It isn’t uncommon for a parent to have a favorite but it is weird when Kevin Feige goes out of his way to adopt and incorporate filmmaker Richard Donner’s motto — verisimilitude — before stepping onto the sets of his productions. When Marvel Studios had laid down roots in the franchise at a time when the CBM industry didn’t have much to show for itself, verisimilitude was what guided the fledgling CEO and his crew to the heights of success. And so, it becomes excruciatingly weird that in recent times, that motto has been lost to the wind and in its place, absurdism has taken root.
Kevin Feige Impresses Upon Richard Donner’s Superman I
In the beginning, the steps taken by Kevin Feige to erect the edifice that is now loved and celebrated by billions were rooted in the philosophies of Superman director, Richard Donner. Insomuch that the Marvel Studios President calls Donner’s film to be “to this day the archetype of the perfect superhero film origin story.” During a speech paying tribute to Richard Donner at the Oscars on June 7th, 2017, Feige claimed,
“The films Dick made inspired me to even want to go down that track. And, of course, in particular Superman the movie is still to this day the archetype of the perfect superhero film origin story. And we watch it before we make almost any one of our films and that’s been the case for the past 17 years since I left the fold to go work for Marvel.
There was a word — Dick has a very good vocabulary — and there was a word that I was never able to pronounce, but I always understood, which was verisimilitude. And he used that word while making Superman I… And it basically means be truthful, honor the source material, believe in it, take it seriously, and that is what we strive to do.”
In Kevin Feige’s perception, that film still stands as the exemplary reproduction of the perfect comic book movie to have been made. So much so that, “Jon Favreau on the very first Marvel Studios production copied that and put it above his doorway.” The irony isn’t lost on the fandom that stares aghast at today’s Phase 4 productions.
Kevin Feige Elaborates on the Evolution of Marvel Characters
It is a great sign for the creative and executive head of a franchise as massive and impactful as Marvel to not govern his territory with an iron-fisted rule. The ballads about Kevin Feige run far and wide conveying stories of his benevolence, of how he respects the writers and their ideas, and how he lets his directors take creative liberties with their works without instigating the age-old riot between the director’s vision and the production’s demand. In July 2021, Feige stated,
“As Stan Lee used to say, Marvel represents the world outside your window. And outside of our window, there are all different types of people in all different types of places with all different types of preferences and we want that to reflect in the MCU and in our fictional world as it is in our real world.”
As such, Marvel Studios has become a great place for the cultivation and nurturing of ideas that move with the ebb and flow of the contemporary time’s socio-cultural atmosphere. But that simultaneously lands the fandom in conflict with their beloved franchise when productions like Thor: Love and Thunder, in an effort to be progressive, induce cringe-worthy scenes and ruins plotlines that could have otherwise shined bright if the director only inclined a bit toward verisimilitude for the source material.
Source: Oscars 2017