EDITORIAL: Highflyer Presents, "The Enemies Of Marvel Studios"

EDITORIAL: Highflyer Presents, "The Enemies Of Marvel Studios"

With the recent announcement that Edgar Wright is no longer directing the upcoming Antman film, Highflyer takes a look back at the controversies Marvel Studios have faced in its journey to success and who he believes were in the wrong.

There is no denying that in the movie industry today, Marvel Studios is one of the most impressive products out there. Not only do they keep bringing out great movies, but each movie has been able to leave an impressionable mark on the superhero genre as a whole; with many of the films breaking records in their wake. It has managed to bring superheroes to the forefront of cinema and entertainment. Not to mention successfully brought iconic characters to life and giving them new dimensions.
However, like the two saying goes 'You don't make 500 million friends without making a few enemies.' (Social Network) and 'I've never met anyone with a lot of money who didn't have to step on someone to get it.' (Ultimate Spider-Man).

Like every studio, you will always have your fair share of controversy and Marvel Studios is no exeption. Whenever there is an unpleasant parting of ways your bound to hear your classic 'He said, she said' so when there isn't a defining explanation, it is left to the general audience to come to their own conclusion or take the side of either party. So below, I will tackle each controversy Marvel Studios has encountered over the past few years. Despite my love for Marvel Studios I will tackle each subject without bias and please remember this is based on my opinion. So now...

Lets get started.









MCU Profile
Marvel Studio Movie Iron Man 2 (2010)
Role/Character Ivan Vanko/Whiplash
Current relationship with Marvel Studios Strained

History:  Iron Man 2 served as a great disappointment to many fans, especially when you consider its predecessor  'Iron Man'. While the most common complaint of the movie was the uninspired story and felt like a giant commercial for The Avengers, one glaring weak point in the film was it's villain. Many consider Whiplash to be the weakest villain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He never felt like a real character and came off as one-dimensional. One can't help but wonder, with a great character like Loki, why weren't Marvel able to do the same with Whiplash?

Rourke had the following to say about the matter,  “When I did Ivan Vanko in Iron Man, I fought… You know, I explained to Justin Theroux, to the writer, and to Jon Favreau, that I wanted to bring some other layers and colors to the character, not just make this Russian a complete murderous revenging bad guy. And they allowed me to do that. Unfortunately, the people at Marvel just wanted a one-dimensional bad guy, so most of the performance ended up the floor.” 

I think most of us can agree that something was definitely wrong with the overall making of Iron Man 2 and Mickey's character was certainly one of them. Whether it was due to time constraints or money budgets I believe Marvel should have found a way to incorporate layers to the character since we now know that Iron Man 2 suffered for it. Marvel Studios failed on this one.


MCU Profile
Marvel Studio Movie The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Role/Character Bruce Banner/The Hulk
Current Relationship With Marvel Studios Seemingly Resolved

History: The feud between Edward Norton and Marvel Studios is probably the most infamous one out there at the moment. To this day, there has never been a 100% clear picture as to what happened. When news broke out that Norton would not be returning to the role and would not star in The Avengers, I was very disappointed. Not only because Edward Norton is one of my favorite actors out there or the fact that I thought and still do think he did a great job as Bruce Banner (He is my favorite Bruce Banner) but I honestly felt that the MCU had lost it's magic and the illusion of an actual shared universe had been broken. This wasn't a minor recasting either. Had it been Ross, I might have let thats slide but they changed the main character. I assure you, I have nothing against Mark Ruffalo and I think he did a fine job. In fact, had it been the other way round and Mark Ruffalo was the original Bruce Banner and replaced with Norton, I would have been equally disappointed due to the lack of consistency.
Kevin Feige's basic response to the recasting can be summed up in 'Norton wasn't a team player' and that 'he was too hard to work with.' And that is the explanation many fans have seemed to roll with. Whenever the Norton situation is brought up all I hear is 'Norton had a huge ego' or 'Norton was a pain' or 'Norton was greedy' and for a while I had accepted that notion. But there were a few revelations that changed my mind.

