While, without a doubt, this partnership has its benefits, it could have its downsides none-the-less.
One of the benefits is the immense amount of money Disney has that it can through behind Marvel projects. Imagine the budget on Marvel’s upcoming movies? Or the animation quality behind their films and series? These things can’t be denied; with Disney in their corner, Marvel’s movie and cartoon quality will increase tenfold.
Or imagine walking around Disneyland and getting tapped on the shoulder by Spider-Man? Or taking a photo with Wolverine and Cyclops? Or riding Captain America’s Wild Ride? This partnership would do wonders for the visibility of Marvel characters, introducing them to millions of children and their parents every year.
But, for every positive to this deal, there are about a hundred downsides. Yes, Disney can provide Marvel with top-notch animation services. But will they step in and censor what they feel isn’t family-friendly enough? We have all seen how Disney has bastardized the tales of Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen, which were dark, sordid stories to begin with. Will Disney do this with Marvel? While, for the most part, Marvel films and cartoons are fairly tame, but there have been exceptions to the rule. Hulk vs., for instance, has quite a bit of over-the-top violence. And the Punisher films have been bloody and grotesque over the years. I’m worried that Disney would step in and say, “Nope, can’t do this” and destroy the loyalty to the characters.
But let’s not forget the services Marvel can offer Disney. Top notch comic writers and artists can go a long way to a company that has made comic books based on its characters. Will Marvel have to start publishing comics based on Mickey Mouse and Uncle Scrooge? Or will Disney continue to publish these stories, with Marvel’s army of writers and artists in tow? Will doing these stories keep these artists and writers from contributing to the Marvel stories, bringing down their quality? I would hate to see Marvel’s characters suffer because of a business relationship between two companies.
My opinion of this situation is that Disney wants to answer the partnership that its rival, Warner Brothers, has. Warner Brothers has owned Marvel rival, DC Comics, for years, and things have worked out pretty well on that end. Movies based on DC properties have, for the most part been well made. Appearances at theme parks are fantastic money makers, as evidenced by Six Flags and their numerous roller coasters and rides by DC Comics characters. And it doesn’t seem that the quality of DC Comics suffers due to creators being on projects about Bugs Bunny or Daffy Duck.
But this relationship hasn’t always been the strongest partnership creatively. For instance, with DC being owned by Warner Brothers, a big-time movie studio, then Warner Brothers would, naturally, make all movies based on DC characters. Makes sense, right? But what if Warner Brothers decides to put all DC based films on hold, like they did in January of 2009? What happens then? With the success of Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk in 2008, you would think DC would be frothing at the mouth to create a movie based on the Flash or Green Lantern, instead of bleeding Batman dry. But they haven’t been given that chance, because of parent company Warner Brothers. However, were they a separate entity, DC would be able to shop the franchise around. By taking their property to Sony or 20th Century Fox, DC’s other characters would have a chance.
I would hate to see Marvel suffer the same fate. For some time, Marvel had a good thing going for them. Since the turn of the century, their movies had all become big-budget, blockbuster successes. Their animation team is at their strongest, with Wolverine and the X-Men and their direct to DVD films they release every so often. Despite the financial woes Marvel suffered during the 1990’s, with being on the verge of bankruptcy, fending off the likes of Carl Ichan and his desire to sell the company piece by piece, and finally being bailed out by ToyBiz, a company that made action figures based on the Marvel franchise, Marvel has managed to pull ahead and become a heavy hitter in the industry, all but burying amateur upstart Image Comics.
This buyout decision is clearly not a financial one. Marvel is stable enough where it doesn’t need a backer to keep them above water. The decision to purchase Marvel rests purely on Disney’s shoulders. And I keep going back to the one reason I stated before. And I’m afraid of it. Disney wants a partnership like Warner Brothers. I can’t say for certain that I don’t like this news. But I can say I’m extremely hesitant of the future of Marvel. I will have to wait and see what happens, but my fingers will be crossed.