Quentin Tarantino has become the latest filmmaker who, upon offering a small critique of Marvel movies, has found himself the subject of backlash.
It’s a familiar pattern. Filmmaker Martin Scorsese similarly criticized Marvel movies, dubbing them ‘theme parks’ and ‘not cinema,’ which prompted a response from numerous people, including “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn. The fallout that ensued from Scorsese’s remarks is still talked about to this day.
Things for Tarantino began with an interview with Tom Segura for his podcast, 2 Bears 1 Cave in which Tarantino was asked about Marvel movies. He responded by saying “I don’t hate them. But I don’t love them” and revealed he was a big Marvel comics collector as a kid.
He adds that if he were in his 20s that “I would totally be f–ing happy and totally love them”. However he says he’s almost 60 and so is less enthusiastic. He then launches into the comments that have led to the controversy, which can basically be broken down into ‘Marvel actors aren’t movie stars’:
“My only ax to grind is they’re the only things that seem to be made, and they’re the only things that seem to generate any kind of excitement amongst a fan base or even for the studio making them… So it’s just the fact that they are the entire representation of this era of movies right now. There’s not really much room for anything else. That’s my problem. It’s a problem of representation.
Part of the Marvel-ization of Hollywood is you have all these actors who have become famous playing these characters. But they’re not movie stars. Right? Captain America is the star. Thor is the star. I’m not the first person to say that. I think that’s been said a zillion times, but it’s these franchise characters become a star.
Back in 2005, if an actor stars in a movie that does as good as the Marvel movies do, then that guy’s an absolute star. It means people dig him or her and they like them and want to see them in stuff. Sandra Bullock is in Speed and everyone thought she’s amazing in it. Everyone fell in love with her… They were excited by Sandra Bullock and wanted to see her in something else. That’s not the case now. We want to see that guy [keep] playing Wolverine or whatever.
In the wake of the comments, “Deadpool” creator Robert Liefeld retweeted a story and dubbed it the “hottest of hot takes”. “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” star Simu Liu was more forthcoming, saying on Twitter:
“If the only gatekeepers to movie stardom came from Tarantino and Scorsese, I would never have had the opportunity to lead a $400 million+ movie. I am in awe of their filmmaking genius. They are transcendent authors.
But they don’t get to point their nose at me or anyone. No movie studio is or ever will be perfect. But I’m proud to work with one that has made sustained efforts to improve diversity onscreen by creating heroes that empower and inspire people of all communities everywhere. I loved the ‘Golden Age’ too.. but it was white as hell.”
Tarantino has famously vowed to quit directing with his forthcoming, as yet unwritten, tenth movie and Tarantino re-confirmed his retirement plan in the podcast. He also revealed to Deadline this week he at one time wanted to do a remake of the Robert Duvall-led 1973 film “The Outfit”.