It has now been revealed why a moment from “Black Panther” still causes misunderstanding and ridicule today. And the reason is really not nice.
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Even if the works of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) are occasionally praised for their special effects – just think of Thanos – they also rain harsh criticism. Probably no scene was so mocked as the final fight between T’Challah (Chadwick Boseman) and Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) in “Black Panther”. For many, the badly animated fighters and their unreal movements were more reminiscent of graphics from the days of the first Playstation console.
You can stream “Black Panther” and almost all other MCU titles on Disney+
It has now become known why this scene stands out in such a negative way. A VFX artistwho wished to remain anonymous contacted via vulture with a protest letter to the public. In it, the person described the difficult collaboration with Marvel, whose leaders are truly not presented in a good light. One of the comparatively harmless criticisms is that no cameramen present during post-production be, which is why the VFX artists often have to stage the setting themselves. This causes a lot of inconsistencies and incorrect transitions:
“A good example of what happens in those situations is the fight scene at the end of ‘Black Panther.’ The physics are wrong at all. All of a sudden the characters are jumping around, doing all these crazy moves like action figures in space. Suddenly the camera makes these movements that it hasn’t made for the rest of the film. It all looks a little like it came out of a cartoon. It has the destroyed the visual language of the film.”
The following video shows you how much work goes into an MCU scene:
Panic attacks and working overtime for six months
In addition to a sub-optimal qualitative end result, the person above all criticizes the employment conditions that they and others are forced into by Marvel’s orders. Marvel is such a house number that companies practically bend over backwards to get orders for their films and series, so hopefully this will lead to more orders. Anyone who doesn’t react will end up on the black list and will not receive new orders in the future. The special effects companies are constantly undercutting each other because of this, which saves Marvel a lot of money but at the same time leads to insane situations: “While I would normally have a team of ten VFX artists for a non-Marvel film, on a Marvel film I get Film two, including myself.”
The work as such is also excessively onerous. So there are always spontaneous changes, sometimes shortly before publication, although Marvel then insists on the announced dates. For example, a month or two before a theatrical release, Marvel threw the entire third act of a film overboard, which meant extra work. “When I was working on a film, it was almost six months of daily overtime. I worked seven days a week, on average 64 hours a week in a good week,” the person calculates. Colleagues collapsed right next to her, started crying or on the phone panic attacks had.
The fact that the VFX artists from Marvel “pixel fucked” will. This unflattering term describes the fact that Marvel executives would criticize even the smallest mistakes that viewers would never notice in a normal viewing and would practically demand the revision of individual pixels. In addition, it is often unclear to those responsible what exactly they actually want, which is why the VFX artists themselves should throw everything overboard at a late point in time for experiments that may then never be used.
The reason for this is that the MCU often works with directors who are unfamiliar with special effects. This is hardly surprising, after all, the MCU often hires smaller filmmakers* for big blockbusters, who previously were mostly only responsible for indie works.
That must and can change
An absolutely devastating reckoning, which not for the first time accuses Marvel of a miserable handling of VFX artists. Just recently, employees of a special effects company hired by Marvel took to Reddit against the entertainment giant, complaining about working conditions there with similar tones and virtually the same criticism. However, the person who unpacked the Vulture article named a few seemingly easy things that could be changed to make significant improvements.
For example, the person demands that Marvel better teach its directors how to work with special effects and work out a clearer vision from the beginning to save the companies unnecessary work. In addition, a trade union association of VFX artists would help with regard to the stressful working conditions. There are moves in that direction, which is perhaps badly needed given Marvel’s plans. According to the current status, we can expect 17 cinema films by 2026 alone, not to mention all the MCU series and specials on Disney+. And of course they all want to be filled with special effects…
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