Despite being a horror flick, the hit movie Candyman actually reveals a surprising amount about the upcoming MCU entry The Marvels. Thanks to the combined writing and directing talents of Nia DaCosta, both films share an inherent DNA, despite their vastly different subject matter. This means that the popular horror film could hold some crucial information for the future of the MCU.
Serving as a sequel to the original 1992 hit, Candyman has enjoyed a positive reception upon release. The film follows the urban legend of Sherman Fields, a hook-handed man who was mistakenly blamed and beaten to death after police uncovered razor blades in candy gifted to children. The story goes that if you say the name Candyman five times in a mirror, Sherman’s spirit will appear and kill whoever summoned him. The new Jordan Peele-produced Candyman movie has an impressive score of 84% on Rotten Tomatoes, with critics hailing the combination of cutting social commentary and genuine scares.
Given that the MCU has generally shied away from overtly dark and violent subject matter, comparisons with Candyman might seem a little strange. However, both the new horror movie and the upcoming Marvels film share a director in rising star Nia DaCosta. This suggests that, while the two movies may end up being tonally very different, there is a lot we can learn about The Marvels from some of the tropes and stylistic choices present in Candyman.
One of the most telling things about DaCosta’s direction in Candyman is her natural visual flair. Several critics have singled out individual moments in the movie as visually arresting in a way that elevates the end result above the average slasher sequel. For example, in a positive review for The Guardian, critic Simran Hans noted, “DaCosta’s visual flair is apparent, from the way she details flesh turning to rotten honeycomb, to the visceral squelch of pressing open a wound.” Similarly, the Rotten Tomatoes critics’ consensus praises DaCosta’s “incisive, visually thrilling approach” to the story. From this, it seems reasonable to suggest that, like Candyman, The Marvels will feature unique visual elements that mark it out from the rest of the superhero crowd.
A second key theme in DaCosta’s Candyman – much like the original – is its wider social commentary. Beyond being a straightforward slasher flick, the film also examines themes of racism and gentrification, again helping to elevate it about the average genre piece. Considering the emphasis that DaCosta places upon these themes in Candyman, it seems likely that she will return to them in her career. Whether they are present in The Marvels remains to be seen. However, given DaCosta’s clear interest in exploring them, it seems likely the MCU movie will provide further opportunity for examination – albeit in a different context to a horror sequel.