  • Initially, Norton didn't want to star in The Incredible Hulk but when he met up with Louis Letterrier, he liked their vision and was promised some control over the script.
  • Despite, doing a lot of work on the script, Norton did not get writer's credit.
  • A lot of (important) character development was cut out of the movie.
  • Louis Letterrier's statement that most of the difficulties were played up by the media.
"Honesty" is something I believe is key in a situation like this. So when I read Kevin Feige's statement which included how Norton did not 'embody the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members.' I was puzzled by the contrast with what he said about Norton's casting when he was interviewed prior to the controversy.

Now before you claim I'm being biased you have to try and put yourself in shoes of both parties. The best anology I can give is imagine J.K Rowling gave you a chance to write a the last Harry Potter novel. You put all that hard work and Blueberry comes in and takes all the depth and darkness to make it more family friendly so your book ends up looking like Percy Jackson. Fortunatey, even in it's cut down form, The Incredible Hulk is still a good film. It is just a little disheartening of what could have been had the scenes been left in.
Whatever the case, there seems like there isn't any bad blood between Norton and Marvel Studios. Despite, Feige's statement giving off a 'F*ck you vibe, no harsh remark is made by Norton.Unlike Mickey Rourke, Norton's thoughts on the matter have all seemed to be respectful and professional; saying 'That the hulk is bigger than all of us. That's why we love him, right?' I have to go with Norton on this one guys. 
Fortunately, the role is in the safe hands of Mark Ruffalo (why do people make it sound like hulk was the first role he did a good job in?) and everyone has moved on. Unlike some people...

MCU Profile
Marvel Studio Movie Iron Man (2008)
Role/Character James Rhodes
Current Relationship With Marvel Strained

History: The recasting of Edward Norton isn't the only recasting that has taken place in the MCU. In the 2010 film Iron Man 2,  Terrance Howard was replaced with Don Cheadle as James Rhodes (War Machine). The only part of this move that bothers me is the lost banter. I really felt that the chemistry and banter Terrence and RDJ shared was gold. The way they displayed a 'big brother and little brother' dynamic is something I enjoyed watching. But let's put my personal feelings aside. Its pretty obvious that money played a large factor in this mess. It was reported that Terrence was paid the largest salary in the first Iron Man movie which is weird since most people would say that Downey was main star and reason for its success. However, this is also business and business can work in different ways.  It is also said the former Iron Man director Jon Favreau did not enjoy working with Howard and had to repeatedly reshoot and cut his scenes.  With these facts alone, we can see things were pretty messy. Recently, Howard had some things to say about the whole issue.

The fact that this mother*beep* isn't surving time in some federal penetentionary is a huge hot heeping pile of horse*beep*! (Sorry for the Robocop reference).
All jokes aside, you get the feeling that he feels somewhat betrayed by RDJ and has some bitterness left in him. Whether he did get betrayed or not is something I can't claim to know. Downey himself has not replied to the claims so we are all left in limbo. So while I'm leaning towards the sidez of Mickey Rourke and Edward Norton in their conflict with Marvel, I honestly don't know where I stand in the Howard vs Marvel Studios controversy.

What do you think of the controversies? Do you believe Marvel Studios have always been in the right? What side are you on? Voice below! 
And like always, its been a pleasure.


Posted By:
Member Since 1/18/2013
Filed Under "Marvel Comics" 5/27/2014
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CherryBomb - 5/27/2014, 6:02 PM
Interesting article!
All studios will have their feuds and problems, it's inevitable. Marvel has done great at setting up a coherent universe so far so as the years go on they'll do whatever they can to secure that, since it's the main thing that Marvel has going for them. So it's understandable that they will want to be more involved and make damn well sure that every movie fits into the "tone" that they've set up.

