A new video argues that the Marvel Cinematic Universe could learn a thing or two from Patty Jenkins' work on Wonder Woman about emotion in their movies. There's no doubt that the MCU has produced some of the very best comic book movies of the past 10-15 years, boasting great action and special effects and telling entertaining stories with plenty of heart and humor. But when it comes down to showing raw emotion or sincerity with their characters, the MCU often holds back.
As you may notice in recent MCU offerings like Doctor Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America: Civil War, and others, there have been plenty of moments that have stopped short of getting too emotional by cutting through the tension with jokes and zingers. The movies are no doubt funny, but they often avoid the kind of emotion that certain viewers may label as "cheesy" or overly sentimental. Jenkins aimed to subvert that notion with Wonder Woman, and the result is one of the most purely emotional comic book movies ever made. A new YouTube video believes that the MCU would be better served if it tried to tap into that same level of sincerity.
The new video in question is by the YouTube channel Just Write, which starting around the 6:23 mark begins to compare the MCU's penchant for tension-busting jokes to Wonder Woman's embrace of pure, sincere emotion. Sage Hyden, whose channel publishes "video essays about writing, language, and story," believes more MCU productions could stand to show more real emotion in its narratives without intentionally using the technique known as "bathos," pulling back from potentially emotional scenes with comic relief.
"The fact that these jokes happen during scenes that would otherwise be emotional makes me feel like these movies are actually afraid of emotions," Hyden argues. "Because they're afraid that they will be the butt of the joke. That they'll be seen as (gasp) cheesy!" The video also shares a quote from Jenkins in an interview with the New York Times, in which the director says that not just the MCU but Hollywood in general "has shied away from sincerity, real sincerity, because they feel like they have to wink at the audience because that's what the kids like."
The video concludes this argument by pointing out universally beloved, memorable movies like E.T. and Rocky that in their endings do not hold back on the kind of emotion that more cynical viewers may describe as "cheesy". But it's true; E.T. has endured for decades despite ending with an alien spaceship streaking a rainbow across the sky. It's reasonable to say that even some of the MCU's best offerings would have survived with even a little bit more sincere emotion.
That being said, it's not exactly a detriment to the MCU that most of their movies have a great sense of humor. The utter lack of humor and grim tones of DCEU movies like Batman v. Superman have been a big part of the franchise's problems, and Wonder Woman helped fix that by sprinkling in some humor of its own. Ultimately, the MCU will be fine if it keeps making movies on the level of Doctor Strange and others - but Jenkins did strike a great balance between heart, humor, and genuine emotion with Wonder Woman, and all of Hollywood can certainly learn some things from her work.
Source: Just Write
- Wonder Woman (2017) release date: Jun 02, 2017
- Justice League (2017) release date: Nov 17, 2017
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- Cyborg (2020) release date: Apr 03, 2020
- Green Lantern Corps. (2020) release date: Jul 24, 2020