After single-handedly dominating Hollywood for more than a decade, cracks have begun to appear in Marvel’s seemingly infallible reputation. A recent report by Vulture details the toxic work conditions VFX artists had to put up with while working on a Marvel project.
The report details their experiences and describes it as Marvel perpetuating “crunch culture.” The anonymous VFX artist, who spoke to the publication, was quoted saying, “Maybe a month or two before a movie comes out, Marvel will have us change the entire third act. It has really tight turnaround times. So yeah, it’s just not a great situation all around.”
“Some of the problems I mentioned are universal to every show and every project. But you end up doing less overtime on other shows. You end up being able to push back more on the directors. When they say something like, ‘Hey, I want this,’ you can be like, ‘This doesn’t make sense.’ Not every client has the bullying power of Marvel,” they added.
With billions grossed over the box office, Marvel has become perhaps the most dominating production house in Hollywood. Reports allege that this has given it an overwhelming influence over the direction of industry practices, including long working hours.
Describing the conditions, the artist said, “When I worked on one movie, it was almost six months of overtime every day. I was working seven days a week, averaging 64 hours a week on a good week. Marvel genuinely works you really hard. I’ve had co-workers sit next to me, break down, and start crying. I’ve had people having anxiety attacks on the phone.”
In the last few years, Marvel movies have drawn criticism over the deteriorating VFX standards across its properties. Just recently, images from She-Hulk: Attorney at Law were revealed, and fans called it out for poorly done computer-generated faces and shoddy animations. In the past, Thor: Love and Thunder director Taika Waititi, has mocked his film’s CGI work.
According to reports, Marvel has been infamous for last-minute changes and sweeping edits. It has also drawn criticism for hiring indie directors, who have little experience working with VFX, and seldom struggle with work-in-progress shots, which leads to major edits.
Some artists have also complained that most of the time they do not work with a director of photography and have to develop their own shot for an action sequence, which results in an inconsistent visual style. This problem might also grow larger, considering that Marvel has just announced over half a dozen movies and TV projects scheduled to release in the coming years.
(Image credits: Disney, Marvel)