The Marvel fatigue has started to creep in, and Quentin Tarantino is in favour of it. Following Jennifer Aniston’s earlier comments that there “are no more movie stars,” the director behind some of Hollywood’s greatest flicks spoke out about how the entertainment industry is losing talents because the superhero characters are more popular than the actors playing them.
“Part of the Marvel-ization of Hollywood is…you have all these actors who have become famous playing these characters,” Tarantino said in an episode of the 2 Bears, 1 Cave podcast. “But they’re not movie stars. Right? Captain America is the star. Or Thor is the star. I mean, I’m not the first person to say that. I think that’s been said a zillion times…but it’s like, you know, it’s these franchise characters that become a star.”
The reason, he clarified, isn’t that he hates Marvel films; rather, he dislikes them for creating this demand-and-supply cycle that has led to an oversaturated, generalised landscape with “not really much room for anything else.”
“My only axe to grind against them is they’re the only things that seem to be made,” he explained. “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. That’s what they’re excited about. And 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.”
Tarantino doesn’t mean to put down the actor nor the significance of superhero movies, either. “Look, I used to collect Marvel comics like crazy when I was a kid. There’s an aspect that if these movies were coming out when I was in my twenties, I would totally be f—ing happy and totally love them. I mean, they wouldn’t be the only movies being made. They would be those movies amongst other movies. But, you know, I’m almost 60… I’m not quite as excited about them,” added the Kill Bill director.
His comments have drawn ire from fans of the franchise, with Simu Liu contributing his two cents to the discussion. The Shang-Chi star took to Twitter to criticise the act of gatekeeping, stating that, “If the only gatekeepers to movie stardom came from Tarantino and Scorsese, I would never have had the opportunity to lead a $400 million plus movie.”
In the same thread, Liu also commended Marvel for its diverse storytelling, which hasn’t always been the case in the past. “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.”
To give both sides credit, Tarantino’s statement that isn’t unwarranted. On the one hand, the popularity of other genre works in the past years, such as Everything Everywhere All At Once and Dune, has shown that variety is a fresh breath of air from the largely-dominating superhero movies, and still plays a key role in attracting viewers.
On the other, gatekeeping would isolate audiences from content that they can relate or feel entertained by. The challenge now is for the industry to strike a balance between these two ends and maintain a healthy in-between.
Still, don’t expect Tarantino to change his mind and get involved in the superhero business. The man said earlier this month that he has no interest in making a MCU or DC movie, adding that today’s filmmakers “can’t wait for the day” superhero films fall off the hype train.