Posted on Monday, February 6th, 2017 by Peter Sciretta
While talking to Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige on the set of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the producer was asked about how the company approaches villains and responds to the criticism of “Marvel’s Villain Problem” and reveals that Thanos will (basically) be the main character of Avengers: Infinity War.
Marvel has often been criticized for having a villain problem, but in the last bunch of films, it seems like they have learned a thing or two about how to approach their villains on the big screen. Mainly, it seems they have realized that the films don’t always need to have end of the world/galaxy stakes and that the antagonist can be a more personal threat to these superheroes.
When approaching Marvel’s villains, Feige insists that it “always starts with what serves the story the most and what serves the hero the most.”
“A big criticism of ours is that we focus on the heroes more than the villains, I think that’s probably true. I don’t think it will always be true.”
Feige admits that “Thanos in Infinity War is in a movie that has a lot of characters, you could almost go so far as to say he is the main character, and that’s a bit of a departure from what we’ve done before, but that was appropriate for a movie called Infinity War.”
“In a lot of cases, Ronan’s great, Lee Pace did an awesome job, absolutely serves it, but certainly was there to go up against our heroes and to give our heroes a reason for coming together. And I think it’s, I hesitate to even, in 2008, there are two superhero movies that came out. One focused on the villain, one focused on the hero, and we at Marvel looked at them, like yeah, we focus on the heroes. We don’t mind that. We like that.
The two films Feige is eluding to are, of course, Marvel Studio’s first film Iron Man and Christopher Nolan‘s The Dark Knight. Ever since that first film, that has helped define Marvel’s approach towards their movies and the role of villains in their stories. Feige realizes he has said something about his main competitor, DC Comics, and quickly tries to calm the flames.
“Please don’t start a flame war. Nobody wants that. We don’t do that. But it really always is what serves the story. Loki, great character, serves in a lot of ways, Thor. Zemo served that conflict between Cap and Iron Man.”
The villains in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. are more personal stakes for our band of space heroes. Taserface and Ayesha were described by Feige as being “less grandiose in their ambitions than” previous Marvel villains like Ronan. Ayesha wants to kill the Guardians for slighting her people, and Taserface wants to overthrow Yondu as the leader of the Ravagers. It was imperative to director James Gunn to “make the story one where the personal story of the Guardians and the villain agenda/plot, all about one thing.”
“It wasn’t like “oh, here’s our characters on journey with each other while they’re fighting this big bad that’s doing whatever he or she is doing, and just that’s it.” Which honestly, the first movie if there was one thing that I- It’s fine, but it is, kind of, two separate stories there’s Ronin taking over this planet and murdering the universe, and then there’s these guys who through that journey get to know each other and come together. In this movie all of those things are a little bit more interwoven. It really is all one story. And that is, to me, a lot more satisfying way to tell a story.”
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