Marvel's Werewolf By Night Documentary Features The Best Use Of The Marvel Studios Fanfare Ever

"Werewolf By Night" is not like most Marvel films. It is a stunningly weird love letter to classic monster movies, with gorgeous black-and-white cinematography, surprisingly gnarly kills, and a stellar appearance by Ted, aka Man-Thing. That it was made as a special presentation, a mid-length feature with no connection to the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe, with no post-credits scene and a self-contained story, made it a truly special event.

Now, Marvel is keeping the train going with "Director By Night," a behind the scenes documentary about the making of the film, which is also the most intimate and wonderful project Marvel has produced in a long while. This is much different from most behind the scenes documentaries that have been hitting Disney+ since Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe began. One big reason for why the documentary works so well is that the it focuses more on Michael Giacchino himself than on the film he's making. 

Indeed, all throughout "Director By Night," director Anthony Giacchino (the Academy Award winning documentary filmmaker also happens to be Michael's brother) cuts away between footage of the set and clips from homemade films that the brothers made with their friends as a kid, as well as conversations with the brothers' adorable parents. Several times throughout the documentary, we cut to footage or simply phone conversations with Michael's mother, sending her support, or even having candid conversations about giving her kids arguably too little supervision when making their home films. (They were constantly using real swords, attaching fireworks to a kid's back, or using actual dynamite.)

Michael Giacchino's mother Josephine is a standout of "Director By Night," but even better is how she impacts and changes an iconic element of Marvel movies and improves it tenfold: the Marvel Studios fanfare.

Is Batman in the MCU?

You know the Marvel Studios fanfare, the orchestral intro wherein we see tiny images from Marvel Comics turn into footage from the Marvel movies until the words Marvel Studios come on screen. It shows up in every Marvel movie, as well as the Disney+ TV shows, and it has always been the same, with extremely few titles tweaking it slightly, sometimes swapping out the fanfare for a different song. For example, "Moon Knight" changed only the music by subbing in the tune "A Man Without Love," while "Avengers: Endgame" actually did something pretty cool by removing the snapped and killed characters from "Infinity War." 

"Director By Night" takes it a step further by bringing in Michael Giacchino's mother for the fanfare. Early in the documentary, Anthony Giacchino asks his mother to read a short biography about her son Michael out loud, recounting his time at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and his work composing video game scores for Steven Spielberg, all while the Marvel Studios fanfare played over footage of a young Michael Giacchino. It is a cute, sweet tribute to the composer-turned-director and the way his career led him to become a regular composer for Marvel Studios and now a feature director, and it doesn't even need the actual Marvel Studios logo on screen.

But then, the narration stops, and Giacchino's mother starts adding her own suggestions, saying the text reads like a standard bio and suggests they mention how dedicated and smart her son is. Josephine even specifically mentions a little animation project he did for his first communion, to which Anthony Giacchino looks a little exasperated. At some point she even asks what the MCU is, and whether "The Batman" is part of it, because isn't it all just the same? No? Then could you please explain that to my mom?

If there's a lesson here, it's that there should be more Marvel titles that play with the fanfare the same way 20th Century Fox movies often did.