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A Fan’s Critique of the Color Grading in Marvel Movies

by Lambert Varias

YouTuber Patrick (H) Willems thinks that the many of Marvel’s movies could use a lot more color. In his video he compares how movies like The Avengers, Captain America, and Guardians of the Galaxy look like “empty parking lots” compared to the likes of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Mad Max: Fury Road and Jupiter Ascending.

Patrick says that these movies were shot on the same digital camera: the Arri Alexa. Like many high-end digital cameras, the Alexa can output video files that are highly editable, especially with regards to their colors. To emphasize or apply certain colors to the film as we saw in Fury Road, filmmakers use a post-production process called color grading.

The long and short of it is that a washed out image isn’t necessarily worse than in-your-face colors, and vice versa. It’s just that Patrick believes Marvel’s movies would look better with punchier and higher contrast color grading.

Me? I don’t really notice it. I think the filmmakers behind the movies in question are aware of what they’re doing, and either they decided or Marvel instructed them to keep the muted colors to make the movies look more realistic. For me, the more flagrant issue with Marvel movies is their misuse of quick cuts and close ups for action scenes, which often result in nigh-useless blurs. We could easily bemoan the MCU’s nonsensical plots as well, but seeing as these are clearly made for family viewing, I’m not going to bother overanalyzing them.

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