Updated: Dec 13, 2020
Marvel 616 is an anthology documentary series from the house of mouse that covers a wide array of interesting topics about the Marvel brand. The eight episodes form an informative and well-produced series that features hour-long episodes that feel anything but. No two episodes in Marvel 616 will feel the same, as each episode feels more like an hour-long mini-documentary than part of any cohesive whole. This is Marvel 616's biggest strength but ultimately its downfall.
You are going to learn some interesting facts watching an episode of Marvel 616, that cannot be denied. I can admit that learning about why and how Spider-Man became so popular in Japan and seeing how Marvel comic books are put together each week had my eyes glued to the screen. Though, going through each episode and seeing the wild shifts in tone and structure, there doesn't seem to be an overarching message or point. It is a joy to see directors given the freedom to do what they want with each episode's format and deliver their vision. But in a series, (even an anthology), there must be some type of focus. Unfortunately, focus is what this series lacks entirely - because of this lack of focus, the entire affair comes off as nothing more than an opportunity for Disney to satiate their ego.
People in the Documentary
While this documentary anthology series does well is making each episode about the people who care about Marvel. Whether it's a cosplayer going to New York Comic-Con or a trailblazing artist who works at the company, each episode is about people. Many episodes also focus on how women (episode 2) and people from different cultures (episodes 1 and 3) helped to further the success of the publishing giant. Though, seeing that this documentary comes from the company that owns Marvel it feels like more of an ego stroke than an intimate homage to these trailblazers.