Denis Villeneuve has weighed in on the artistic merit of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, saying many movies are “cut and paste” jobs.
The director, known for Arrival, Blade Runner 2049 and the upcoming Dune, commented on the relevance of big budget studio productions – stating that while Marvel movies “have turned us into zombies a bit”, there’s still expensive movies of “great value” out there.
Speaking to El Mundo (via IndieWire), Villeneuve said: “Perhaps the problem is that we are in front of too many Marvel movies that are nothing more than a ‘cut and paste’ of others.
“Perhaps these types of movies have turned us into zombies a bit… But big and expensive movies of great value there are many today. I don’t feel capable of being pessimistic at all.”
He added: “Just think of the golden age of Hollywood to see that commercial films can make a different artistic proposal and, therefore, political. I have never felt like a loss or an impediment to have a generous budget to do what I wanted to do. Upside down.
“Who said that a movie on a big budget can’t be artistically relevant at the same time? I am currently thinking of people like Christopher Nolan or Alfonso Cuaron.”
Villeneuve recently commented on MCU movies to French outlet Premiere: “If we’re talking about Marvel, the thing is, all these films are made from the same mould. 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.”
Back in 2019, Martin Scorsese caused a firestorm by comparing comic-book movies to theme parks, claiming, in his opinion, they were “not cinema”. His stance was criticised by Guardians Of The Galaxy director James Gunn at the time, and recently this year when he described his comments as “awful cynical”.
In NME’s four-star review of Dune, which releases October 22 in cinemas, the film is described as a blockbuster that’s “jaw-dropping” in scale which takes itself “extremely seriously”.