As for Norton, he does seem to be very passionate about his work and really did like playing the character until the drama got involved.
CherryBomb - 5/27/2014, 6:03 PM
Ruffalo is a terrific actor, no one is debating that but I just feel as though Norton really made it his own.
I miss him.
WinterSoldier33 - 5/27/2014, 6:23 PM
Nice article

I agree with everything you said
MrBlackJack - 5/27/2014, 6:30 PM
Interesting article indeed. But, I guess it really does come down to business, which at times can be a positive thing and at others a pain in the ass. Thumbs up.
MrBlackJack - 5/27/2014, 6:31 PM
And nice use of the Norton GIFs!
GinjaNinja - 5/27/2014, 6:41 PM
Norton was never associated with Marvel Studios, the incredible hulk was made by universal. MS didn't like him as hulk and recast him. Howard was sold take the money we give you or leave. He chose to leave. Mickey makes sense I guess. Didn't want to be one demensional, marvel made him one demensional.
Pasto - 5/27/2014, 6:43 PM
Ten Poles Rammed in
MightyZeus - 5/27/2014, 6:54 PM
This is a very well written and articulated article. It's crazy to know that most of these actors have had problems with the studio before. Alan Taylor had his problems while directing Thor: The Dark World and bad mouthed James Gunn over that end credits scene.
As everyone else has stated, we would all like to know what happened between Wright and Marvel Studios.
MrBlackJack - 5/27/2014, 7:01 PM
Here ya go
LexHairFight - 5/27/2014, 7:02 PM
Norton has a history of being difficult to work with. He was apparently a nightmare on that Ben Stiller movie about the rabbi and the priest. Howard wanted more money, so much so they hired a more celebrated actor in his place for less. IM2 had issues, many of which seem Marvel studio's fault. However, they seem to have used that movie as a learning experience and grew from there.

Wright... well we just don't know. The idea of the studio execs not liking the moral theme of the movie is an interesting one, but we don't know if its true. Ant-Man has some really messed up stuff. I still love Wright, I'd love to see whatever he had planned.
GliderMan - 5/27/2014, 7:03 PM
I loved Iron Man 2 and I thought Whiplash was badass as shit. You guys are way too [frick]ing picky.
Highflyer - 5/27/2014, 7:05 PM
JoJo1982 - 5/27/2014, 7:10 PM
I agree with Cherry

I thought norton was better
Desrow - 5/27/2014, 7:10 PM
LOL the enemies of Marvel STudios
JoJo1982 - 5/27/2014, 7:14 PM
I even thought Howard was better too
LittleDanglyThing - 5/27/2014, 7:14 PM
Terrence Howard did not feel like Rhodey at all. He was way too soft.
I'm actually really glad he was replaced with Don Cheadle as he does the role justice and is the better actor of the two anyway.
TheFalcon2 - 5/27/2014, 7:15 PM
Excellent article I agree with everything, I only want to say I love Mark over Ed if I was to choose.
TheFalcon2 - 5/27/2014, 7:16 PM
I would prefer Terence Howard over Don.
Demongod20 - 5/27/2014, 7:18 PM
I'm glad the got rid of Norton. I didn't like the incredible hulk at all. It was better than Hulk but that's not saying much.
KnobGoblin - 5/27/2014, 7:19 PM
Downey is their top star, so what he wants, he gets. It's no coincidence that both Hulk and War Machine were re-cast with his friends after Norton and Howard were booted, and his buddy Shane Black took over the IRON MAN franchise.
JoJo1982 - 5/27/2014, 7:19 PM
Also I wish they didn't killed off whiplash in im2

And just hand him over to shield at the end of im2 instead

So we could see him in future MCU movies again
TheAmericanPatriot - 5/27/2014, 7:21 PM
I would have gave you a thumbs-up if you had really called out the true enemy of the MCU, the DC Commie Fanboys that roam this site. You dirty freedom hating Commies know who you are!
JoJo1982 - 5/27/2014, 7:21 PM
Don never had that look like he's a badass

Terrence Howard had that look............. Until you hear his voice
Bodwulf - 5/27/2014, 7:22 PM
I prefer Ruffalo. Missed Terrence Howard as Rhodey. Found Don Cheadle a jarring distracting replacement. Rourke did a good job. Marvel does not make their films about the villains. Go to DC if you want that.
TheRationalNerd - 5/27/2014, 7:24 PM
Still think it's kind of messed up how everything went down with Howard and Downey. Norton and Howard were great and they wil be missed. Especially Norton!
Negaduck - 5/27/2014, 7:25 PM
All of your examples are of people who have been known to be difficult to work with themselves.
ThePowerCosmic - 5/27/2014, 7:25 PM
You don't make a cake without breaking a few eggs.

