In a month which has seen countless directors and actors attack the influx of Marvel films, there’s another damning endorsement of the franchise from acclaimed director Ken Loach, who has labelled them “boring”.
“They’re made as commodities like hamburgers, and it’s not about communicating and it’s not about sharing our imagination,” Loach said when speaking to Sky News. “It’s about making a commodity which will make a profit for a big corporation – they’re a cynical exercise. They’re market exercise and it has nothing to do with the art of cinema. William Blake said ‘when money is discussed – art is impossible’.”
Loach, who is known for using his films like Kes and I, Daniel Blake as deliberate social commentary, explained further by adding, “I think reflecting the world we know can make beautiful cinema because it can celebrate who we are. It can laugh with us, it can cry with us, it can learn about our deepest feelings and what it is to be human – you find that in the everyday.”
Leach’s criticism comes after Martin Scorsese got the ball rolling, comparing Marvel films to that of theme parks and insisting that the superhero franchise does not qualify as cinema. Having been drawn into a conversation about the rise of Marvel, Scorsese was asked if he had been swept away in the surge of recent films, to which he replied: “I tried, you know?” in an interview with Esquire Magazine. “But that’s not cinema.”
He added: “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.”
James Gunn, however, stood to stand up against the recent criticism by saying, “Some of our great grandfathers thought the same of westerns, and believed the films of John Ford, Sam Peckinpah, and Sergio Leone were all exactly the same,” he wrote.
“I remember a great uncle to whom I was raving about Star Wars. He responded by saying, ‘I saw that when it was called 2001, and, boy, was it boring!’”