Tone of Marvel Films Have Changed Since Iron Man

They're getting nuttier. 'New Yorker' digs deep into how the MCU has taken over Hollywood
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 10, 2023 1:30 PM CDT
Marvel Came, Changed, Conquered Hollywood
Gwyneth Paltrow plays Pepper Potts, assistant to billionaire industrialist Tony Stark, played by Robert Downey Jr. in "Iron Man."   (AP Photo/Paramount Pictures, Zade Rosenthal)

"Twenty years ago, few people would have bet that a struggling comic-book company would turn a bunch of second-string superheroes into movie icons—much less swallow the film industry whole," writes Michael Schulman in the New Yorker. And yet here we are in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. At this point, it's probably easier to list actors who are not involved with interwoven MCU projects than those who are, points out Schulman, who includes Timothee Chalomet in the former camp. ("No hard drugs and no superhero movies" is the advice Chalomet has said Leonardo DiCaprio once gave him.) Even luminaries such as Anthony Hopkins (who plays Thor's father, King Odin) are MCU players, though Hopkins tells Schulman it's "pointless" to attempt to act in the movies. "Sit on a throne, shout a bit," is how he puts it. And it's not just about the paychecks for these actors: "At some point, you want to be relevant," one agent says.

The story digs into the grumblings of many (including Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino) about MCU and the fears it is destroying traditional movie-making. It also explores the origin story of what has become the most successful franchise in entertainment history, writes Schulman. The story notes that the very first MCU film, Iron Man of 2008 with Robert Downey Jr., had something of an "adult" tone that has largely disappeared. "It’s very different from what Marvel is now,” says Thor screenwriter Zack Stentz. “It’s, like, 10 degrees off of reality, rather than a talking raccoon with machine guns and magic and parallel universes.” However, Iron Man did something vital: It planted the seed for the next, related movie. Read the full story. (Or check out other longform stories.)

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