In a 2002 episode of The simpsons, an old man shouted at a cloud. Twenty years later, old men cry after wonder. Francis Ford Coppola – who has this week describes Marvel movies as “prototypes made over and over again to look different” – is certainly not the first veteran statesman of cinema to criticize the superhero society (looking at you, Martin Scorsese) and it will not be the last. The internet outrage economy thrives there; retired filmmakers are the only people brave enough to talk about it.
Coppola’s criticism of the Marvel machine — and expensive studio blockbusters in general — boiled down to the franchise’s lack of personality and his assertion that specific directorial visions were lost as a result. “If you’re going to make art, make it personal,” he said. QG. “Let this be very personal to you.” Anyone who has managed to see the distinct storytelling fingerprints of indie stalwarts Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden, Destin Daniel Cretton and Chloe Zhao on Captain Marvel, Shang Chi and Eternals can write Mr. Coppola a letter of complaint if they feel like it.
Coppola went off the rails a bit by claiming that the two Denis Villeneuve Dunes and Cary Fukunaga no time to die were interchangeable. He claimed that these are films that could be made by anyone, and “the same sequence where cars all crash into each other” could be swapped between everyone and no one would notice. Coppola may not have actually seen the singular visually and narratively Dunes. He’s also 82 – he’s probably just released a few random 2021 releases to make a point.
Either way, the point is valid. Take the recently released trailer for Jurassic World: Dominion. If you digitally erased the dinosaur chasing Chris Pratt through an unnamed pan-European city and replaced it with, say, Ryan Reynolds on a motorbike, few would raise an eyebrow. Aesthetics, action sequences and actors are curdled in an all-too-familiar soup when it comes to giant blockbusters these days. red notice East jurassic world East Unexplored.
It’s not a controversial position to think these films are depressing, but Coppola and his ilk are perennially seen as whiners. Whenever he or any of his fellow writers – Scorsese, David Cronenberg, Ken Loach, Jane Campion, Bong Joon-ho – have either openly criticized Marvel or expressed outright ambivalence towards it, they are mocked, mocked or accused of some sort of commercial envy. “He kept coming out against Marvel so he could get the press for [The Irishman]”, guardians of the galaxy director James Gunn said of Scorsese’s “Marvel is not cinema” comments in 2019. he didn’t attract as much wanted for it.
Beyond the laziness of that response, Gunn’s statement hinged on a specific train of thought: Marvel critics tend to be old, out of time, and envious, and therefore not worth taking for granted. serious. It must be said that very old people do not automatically deserve to be heard, although they are just as capable of profound stupidity as anyone else. But in a cinematic climate gripped by Disney and a specific form of nostalgic, masculine and unambitious enterprise, it’s important to listen to those who put their heads above the parapet and ask “Why?” After all, few young stars are brave enough to do so.
You imagine the conversation about Hollywood’s creative drought and the Disney machine would be less hysterical if a wide range of ages joined in. A little like the recent conflict between Spotify and Joe Roganit’s disappointing that only very old performers – many of whom aren’t as concerned about their results – are ready to protest or criticize a system which seems to be spiraling out of control. Coppola may be an old man screaming about something, but that doesn’t mean he’s meaningless.