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Sci-Fi Entertainment

Marvel Cinematic Universe Has a CGI Problem ( 398

Corey Hutchinson, writing for ScreenRant: The MCU may be the biggest thing in Hollywood these days, but there's no denying that its overuse of CGI is becoming more and more noticeable. Don't get us wrong; for the most part, the MCU's CGI has been great, even spectacular at times. Even at its worst, it's nowhere near the bottom of the pile in terms of poor special effects in superhero movies. And no single MCU entry has come anywhere close to the awfulness that is Justice League. But when a superhero franchise is pulling in this much money and getting consistently glowing reviews, the bar has to be set high, and several of the MCU's latest offerings just aren't clearing it. It's worth noting that the MCU's CGI shortcomings are a relatively recent thing. There's very little to complain about when it comes to the special effects behind their Phase One movies. They all hold up surprising well, in fact, and the same goes for the vast majority of Marvel's Phase Two films. There's a few dicey moments in Avengers: Age of Ultron, but it wasn't really until Captain America: Civil War kicked off Phase Three that any negative attention was paid to the MCU's effects work.

Take a moment to rewatch the second Black Panther clip that was released to the public a few weeks ago. Specifically, hone in on the 45 second mark, where you see Nakia shooting two guys, the second of which is very obviously computer-generated. Why the hell would they even bother to CGI that, you ask?

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Marvel Cinematic Universe Has a CGI Problem

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  • by ls671 ( 1122017 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2018 @06:41AM (#56156276) Homepage

    overuse of CGI is becoming more and more noticeable.

    Yes, I can understand that, especially if your CGI script is written in bash and you haven't patched your system against Shellshock. []

    Oh wait...

  • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2018 @06:47AM (#56156294)

    Serious question: Why does the bar has to be set high? They are there to make money, not to tell a story. That is just the side effect.
    As long as they are making enough by low standards, why do more expensive high standards if that means less profit?

    These movies are the fast food of the movies. Low quality for the masses. Nothing wrong with that, but do not expect anything it is not.

    The quality is good enough to make the most money, just as McD and others make 'food' that is just good enough. The principle was explained to me in this way:
    Fast food chains deliver 80% of the quality that they could deliver. The reason is that they always can reach that standard. It is high enough for most and low enough that they ALWAYS reach it. Imagine that they would deliver 95% most of the time and then suddenly they get a few days of 85%. People would be pissed and that will cost customers in the long run.

    With 80% they will create the expectation. You know what to expect and will not be disappointed. The same goes for these movies. You expect a certain standard and that is what you will get. All along with all other movies where you know that the most expensive actor will most likely survive till the end of the movie. Boy and girl get together or whatever standards are available.

    It is fast food and do not try to pretend it is fine dining. That does not mean fast food it bad. It is different.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <> on Tuesday February 20, 2018 @07:33AM (#56156374) Homepage Journal

      A lot of these movies are bad, and they are bad because they boil down to being fights between CGI good guys and CGI bad guys, none of whom you care about and which is nothing you haven't seen before.

      DC is actually far worse for that. Compare Nolan's Batman to Snyder's movies. Nolan was actually very conservative with the CGI and focused on the characters instead. You didn't notice most of the CGI because it was just there to enhance the acting and sets, not to create silly action figure fight scenes on obviously fake sets.

      It's not just that Batman is a more down-to-earth character either. Wonder Woman managed to do the same thing, it was a film about the character's coming of age and taking her place in the world as a champion of justice. When Snyder got hold of her he replaced her with a CGI model or pointed the camera at Gal Gadot's arse and it sucked.

      Directors who are obsessed with CGI treat the actors the same way - meat to create a certain image on screen, usually just some dude 'roiding out or some generic "hot babe" to wank over. And their movies all suck. And DC can't seem to figure this out.

      Marvel is doing much better. Sony keeps botching Spiderman and the Fantastic 4, but the other movies are actually pretty good. Avengers, Thor, Captain America, Guardians of the Galaxy, Dr. Strange, Ant Man and now Black Panther is probably the best of the lot, or at least in the top 3.

      • DC should rewatch the 1960s show and play the Arkham games and realise that what people really want is Batman beating the crap out of people.

      • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2018 @09:51AM (#56156716)

        To be fair Nolan's story attempted to portray a person without any super powers in the most realistic way possible, and even Snyder confirmed this: "What's your super power again? I'm Rich!"

        In much of the MCU the powers the heroes posses just don't lend themselves for going light on the CGI. It's easy to create a practical effect of a rich man's car. Much harder so to depict the lightning charged god of thunder.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          In much of the MCU the powers the heroes posses just don't lend themselves for going light on the CGI.

          But compare the MCU to the DCCU and actually the MCU is pretty light on CGI. In Justice League there were whole sections that were 90% CG characters on CG sets lasting for several minutes. The actors were only needed to mocap their movements and facial expressions to use as a starting point for the CG animators. The CG is really obvious too.

          While the MCU has its issues (especially colour grading), it does at least use a lot of actual humans doing actual stuff on camera, and the CG it seamless and barely not

      • he replaced her with a CGI model or pointed the camera at Gal Gadot's arse and it sucked.

        Isn't that the main reason the movie sold so well?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's getting to the point where they won't really need humans. Be cheaper to do it all CGI.

    They're pretty much cartoons as it is, why not go the whole hog?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 20, 2018 @07:16AM (#56156346)

    This says it well: []

    TL;DW: There is a shitload if CGI in movies today, and 90% of the time you never knew or could even imagine that it was CGI.
    The problem is, that you only start noticing it, when it is bad.
    And that is why CGI becomes associated with bad SFX.

  • by orlanz ( 882574 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2018 @07:23AM (#56156358)

    I think in almost all the group superhero movies, the story telling is kind of shit. And that's what movies, & comics should really be about... the story _telling_. The story has been here for decades, yet repeatedly they can't seem to properly tell it. Every time they just overpower the single bad guy, under power the heroes, and have a gang bang (really Aquaman couldn't hold a candle against Stephenwolf... underwater?!? I think Alfred & Gordon were more useful than Flash, Cyborg, & Aquaman combined.)

    Maybe the formula shouldn't be "some guy's vision of the hero".... because outside of Wonder Women's movie, and Iron Man 1; they been shit. Maybe the directors should pick some older comic nerds and incorporate their opinions into the scripts. Also, why are the theater versions of these movies less than the Blueray? Isn't that a spiral of encouring less people to go to theaters and thus poorer theater versions?

    Side Rant: Dear Apple, in what stupid universe does " almost..." autocorrect to "...I'm almost..."? Autocorrects the first word multiple times after the second as if Siri is absolutely sure I am wrong and doesn't want to offend me by correcting!! Seriously, are you guys that lost without Jobs QAing this garbage?

  • You're not actually watching the movie.

  • by sandbagger ( 654585 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2018 @08:06AM (#56156432)

    In addition to not rotating when pushing or punching things that are more massive than they are; the protagonists also seem to have an infinite amount of friction when it comes to the bottom of their feet.

    It really, really takes me out of the moment.

    Don't get me started on Wire-Fu.

    • In addition to not rotating when pushing or punching things that are more massive than they are; the protagonists also seem to have an infinite amount of friction when it comes to the bottom of their feet.

      It really, really takes me out of the moment.

      Don't get me started on Wire-Fu.

      Hmm... so an extensive knowledge of archaeology and history isn't the only thing that can ruin movies for you, a physics degree will do it too?

    • In addition to not rotating when pushing or punching things that are more massive than they are; the protagonists also seem to have an infinite amount of friction when it comes to the bottom of their feet.

      It really, really takes me out of the moment.

      Don't get me started on Wire-Fu.

      I was more annoyed when the animations in Avengers 2 moves through Escher space. It shows not only is there a lot of CGI it is apparently so lazy it is done in 2D and without making sure it matches what it is pasted on top of.

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      That was my problem with Pacific Rim. I kept thinking, "those streets aren't engineered to take that kind of ground pressure."

      As for the second shot in the clip linked above, I didn't notice it On closer viewing, yeah, it looks fake, but not really any faker than what Hollywood has been doing for decades with squibs, not to mention its very unrealistic but dramatically satisfying explosions. And it's not just Hollywood [].

