The Godfather's Francis Ford Coppola has given his take on Marvel films. In an interview with GQ to celebrate the restoration of the movie, he called the MCU movies "one prototype." Now, stop us if you've heard this before, but this cleanly fits into other critiques of the superhero genre by big figures in film lore. Once upon a time it was Martin Scorsese and now it's Coppola. One interesting thing to note about this entire line of question and response is that either legend could be talking about any number of big blockbuster films. (In this case The Godfather director does praise No Time to Die and Dune directors Denis Villeneuve and Cary Fukunaga.)
"There used to be studio films," the director began. "Now there are Marvel pictures. And what is a Marvel picture? A Marvel picture is one prototype movie that is made over and over and over and over and over again to look different. Even the talented people—you could take Dune, made by Denis Villeneuve, an extremely talented, gifted artist, and you could take No Time to Die, directed by…Gary?" Before being told it's Cary Fukunaga, "Cary Fukunaga—extremely gifted, talented, beautiful artists, and you could take both those movies, and you and I could go and pull the same sequence out of both of them and put them together. The same sequence where the cars all crash into each other. They all have that stuff in it, and they almost have to have it, if they're going to justify their budget. And that's the good films, and the talented filmmakers."
For a nuanced take on the entire question, Stellan Skarsgard seems to have a good grasp of what's at play. He told The Guardian that we're all mad at the wrong things.
"I've got nothing against superhero movies," Skarsgård explained. "I've been in a couple and they definitely have a place. The problem is that the system that allows eight people to own half of the wealth in the world enhances the power of the market forces, so small and independent cinemas rarely exist any more outside a few big cities. There's no distribution channels for all the mid-budget films that have the best actors, the best writing, because they can't throw up $3m for a marketing campaign. When cinemas let them in, they do so for one week and if it doesn't pay off in a week, they're gone."
He continued, "Remember that The Godfather first opened in 100 cinemas in the United States – big films now open in 4,000. They had small ads in the New York Times, but it grew and grew because it was such a good film. The people's opinion has no chance any more. And that is sad. I think that we should have Marvel films and more rollercoaster films. We should have other films, too. And that's the sad thing: when raw market forces come in, studios start being run by companies that don't care if they're dealing in films or toothpaste so long as they get their 10% [return]. When AT&T took over Time Warner, it immediately told HBO to become lighter and more commercial. They were always making money. But not enough for an investor."
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