Marvel studios is undoubtedly very good at making superhero movies. It has created an entire cinematic universe spanning 14 films in just eight years, and most of them are actually pretty good. Some of them are genuinely great. But, as this YouTuber, a self-professed Marvel nerd, has rightly pointed out, there’s something about them that just looks a little off.
In an excellent and informative seven-minute video essay, Patrick Willems proposes that Marvel’s movies often look grey, flat, and a little bit dull because the color grading — the digital manipulation of all of the colors you see on screen — is all wrong. He says that after Thor, Marvel switched to digital cameras and, in doing so, lost all of the bright colors and true blacks of the analogue ones.
However, he’s quick to stress the point that the problem does not lie with digital cameras. Digital recording equipment is specifically designed to capture flat images in order to give the greatest amount of freedom in post-production. The problem, he said, was that unlike other studios, Marvel just hasn’t managed to perfect its color grading technique. Watch the full video above, but be warned: once you’ve seen it, you’ll never look at a Marvel movie the same way again.
After you’ve finished, here’s what we think about the age-old dilemma of Marvel vs. DC.