Over the last decade and a half, Marvel Cinematic Universe and DC Extended Universe have produced some of the highest-grossing films of all time. Yet, it is not an impediment for acclaimed directors to critique the nature of these films, and the shallowness of their content, ultimately disparaging them for their lack of genuine emotion.
This superhero slur all stems from Martin Scorsese when he said “I don’t see [Marvel films]. I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema,” Scorsese told Empire magazine in 2019. “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.”
However, It did not sit well with directors who worked on superhero films, including James Gunn, who has made great superhero films.
Coppola was among those supporting Scorsese at the time, saying, “When Martin Scorsese says that the Marvel pictures are not cinema, he’s right, because we expect to learn something from cinema, we expect to gain something, some enlightenment, some knowledge, some inspiration.” “I don’t know that anyone gets anything out of seeing the same movie over and over again. Martin was kind when he said it’s not cinema. He didn’t say it’s despicable, which I just say it is.”
It has now come, when James Cameron was talking with the stars of his upcoming sci-fi epic Avatar: The Way of Water, a sequel to the blockbuster Avatar from 20th Century Studios, he criticized the characters involved in their respective franchises, and the lack of effort put into character development.
In a recent interview with New York Times, he said, “I also want to do the thing that other people aren’t doing. When I look at these big, spectacular films — I’m looking at you, Marvel and DC — it doesn’t matter how old the characters are, they all act like they’re in college.”
Talking about the characters in these films, he said, “They have relationships, but they really don’t. They never hang up their spurs because of their kids. The things that really ground us and give us power, love, and a purpose? Those characters don’t experience it, and I think that’s not the way to make movies.”
The sequel to James’ 2009 hit, Avatar: The Way of Water, is set to come out in 2022. Three more sequels are planned.