fans. They really love those characters. When I first came out dressed as Vision, Kevin Feige nearly cried. I didn’t grow up reading comics but they make you fall in love with your character. They really do. Their love for these stories is really infectious and you become really invested, and there’s a lot of invested people beyond the financials of it all. They really want to do a good job, and I think fans really trust that if they bend things that they’re in safe hands — that the story is in safe hands because I guarantee you it’s made by geeks. This movie is made by geeks. They love them, they feel it when they’re talking about it."
As alluded to by Bettany, the Marvel movies have become financial juggernauts with plenty of companies, sponsors and tie-ins investing in their success. Subsequently, many fans will likely be reassured that despite the lucrative nature of the franchise, the MCU is still driven by a genuine passion and desire to do justice to the original source material. It's easy to become cynical towards the financial side of the movie industry but Bettany's story of Kevin Feige crying after seeing him in full Vision garb is one that demonstrates a child-like wonder at the heart of the MCU that connects the movies' creators to the fans buying tickets.
However, Bettany's assertion that this passion has led to the success of the Marvel movies is certainly one that can be debated. Firstly, although Kevin Feige is currently on a hot streak with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, his fevered passion for comic books hasn't always produced hit movies, as the producer was also involved in misfires such as Daredevil, Elektra, X-Men: The Last Stand and Fantastic Four, although it is worth considering that he may not have had as much creative clout in those features compared to recent projects such as Avengers: Infinity War.
Then there's the Warner Bros. DC Extended Universe to consider. Although the debate between fandoms rages on eternally, few could disagree that the DCEU movies haven't been as successful as their Marvel counterparts. The man at the center of the DCEU franchise for the bulk of its lifespan has been Zack Snyder, a renowned comic book fan, and yet his passion hasn't completely translated into successful movies. Perhaps there's more to big screen comic book success than the creators being comic geeks, or maybe Bettany is correct in his belief, but the passion he speaks of needs to extend to boardroom level, rather than just the writing room and director's chair.
- Black Panther (2018) release date: Feb 16, 2018
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 05, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019