Birdman Director Alejandro González Iñárritu Calls Superheroes "Sad Figures"

Alejandro González Iñárritu, the acclaimed filmmaker behind movies like Birdman and The Revenant, said during a recent BAFTA event that he saw superheroes as "sad figures" who suggest the audience is looking for larger-than-life stories instead of "admiring...the possibilities that we have." It is not the first time Iñárritu has expressed his frustration with the genre, and he's far from the first mainstream "art film" director to take aim. When Iñárritu speaks, some people take additional notice because he directed Batman and The Flash star Michael Keaton in Birdman, a satirical film about a man who is living under the shadow of his most famous role...a superhero.

Variety reports on the latest comments, which come out of the BAFTA Tea Party in Beverly Hills. Rather than going after the genre itself, he seems to be criticizing an audience that can't see the promise and hope in everyday characters, and need characters like gods and monsters to enjoy a story.

"I see heroes every day," Iñárritu said. "I see beautiful people really going through very difficult situations and doing incredible things. And that is the people that I kind of connect with. But these kinds of superpower heroes, really do we need that?...If you need that, is there something missing…instead of admiring what we have, the possibilities that we have?"

The dominance of superhero movies at the box office, coupled with "serious" filmmakers like Christopher Nolan and Taika Waititi taking on the projects, has created an environment where every time a director goes out in public, they are seemingly asked to comment on the prevalence of stories about masked adventurers.

And every time it happens, if the filmmaker in question is not totally thrilled by superhero movies, their comments make headlines, fans get mad, and it encourages people to keep asking these questions, which really add nothing at all to the cultural conversation. But it's a great way to drive engagement by getting Marvel fans to pile on Martin Scorsese, prompting #filmtwitter to rush to his defense and gripe about Zack Snyder, and making sure that nobody ever calms down for a minute and touches grass.