For those of you have queued up to see “The Dark Knight Rises” three or four times now, and are ready to proclaim it as a filmmaking masterwork, David Cronenberg has got a news flash for y’all. “A superhero movie, by definition, you know, it’s comic book. It’s for kids. It’s adolescent in its core,” Cronenberg recently told Next Movie. “That has always been its appeal, and I think people who are saying ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is, you know, supreme cinema art, I don’t think they know what the fuck they’re talking about.” Looks like the director brought some burn sauce with him from Canada on his press rounds for “Cosmopolis.”
Perhaps he’s still a bit upset about “Eastern Promises 2” getting scuttled, or maybe just the mood in Hollywood these days put him off, but the filmmaker didn’t hold back, proclaiming that one of Nolan’s earliest movies is still his best. “Christopher Nolan’s best movie is ‘Memento,’ and that is an interesting movie. I don’t think his Batman movies are half as interesting, though they’re 20 million times the expense,” he said. And he’s not entirely wrong. In fact, in our recent retrospective of Nolan’s films, we said that “it could be argued that it’s the director’s most complete film to date.”
However, Cronenberg does admire one aspect of Nolan’s expensive tentpoles. “What he is doing is some very interesting technical stuff, which, you know, he’s shooting IMAX and in 3-D. That’s really tricky and difficult to do. I read about it in ‘American Cinematography Magazine,’ and technically, that’s all very interesting,” he said, before adding a last jab. “The movies, to me, they’re mostly boring.”
Now, before every fanboy loses their mind and thrashes their keyboards with rage, Cronenberg isn’t entirely wrong here. Superhero movies have been, for the most part, been “adolescent” aiming for a big mainstream audiences that includes making sure kids want to see it. We’d agree that something like “The Avengers” — a big, critically acclaimed earner — isn’t “cinema art.” Successful? Hell yeah. Something that goes beyond being mere entertainment (even if highly accomplished)? Not really. But we generally tend to think that Nolan is delivering something a lot richer than your standard comic book fare, but Cronenberg is free to disagree.
But the director isn’t Captain Bringdown on everything about the genre, and does say he would like to be involved….just not as a director. “Honestly, as a crew member or an actor, to be part of a huge industrial enterprise like that — ’cause that’s what it is when you’re spending $250 million — would be interesting. And also, it’s not taking up two years of your life or three the way it does when you’re directing. So if you can dip in for two months or three months, why not? And make a lot of money and have some fun. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that,” he said.
Anyway, you can see if Cronenberg raises cinema art himself when “Cosmopolis” opens on this Friday.