Are Marvel Movies Ruining Cinema?


Ant-Man standing off with Kang the Conqueror. Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures

Zileni Milupi

Over the past decade, Marvel movies have practically dominated Hollywood and made a huge impact on pop culture. Unsurprisingly, an older generation of filmmakers haven’t had kind words to say about the superhero movie obsession that has taken the world by storm.

 In 2019, renowned director Martin Scorsese, inadvertently sparked discourse regarding the artistic integrity of Marvel movies when he compared the genre to amusement parks. Ever since the comment was made about four years ago, the discourse continues to evolve with more actors and directors weighing in. 

Other established directors such as Francis Ford Coppola and Ridley Scott expressed their frustration with Marvel movies and explained that the popularity of these movies is killing original films. While these comments have been met with pushback, it was Quentin Tarantino’s recent comments that really turned this discourse on its head. 

In a Deadline interview, Tarantino said that Marvel movies have “killed the movie star” and explained that the characters the actors play are the star, not the actors themselves. “Captain America is a movie star; Thor is a movie star.” Tarantino said. Tarantino’s comments were, of course, met with a lot of backlash. 

Interestingly, Anthony Markie, who plays Falcon in the Captain America movies, expressed the exact sentiment during a convention a few years ago. 

“There are no movie stars anymore,” Mackie said. “Anthony Mackie isn’t a movie star, the Falcon is a movie star.” 

I don’t recall any backlash or controversy surrounding Mackie’s comments. I have a few assumptions as to why the reactions toward the same message from different people have been vastly different. One of my assumptions is that the directors might come across as elitist or pretentious to the general public, which is why their comments aren’t taken too well. 

Tarantino specifically doesn’t have the best moral or ethical reputation, therefore, the backlash toward him is understandable. Mackie using himself as an example of an actor who isn’t a movie star wouldn’t spark any uproar. 

A lot of people would agree that Marvel movies have greatly changed the scope of cinema. It’s safe to say that, in this case, it’s the messenger that influences how people respond to criticism of Marvel movies. 

The dominance of Marvel movies is not to be taken lightly. According to Far Out Magazine, Marvel movies made about 30%of the box office revenue in 2021. To put this into perspective, five Marvel-owned movies were released in 2021 against the nearly 400 movies released in that same year.

 Admittedly, in the years that the superhero genre has been dominant, there has been a decline in original ideas. To make things worse, the original movies that are being released today get little to no attention. This explains why seasoned directors see Marvel movies as a threat to the art they believe in, according to The New Daily

Whether you believe Marvel movies have completely destroyed the film industry or you are indifferent to the situation, the standard for blockbusters and action movies have drastically changed as a result. There’s no denying the massive impact these movies have had on an entire industry.