The culture war between independent filmmaking and mainstream superhero blockbusters continues. Now, Dune and Blade Runner 2049 director, Denis Villeneuve, has weighed in on the debate, criticising the quality of the Marvel cinematic universe.
In an interview with the Spanish newspaper Elmundo, the director of the brand new Dune film was questioned on the recent cultural boom of superhero movies, exclaiming in response: “There are too many Marvel movies that are nothing more than a cut and paste of others”.
This is a stance that the popular contemporary director elaborated on in a separate interview with Premiere where he stated: “The problem today… well, if we’re talking about Marvel, the thing is, all these films are made from the same mould”.
Continuing, the director explained his position, noting: “Some filmmakers can add a little colour to it, but they’re all cast in the same factory. It doesn’t take anything away from the movies, but they are formatted”.
One filmmaker Denis Villeneuve certainly does not include within this formulaic trend is the Eternals director Chloé Zhao, having praised the director in a recent interview with Harpers Bazaar. Speaking to the publication, Villeneuve stated: “I’m your biggest fan. I think it’s genius that Marvel approached you because you’re the radical opposite of it aesthetically…I wonder how you can invite life in a Marvel movie”.
The comments of Denis Villeneuve join that of veteran director Martin Scorsese who caused a stir in 2019 when he commented that Marvel movies were “not cinema” during an interview with Esquire. Scorsese added later in the interview: “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”.
Denis Villeneuve’s highly anticipated film Dune is released in the UK and the US on October 22 and stars Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Jason Momoa and Dave Bautista.