It sucks this stuff happens, but I totally understand why it does with marvel. They are doing something unheard of in films with this shared universe. They don't want it running every which way. That has been a problem with several other studios.

"Sometimes to build a new World you have to tear the old one down...and that makes enemies."

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Marvel Studios has made my favorite CBMs. So whatever hardships they have to work through to do this, it's working.

Let's not forget the large majority actors and directors have had a great experience with Marvel Studios.
Rulk - 5/27/2014, 7:26 PM
Nice editorial... but if you research Ed Norton... you'll find he had had plenty of feuds. Like with AMERICAN HISTORY X:

Edward Norton vs. Tony Kaye

Cranston isn’t the only actor who has had problems with Tony Kaye. Edward Norton famously sparred with the director during the filming of “American History X” after Kaye attempted to cut the 200-hour shoot down to 87 minutes.

Norton stepped in as editor and Kay removed his name from the movie, telling Entertainment Weekly that the actor was “a narcissistic dilettante” who “raped” the film. Norton responded to Kaye’s rant, "If Tony Kaye hadn't wanted to make the movie with me, the studio wouldn't have made the movie with Tony Kaye." We guess these two won’t be working together again in the near future. - Xfinity Entertainment Programmers

So when you hear enough from sources that Norton is hard to work with... you believe the sources. When there's smoke, there's fire.

CaptShipwreck - 5/27/2014, 7:28 PM
Nice article please don't make it a flame bait article forum
Maestro - 5/27/2014, 7:28 PM
Eh. Marvel is about bringing Marvel comic books to life, not the actors or directors interpretations to life. People need to remember this.

It's funny that people love when things stick to the source, yet here we have people wanting marvel to allow things to be changed. I'm sorry but unless its a comic book writer or someone in the cbm industry, Marvel will be in the right every time, its their characters. There's fox and dc if it doesn't suit the actor/director.
MrBlackJack - 5/27/2014, 7:29 PM
JoJo1982 - 5/27/2014, 7:29 PM


*thumbs up*
TheRationalNerd - 5/27/2014, 7:30 PM
It'd be different if they actually did something useful with the War Machine. But his character just looks useless right now. Hoping he does more than his signature door kicking in AoU.
Maestro - 5/27/2014, 7:31 PM
Someone in the comic book industry*
JoJo1982 - 5/27/2014, 7:32 PM
Just watched that video up there with the interview of Terence Howard

All I gotta say is....... Damn that's kind of messed up
jTiso - 5/27/2014, 7:33 PM
Good article, and well-thought out. But to play the other side -- I agree with many of your view points, and Mickey R. totally got positioned as a pawn for the story. When you bring up these "controversies" you have to put them into context, though. After August, Marvel Studios will have then produced 10 films with A-Listers to relatively unknown talent with great results and minimum problems.

"If it bleeds it leads" to coin the news industry phrase. There will always be problems and conflicts, which will get more spotlight since troubles at Marvel Studios rarely happen. I mean, 10 films, 3 in development or shooting, and they've only had a handful of problems? Pretty good in my book.
jTiso - 5/27/2014, 7:38 PM
You beat me to all the positives and success Marvel Studios has had with its talent. Well said.
NoPhucksGiven - 5/27/2014, 7:42 PM
You forgot Alan Taylor. alan taylor was pissed marvel cut alot out of Thor tdw. and where the [frick] is the hulks girl betty. both jane and pepper were in the avengers in someway. hell even peggy was in the deleted scenes. Even coulsons girl got a mention. and why are there like zero black women in the mcu.
ParisSun - 5/27/2014, 7:44 PM
Neither Howard or Cheadle were great in the role. Should be younger guy who can act. Too bad Derrick Luke was already cast in First Avenger. Aldis Hodge would have been better for the role than Cheadle or Howard.
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