There can be no doubting Marvel and DC’s power at the box office, with the Marvel Cinematic Universe being the number one franchise in cinema history. Movies such as Thor, Iron Man, and The Avengers have earned a staggering $9 billion alone before we even talk about DC. However, not everybody is enthralled by the genre, with an increasing number of Hollywood figures speaking out against the current domination of superhero films, including director Ridley Scott.
Scott, who is currently doing the press rounds for his latest movie House of Gucci, didn’t hold back when speaking with Deadline, saying that superhero films are as “fucking boring as shit.”
Scott’s gripe against the genre appears to be that he sees a lack of characterization, saying that “the best films are driven by the characters” and that “[Superhero movie] scripts are not any fucking good.”
Sorry. I got off the rail, but I mean, come on. [Superhero movies] are mostly saved by special effects, and that’s becoming boring for everyone who works with special effects if you’ve got the money.
However, Scott himself says that he made three superhero movies, saying that Alien, Gladiator, and Blade Runner fit the genre’s ethos of an individual doing extraordinary things to defy overwhelming odds. He doesn’t count his own work as “boring as shit.”
[I made] three great scripted superhero movies… One would be Alien with Sigourney Weaver. One would be fucking Gladiator, and one would be Harrison Ford [in Blade Runner]. They’re superhero movies. So, why don’t the superhero movies have better stories?
Other prominent creatives rag on superhero movies
Ridley Scott is far from the first Hollywood director to aim their guns at Marvel and DC. With the genre regularly earning op dollar at the box office and every studio seemingly wanting in, it can seem that superhero movies are eclipsing more traditional films and are oversaturated in the way westerns once were. Yet the backlash isn’t only from outside the community.
Earlier this year, director James Gunn said that comic book-based movies are “dumb” and “boring” while on the press circuit for his own superhero film, The Suicide Squad. Gunn is also the director of Super, Guardians of the Galaxy, and its sequel Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
Comic book icon Alan Moore also isn’t a fan, saying, “[Superhero movies] have blighted cinema, and also blighted culture to a degree.” However, Moore famously has many issues with the industry and other writers, notably his long-standing feud with DC Comics.
However, the most significant comments came two years ago when legendary director Martin Scorsese’s remarks provoked reactions from comic book fans and movie buffs alike. The director said Marvel was low-brow art without “revelation, mystery, or genuine emotional danger,” with many either agreeing with him or claiming he was out of touch with modern cinema.
“I don’t see them. I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema,” Scorsese told Empire Magazine in the UK. “Honestly, the closest I can think of them, as well made as they are, with actors doing the best they can under the circumstances, is theme parks. It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.”
In response, Marvel producer Kevin Feige said the comments were “disappointing” when talking with The Hollywood Reporter‘s “Awards Chatter” podcast: “I think myself and everyone who works on these movies loves cinema, loves movies, loves going to the movies, loves to watch a communal experience in a movie theater full of people.”
Everybody has a different definition of cinema. Everybody has a different definition of art. Everybody has a different definition of risk. Some people don’t think it’s cinema. Everybody is entitled to their opinion. Everyone is entitled to repeat that opinion. Everyone is entitled to write op-eds about that opinion, and I look forward to what will happen next. But in the meantime, we’re going to keep making movies.
House of Gucci comes out on November 24.