  • by ytene ( 4376651 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2018 @08:33AM (#56156478)
    I did as Corey Hutchinson suggested and watched that moment in the clip, carefully, maybe a dozen or more times.

    I'm most assuredly not a CGI specialist, or even anything to do with film or television. However, I would hazard a guess: the crew shot that clip as part of the entire end-to-end series of shots needed to complete that portion of the story. Then, when they got the prints back and were looking at it in editing, they realised that something which happened on the balcony [i.e. the second guy getting shot] simply didn't work as they wanted it to.

    For reasons we don't understand, they then set up a green-screen shot and had an actor repeat the moves as if being shot directly, then composited it in to the main take. Unlike Corey, I don't think that what we see is a CGI moment, I think it's a human actor painted back in during editing.

    Does this quality as CGI or the over-use of CGI? I'm going to argue the negative and offer two reasons:-

    1. I don't think this is CGI per se. I think this is two sequences shot separately and then brought together via compositing.

    2. We have no way of knowing what the original shot looked like. But I'll give Marvel's editing team the benefit of the doubt and take on faith that this was the "least worst option". Marvel aren't in the habit of deliberately screwing up one of there movies when they have a better way on hand. [ Speaking of which, that would likely have been a complete re-shoot of that scene. We simply have no way of knowing if that was even possible... ]
    • by pz ( 113803 )

      I did the same thing, although with not quite as much determination, watching it only three or four times. My reaction: THAT? THAT is what you're going to complain about in terms of CGI? One small fleeting half-second of one person being shot so fast and so visibly small that you can't properly tell if it is or isn't CGI?

      There are so many other far more massive issues, and such a tiny one is a problem to the OP?

  • Well.. (Score:2, Informative)

    by ledow ( 319597 )

    "Why the hell would they even bother to CGI that, you ask?"

    I've not seen the clip but:

    No actor to pay, just a CGI company already commissioned to work on the project. No cameraman. Get the shot exactly as you like, and do it years after shooting. No studio required. No casting agent. No wardrobe. No safety equipment or risk. No insurance required for stuntmen. Get the perfect shot and adjust as you go. No working hours. No rights.

    No worker's unions for all those groups of unnecessary people. No r

    • by nasch ( 598556 )

      Studios don't use CGI because it's cheap. The actors are getting paid anyway, it's not as though they're hourly and you can save money by sending them home. That's a sunk cost. CGI adds to the cost of a movie, it doesn't save money. []

  • []

    https://english.stackexchange.... [] [] []

    Grammar nazis REPRESENT!



  • by mrthoughtful ( 466814 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2018 @10:06AM (#56156768) Journal

    Sorry - but this article is just clickbait. Someone is getting paid for the number of watches of black-panther-clip-dora-milaje-fight-scene at screen rant.
    Move along. Nothing interesting at all.

  • There is a very simple reason to CGI that shot - complexity. There are actually 2 shots here. The first is the 1st where the camera travels up to the top floor - that's all CGI except for the extras. Then the 2nd shot as it lifts over the edge of the banister. It's technically very challenging, if not impossible, to do that shot in one continuous movement. Just on a simple level, the camera in the 1st shot is on a crane - they would need to remove the banister mid-shot for it to get the final angle in

  • Originally it was an actor who eye-raped somebody in post production stage

  • I didn't really notice that the second guy shot was CGI while watching Black Panther. What I did notice was that everything was SUPER NOTICEABLY CGI when the climactic fight scene on the mag lev track starts.

    To me, that was the worst CGI I've seen in the MCU.

  • by Jeremi ( 14640 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2018 @12:12PM (#56157488) Homepage

    If the move is good, then bad CGI won't ruin it.

    If the movie is bad, then bad CGI won't redeem it.

    If the movie is mediocre, bad CGI might tip it into the "bad" category, but who cares? The movie was mediocre to begin with, and with so many movies being released, there's no reason to settle for watching mediocre ones.

  • by Rhipf ( 525263 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2018 @02:07PM (#56158266)

    Personally I found the obviously fake punches (kicks) to be more of a distraction than the CGI. If you are going to miss your punches by that much make sure the camera angle is such that it at least looks like contact was made.

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