Martin Scorsese lit the film community on fire recently when he was heavily critical of the superhero movie genre. Fans were outraged and defensive, and argued amongst themselves about his comments. It’s quite the reaction, especially given that Scorsese is far from the first notable director to say something demeaning about Marvel or DC movies.
In fact, he’s the latest of many big name directors who have found themselves under scrutiny for being candid about their views on superhero movies. Here are some of the takes from other notable directors, and interestingly enough, a few of these individuals have actually directed a superhero movie or two in the past.
Ridley Scott is an acclaimed filmmaker, Oscar nominee and someone who doesn’t care all that much for the superhero genre. Apparently, he’s been asked to do one a handful of times, but feels like he already did a movie in that vein with Blade Runner. I’m not sure I would consider Rick Deckard a superhero, but he can for sure take a punch!
What’s funny is that Ridley Scott has dipped his toe in so many other genres and concepts that superhero films are one of the few remaining genres he has yet to touch. At 81, odds are we may never get to see a Ridley Scott-directed superhero film, which is somewhat disappointing, though he’s given us plenty of other great movies to enjoy over the years. If superhero movies aren’t his thing, who can fault him for not wanting to take part?
David Fincher hasn’t been too keen on the world of superhero movies, but he definitely has one of the more mild takes of this bunch. The director has stated he wouldn’t be opposed to making a superhero movie, though he followed it up with the fact he wouldn’t do it for a previously established character. Translation: unless he’s making an original hero, don’t expect it to happen. Hey, at least he doesn’t hate the genre entirely!
Some have speculated David Fincher’s aversion to outfits like DC and Marvel comes from his experience on Aliens 3, which he has since disowned as a film due to studio interference and other things of that nature. Fincher probably wouldn’t mesh well in the MCU (even if he likes the actors attached) then, considering he’d have to follow a pre-established plan for his film and highlight a previously established hero. He may surprise us one day by signing onto something, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.
Logan and The Wolverine be damned, James Mangold has a problem with superhero films. Never mind the fact that he’s been responsible for those two, and gave actor Hugh Jackman a phenomenal exit to his long-running role as Wolverine. Mangold just isn’t a fan of superhero movies and we just need to accept that. How can a director of superhero films be actively against the idea of superhero films?
In his defense, James Mangold said it was his aversion to the tentpole structure of the genre that helped him make Logan. He didn’t want to make an overtly long movie with a bloated cast, he wanted a meaningful arc with a conclusion. Typical superhero ensembles have character arcs that he described as being the equivalent of “Elmer Fudd in a Warner Bros. cartoon.”
Tim Burton wow’d audiences with Batman and Batman Returns, and he was involved in the never-released Superman Lives, but he’s soured over the years on superhero movies. Burton went on the record in 2014 and credited Marvel for finding a successful formula, but noted he felt the premise was burning out. He also told Yahoo! Movies he was growing weary of the “damaged superhero,” and wondered if Marvel couldn’t do films on happy heroes.
He’s not going to be the director to make that film though, as Burton stated earlier this year that he doesn’t see himself doing another superhero movie. It just doesn’t interest him anymore, which makes sense. He’s been there, done that, and after Batman Returns, he doesn’t really have anything left to prove in regards of proving he can do a superhero movie.
To say Roland Emmerich was heavily critical of superhero films may be an understatement, as the director went on a tear about the genre while doing the press tour for Independence Day: Resurgence. Emmerich started out slow, saying he doesn’t care much for the concept of superheroes in general. The capes and powers thing went over his head, which he said could be tied to his upbringing in Germany. Hey, superhero films aren’t for everyone, it’s understandable.
Or at least, it would’ve been, but then Emmerich suggested that superhero movies were all just copying what he did in Independence Day. Apparently, Emmerich believed that the teams behind Man of Steel and The Avengers saw aliens destroying buildings in his movie, and they decided to add it in their films. It was a bold and questionable claim, and the internet reacted accordingly. It turns out the masses didn’t agree that the past 20 years of the genre was all because of his movie.
David Cronenberg is known for films that have been pretty out there in premise and execution, so it shouldn’t be too surprising he isn’t keen on the superhero genre. The director famously went on a rant about the genre in 2012, which many thought was a direct call out to Christopher Nolan and his recently released Batman flick The Dark Knight Rises. Cronenberg called Memento Nolan’s best movie, and said his Batman movies are half as interesting.
Cronenberg later said his criticism was more meant to be taken for the genre as a whole and not to be a direct criticism of Nolan. Ironically, Cronenberg’s comments came when he was promoting his Robert-Pattinson-led Cosmopolis. Will Cronenberg soften his thoughts on superhero films now that one of his former stars is playing Batman?
When a director has something to say, CinemaBlend will be there to report on it. Stick with us for that and for the latest and greatest in movie and television news.