In recent years, the debate surrounding the validity of the superhero genre has intensified after Martin Scorsese famously compared Marvel films to amusement parks. Filmmakers, critics and fans have jumped onto this bandwagon as well, either winning the populist support by advocating for superhero films or satisfying the film snobs by denouncing them. There Will Be Blood director Paul Thomas Anderson is the latest addition to the lineup.
After the recent release of Anderson’s new feature Licorice Pizza, the modern pioneer has defended Marvel films and its contemporaries in the superhero genre by claiming that these are the projects that will contribute to the revitalisation of the economic aspects of the film industry. In an interview with the New Yorker, the director claimed that he likes superhero films and does not understand why people insist that they are ruining cinema.
The director maintained that his return to the directorial chair for a new feature has been a pleasant one and that he is “happier than ever” to be working in the industry. Anderson explained that the modern landscape of cinema was even more complicated now because of the operations of streaming services and the “overabundance of superhero movies”. However, he does not think of it as a serious problem.
“Most of the stuff I don’t take too seriously,” Anderson elaborated. “I mean, it seems that there is a bit of a preoccupation with superhero films. I like them. It seems to be something that’s popular these days to sort of wonder if they’ve ruined movies and all this kind of stuff. I just don’t feel that way.” Pointing to the decline in the box office numbers, the director cited the example of the new Spider-Man film No Way Home as the 2021 project that would boost the numbers again.
Despite the popular perception that there is only capital for superhero projects, Anderson believes that any good project can be funded with the right approach. “The playing field hasn’t changed that drastically,” the director declared but he did acknowledge that the algorithmic manipulations of streaming applications that it’s becoming really difficult to find interesting projects.
Watch the new trailer for Licorice Pizza below.