* BEWARE OF SPOILERS in this video, especially if you haven’t seen all of the Marvel films through Captain America: The Winter Soldier (especially that film in particular) *
Superhero films are at the same time celebrated and reviled for the bombastic spectacle that fill most of their 120+ minutes of screen time. From diehard fans to erudite critics, many often feel that all the focus on visual effects, explosions, and all of that cacophony comes at the expense of character and moments of real humanity, rendering such films as hollow and plastic as the action figures that are sold to collectors and kids at your local Walmart.
But fan Gen Kim has created a video that cobbles together a series of quieter moments from the most successful and expansive superhero movie franchise of all time: The Marvel Cinematic Universe. If he had made a video of every hero’s biggest moments, he would have had no shortage of content to cram into 5 minutes. But Kim took a different tack in approaching these colorful characters. He put together a collection filled with darker, sometimes sweeter, but definitely more human moments, spanning everything from Iron Man to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, most likely grabbed from the existing Blu-Ray releases, which is why it all looks so good (watch it in 1080p full screen if you can) and why you won’t see Guardians of the Galaxy represented in the clip. And while characters like Hawkeye and Bruce Banner (Hulk) are missing from the video (the latter likely due to two different actors portraying him over two separate films), I love seeing that more than a few supporting characters and even some villains get some screen time. But what I find most gratifying is that the humor, the fear, the joy, the despair, and the triumph that each character experiences shines through in every moment of this video. It’s even more stunning to realize how seamlessly the clips fit together, despite being directed and shot by more than a handful of different directors and film crews.
Set to the song “Stay Alive” by José González, the video evokes an indie film vibe, but sets the tone perfectly for these less flashy interludes between the action we so often focus on when we go to the theaters. It reminds us that Marvel actually has figured out how to do the superhero movie right. It’s not just about being faithful to the source material, or picking the perfect villain or costume design, and it’s not even about making sure that the hero faces down the most thrilling battle of his life for the fate of the world. Marvel knows that for all the convoluted plots, there are characters involved in their universe, super or not, and it shows on the faces of the actors as they move through scenes that many just write off as filler or the perfect moment to sneak off to the bathroom.
All I can say is that I hope Marvel doesn’t ask to have this video taken down for copyright shenanigans (or other dumb lawyery stuff). This is a real tribute to your hard work, Marvel. We get it. And more importantly, it shows that YOU get it. We geeks have no problem living in this imaginary world. It’s nice to see a Hollywood movie studio figure out how to do more than dress up a group actors in gaudy colors just to have them pose and punch things for two hours twice a year.