John Woo Echoes Martin Scorsese's Concerns About Marvel Movies, Reveals He Turned Down Stan Lee

John Woo has some reservations about Marvel movies. The director of The Killer, Hard Boiled, and Face/Off received the Hawaii International Film Festival’s Halekulani Lifetime Achievement Award. While at the event, Woo expressed those reservations to Deadline. “I’m concerned about when these movies get more and more popular, I’m afraid it will make young audiences get lost when it comes to knowledge about film,” he said. He goes on to say that Marvel movies are now the standard for younger audiences. They leave viewers with no desire to study films like Lawrence of Arabia, Mean Streets, A Clockwork Orange and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Those films being what Martin Scorsese might consider “real cinema.”

Woo says he has no interest in directing his own superhero movie, having once turned down an offer from Stan Lee. “I don’t have that gift,” he said. “I’m not a sci-fi guy — I don’t think I could make a good one. There’s so much imagination… I don’t think I can reach that level.”

Woo is the latest director to be drug into the debate about Marvel movies. It all started with Scorsese's comments saying, “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,” he said. “It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.”

Marvel Studios' head Kevin Feige finally broke his silence in regard to Scorsese's criticisms. “I think it's unfortunate," Feige said on a podcast. "I think myself and everybody that works on these movies loves cinema, loves movies, loves going to the movies, loves to watch a communal experience in a movie theater full of people... I think it's fun for us to take our success and use it to take risks and go in different places. Everybody has a different definition of cinema. Everybody has a different definition of art. Everybody has a different definition of risk. Some people don't think it's cinema. Everybody is entitled to their opinion. Everyone is entitled to repeat that opinion. Everyone is entitled to write op-eds about that opinion. And I look forward to what will happen next. But in the meantime, we're going to keep making movies."

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Upcoming Marvel Studios projects include Black Widow on May 1, 2020, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier in fall 2020, The Eternals on November 6, 2020, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on February 12, 2021, WandaVision in spring 2021, Loki in spring 2021, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on May 7, 2021, Spider-Man 3 on July 16, 2021, What If? In summer 2021, Hawkeye in fall 2021, Thor: Love and Thunder on November 5, 2021, and Black Panther 2 on May 6, 2022. Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight, and She-Hulk are also in the works for Disney+.

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