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Marvel Studios has been having a run like no studio in the history of film. It feels like Marvel simply can do no wrong. After more than a decade and more than 20 films, Marvel just keeps churning out hits that are both critically and commercially successful. Robert Downey Jr. has been there since day one, and he thinks he might know just why everything with Marvel has worked so well.
In a recent appearance on Joe Rogan's show, Robert Downey Jr. called the creative team behind the Marvel films, specifically, Joe and Anthony Russo "genius." The reason? Because they intentionally create difficult situations for the characters to get out of, which forces them to find creative solutions. According to Downey...
I just think that the real genius of the Marvel creative team, and the Russo Brothers who did the last few. Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame. They go, ‘We love writing ourselves into a corner. We love it.’ Because, then, it activates all of those ‘How do we get out of purgatory juices’ and then you get the next right idea.
There's certainly nothing that's going to get you thinking creatively quite like killing off half your characters. That's the situation the Russo Brothers created for themselves in Avengers: Infinity War that they then needed to find a solution to. It was never really a question that the heroes would return, it was simply a question of whether the way that it happened would be satisfying. Based on the box office and reviews, it seems like it largely was.
And while probably not intentional, this same idea also sort of works when crossing between writers and directors on other franchises. The writers of Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame Christopher Markus and Steephen McFeely, have spoken about how movies like Thor: Ragnarok forced them to take a different approach to Thor than what was being initially planned. Because not every movie can take everything that's going to come later into account, there are going to be points where somebody is going to have to find a creative way to get a character from where they are to where they need to be.
For the most part, nobody working on Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe needs to write themselves out of any corners. All the characters who will be returning are left in places where they can easily go in basically any direction. All of the characters who will be debuting can obviously start off wherever they need to. But we can be sure that before long all these characters will go through massive changes that will require creative solutions. As long as Marvel keeps thriving on the challenge, we'll likely only continue to see massive success.