For awhile now other studios have been trying to crack the Marvel Studios formula–to varying degrees of success–though as far as I can tell their greatest problem is that they’re approaching it in that fashion (like so great mystery waiting to be solved), when in truth there’s isn’t any secret at all.
In a sense a lot of the heavy lifting has already been done for Marvel Studios in that they haven’t had to convince a large segment of the population to love their characters, since millions of us have grown up doing just that by reading comic books (something Warner Bros, the owners of DC Entertainment, are for some reason only just beginning to get).
So all Marvel had to do was essentially adapt their characters as true to the comics as common sense (a drawing and a actual person aren’t the same things, duh, so allowances had to be made or maybe the story of that character doesn’t quite fit in the framework that currently exists for Marvel features) would allow.
And there needs to be humor. I’m not talking about the pratfalls you might get from The Three Stooges or anything like that, but the often unintentional comedy that comes from people just interacting with each other.
Here’s an example from the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok.
What makes the scene work is that the humor’s derived not from some sort of pratfall, but from the natures of the chraracters involved.
Thor is typically depicted as mighty, noble, kind and headstrong; the latter bordering on egotistical. Combine his own nature with the Hulk (one of the stronger beings in all of Marvel) then you’re definitely going to get all sorts of friction, which can play out in various ways.
In other words, in the earlier scene Thor is acting true to his nature (in the second scene he’s just an object for Hulk’s ire).
It doesn’t make the movies comedies, but what it does is make them more naturalistic and less of a slog.
Because isn’t just living day to day difficult enough that just maybe you don’t want the movies you watch to get away from things for a little while to reflect that same esthetic?