Recently, it’s been the trend for high-profile creatives to talk down on Marvel and other films in a similar space.
Martin Scorsese claimed that MCU films are “not cinema,” and Dune’s director Denis Villeneuve thinks of them as nothing more than “copy and paste.” James Cameron himself even seemed to think the characters aren’t realistic enough because “they never hang up their spurs because of their kids,” even though it’s absolutely come up before.
Most recently, iconic director Quentin Tarantino claimed that the actors in the MCU “[aren’t] movie stars,” but instead, it’s the character themselves. He believes someone like Chris Hemsworth isn’t a star, Thor is. The same for Chris Evan and Captain America, or any other Marvel personality.
Now, arguably one of the most famous actors in the genre has given his thoughts on the recent statements.
Downey Responds to Tarantino's MCU Remarks
In an interview with Deadline, Robert Downey Jr. spoke about Quentin Tarantino’s disparaging comments towards the comic book movie genre, while also broadly discussing how he sees it all.
Downey started by stating how ”[he] think[s] our opinions on these matters say a lot about us… But it’s a double-edged sword:”
“… I think our opinions on these matters say a lot about us. I think that we are in a time and place that I unwittingly contributed to, where IP has taken precedence over principle and personality. But it’s a double-edged sword. A piece of IP is only as good as the human talent you get to represent it and you can have some great IP even if it’s coming from an auteur or a national treasure of a writer director, and if you don’t have the right kind of artist playing that role, you’ll never know how good it could have been.
He continued, making it clear how he feels “that creatively… [arguing over the genre] is a waste of time:
“I think that creatively it is a waste of time to be at war with ourselves. I think this is a time when everything is so much more fragmented now that I think you have this kind of bifurcation. Throwing stones one way or another…and I’ve had my reactions in the past when people said things that I felt were discrediting my integrity…I go, you know what, let’s just get over it. We’re all a community. There’s enough room for everything and thank God for Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar: The Way of Water. That’s all I have to say. We need the big stuff to make room for films like Armageddon Time.”
He offered some advice for those speaking ill of the popular sect of movies, saying those people should ”undergo your own renaissance and see if it doesn’t change your mind a little bit:”
“I’m not talking about trickle down entertainment. I’m just saying that things are always changing and I’m at a place in my life where I’ve now gone back to back, working with Chris Nolan on what was an exceptionally transformational experience for me; having been in pre-production post and bringing Sr. to market; and the next thing I’m doing is a series with my Mrs. and the director Park Chan Wook, based on a Pulitzer book called The Sympathizer. It’s already a transformative literally playing five different roles experience for me. So, I would just say, before we cast aspersions on each other… undergo your own renaissance and see if it doesn’t change your mind a little bit.”
Elaborating, Downey stated that everyone should “be grateful that [they] get to participate” in the first place:
“Reinvent yourself before you decide that somebody else doesn’t know what they’re doing or that something is keeping you from doing your best, or that something is better than something else. You know, we’re in this age now where [Jon] Favreau said it best: we used to try to make waves in a lake and now we’re just trying to catch people’s attention as things are moving by quickly in a stream. I think that’ll change again but this is just where we’re at. And to accept it and be grateful that you get to participate is the right place to start.”
The Wise Words of Iron Man
Downey is far from the first Marvel personality to speak out against some of the hateful comments about the MCU and similar films.
Tom Holland told The Hollywood Reporter that comic book films and Oscar contenders are "all the same, just done on a different scale," and both are "real art." He also pointed out how someone like Martin Scorsese doesn’t know what it’s like to make a Marvel film since he’s never been involved with one.
Many of these controversial comments from big names are simply people trying to get attention. James Cameron‘s thoughts were probably said in the hopes of having his name and his next film, Avatar: Way of Water, in the general conversation from audiences around the world.
Downey’s perspective is a good one; everyone should be happy to exist in the same space. After all, when it comes down to it, it’s Marvel and those big blockbusters that saved movie theaters post-pandemic—so it might be best to appreciate their existence at the very least.
Marvel Studios’ current project, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, is now playing in theaters worldwide.