Marvel’s cinematic universe is built on superhuman spectacle. And all of those gravity-defying visuals have to be created by special effects — something that has earned the company some negative press in recent years for allegedly overworking (and underpaying) some of the artists who create the imagery for their films and television shows.
Marvel continues to crank out upwards of half a dozen movies and Disney+ shows every single year — and, based on a new report that quotes anonymous VFX workers, they are not only competing with other studios and big-budget blockbusters for talent, they might even be competing with themselves as well.
Two out of three sources quoted in an article at Vulture claim that VFX resources were diverted from Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania in order to give “priority” to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which was also being edited around the same time last year. One unnamed worker says that as far as they saw, “All the money went to [Wakanda Forever]. All the best resources went to that. It’s understandable given the context — with Chadwick [Boseman] and everything and how well the first film did. But it did diminish the ability to carry Ant-Man all the way through.” And a second worker confirmed that “Wakanda Forever took precedence … [Quantumania] was on the back burner — less of a pressing thing.” That second artist also claimed that two-second shots would sometimes “have to be redone 20 times to get the look that they want.”
I have no insider knowledge of Marvel’s post-production process; I’m just a guy who watches everything that they make. And purely from an outside observer’s perspective, it does seem like the studios’s quality control has taken a dip in recent years, and particularly in the realm of visuals. Maybe it’s just because after 15 years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it takes more to impress me. But it does seem like there are fewer and fewer “Wow!” moments in these films and shows than there used to be.
Whether that’s because of budget, or too many productions all at once leading to a shortage of skilled VFX workers, or something else entirely, I couldn’t say. Typically, visual effects get better and better all the time. That does not seem the case with Marvel’s productions lately. (In fact, it seems closer to the opposite.) And it’s a little surprising to hear that resources were supposedly diverted to Wakanda Forever from Quantumania, because I thought that some parts of the new Black Panther looked even more unpolished than Ant-Man.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is now playing in theaters. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is now streaming on Disney+.
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