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Alejandro Iñárritu Calls Hollywood Superhero Obsession “Cultural Genocide” Plus Watch 1 Hour Of ‘Birdman’ Interviews & More

Alejandro Iñárritu Calls Hollywood Superhero Obsession "Cultural Genocide" Plus Watch 1 Hour Of ‘Birdman’ Interviews & More

Is Alejandro González Iñárritu‘s "Birdman: or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)" a satire of superhero movies as some have suggested? After all it does have a meta element to it: former "Batman" Michael Keaton stars as a washed-up actor known for playing the superhero Birdman, now trying to mount a Broadway production as a form of comeback (but also to try and reclaim his integrity).

But that’s all surface, admittedly clever texture (much like the celebrity skewering), but in a story that’s really about identity, our enduring legacy, the inner monologue, the self-doubt battle that rages between our fragile ids and egos, and much more (read our review from Venice). In many ways "Birdman" is also about the struggle for self-worth in creative endeavors that often need a lot of hubris to pull off. Fighting the monster within that whispers in our ear and says you’re a fraud (narcissists or aggressively well-adjusted people may therefore find it vacant).

So "Birdman" uses the bifurcated superhero trope of secret identity and super-self as a construct to explore all these rich ideas about solipsism. There’s a lot of playful digs at celebrity, stardom, the idea of popularity, personal integrity, and yes, the culture of superhero-dom that is dominating our narrative and threatens to do so for the next several years.

So how does Innaritu actually feel about superhero movies? Would he perhaps take one on in the future? Fat chance. In an interview with Deadline last night, the filmmaker railed against the genre, essentially calling it soulless and sounding not too different from Mike Shiner—Ed Norton’s purist character, who also tears into the super hero movies and soulless paycheck gigs.

“I sometimes enjoy them because they are basic and simple and go well with popcorn,” Inarritu explained. “The problem is that sometimes they purport to be profound, based on some Greek mythological kind of thing. And they are honestly very right wing. I always see them as killing people because they do not believe in what you believe, or they are not being who you want them to be. I hate that, and don’t respond to those characters.”

“They have been poison, this cultural genocide,” he added. “Because the audience is so overexposed to plot and explosions and shit that doesn’t mean nothing about the experience of being human.” Perhaps this is when someone pulls out the argument that movies can just be escapism and don’t have to be insightful or profound? Personally, I’ll side with the latter, but superhero movies, when they’re above average, can also have something to say. Inarritu, at the very least, does have a point that’s hard to ignore. But perhaps superhero fans, of which there are many, disagree. Thoughts?

Meanwhile, "Birdman" opens in limited release tomorrow, so in the homestretch lots of little items are being released. In addition to new photos, you can watch a new featurette, a DP30 interview, and a 30-minute chat on Charlie Rose with Inarritu, Keaton, and Norton. "Birdman" opens tomorrow October 17 in NY/LA and beings nationwide expansion next Friday. Watch below.

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Comments

Lamashtar

Birdman was a superhero movie. It concerned itself with superheroes, it used superheroes to sell itself. Now, the filmmaker says "if I don’t like it, you can’t like it either." He has become the Critic from Birdman, who decides to condemn without giving the genre a chance to evolve.

LJ

There is a lot of sancitmonious crap in both the article and the comments. Movies are, first and foremost, about entertainment. Denigrating what people enjoy with their disposible income is childish at best. The movies are pulling in hundreds of millions of dollars, which suggests that many people find them entertaining. If some people do not, they are free to watch movies they DO find entertaining. Bad mouthing and criticizing what others are interested in as somehow "inferior" is just pathetic.

Pedro Rosvill

WEll in my opinion, yeah, superhero movies are taken very seriously, as if they real. But that’s whn I say, It’s the time to take that way… We had the "cartoonish" superhero movies, now we have the more credible super hero….That’s odd but some how, we like it. But "cultural genocide"? oh man… That’s an overstatement

John

People often make comments about comics and comic book movies without really understand the subtext behind them. The x-men is not about superheroes. It is about racism. Mutants are hated because of the way to are born. They are bonded together our of fear but also out of a desire for humans and mutants to co-exist. They don’t ‘fight bad guys’, they fight racism and those among their own kind who want a race war. People make too many judgements on comic books, and they do the same for the movies (the comic books themselves are actually better though).

The other side

Inarritu is right, and people act like superhero movies are the bane of existence because the studios invest their money in them, meaning that they aren’t investing in films that actually mean something or require the viewer to use their brain. Comic book movies by nature are aimed at either teens or adult men with arrested development. The majority of the audience would prefer to see a more intelligent product coming out of the studios. That’s why. For what it costs to make one dumb comic book film, they could make 10 thought-provoking or entertaining films.

Jesus Christ, Film Critic

"And they are honestly very right wing. I always see them as killing people because they do not believe in what you believe, or they are not being who you want them to be." Lol @ Inarritu thinking that is somehow unique to the rightwing. The only thing keeping either the left or the right from killing us all is the fact that they hate and oppose each other.

Rick

For Christ sakes why do people act like superhero movies are such a bane of existence? So, you don’t like them, so what? It’s not the big of a deal.

Filmgoer

If a rom com were to come out and making a 100 milllion in it’s 1st weekend, by the monday after there would be 30 rom coms green lit. Genre has very little to do with it. The superhero movie is an offshoot of the action genre. Hollywood is going to be Hollywood. They’re in the business of making as much money as they can. Where they choose to focus their time (and money) does make it harder to make more modest, intimate movies but by no means is it impossible. And if you think Hollywood slobs on the knob of superhero movies, keep in mind that awards seasons is upon us.

Stephen

SLEN: "Comics haven’t changed." This tells me you don’t read comics. I can look at the most watched shows today: "Big Bang Theory" or "Two and a Half Men" and say: tv sucks, it’s the same sitcom garbage from the 90’s(insert decade of choice). But that wouldn’t make it true. The macro of this sounds like an argument against tentpole films, that they can’t hold value, and this I disagree with on principle. Do you think Indiana Jones, or any other well executed tentpole, speaks to anything? Or are all tentpole films the same for you? As for the mysterious "they" shitting down our throats? Movies are elective, not mandatory. There have never been more movies being released than right now. 27 I think last weekend alone. Never have more options been available to you. And yet you complain like there’s only one movie available. People make the same argument about music, and every time they do I can’t help but think they’re either lazy or don’t know how to find things they would like.

To Josh:"90% of everything is shit so who are we kidding?" That’s the truth. But it’s the same rate of failure across the board, indie dramas included. I am giving marvel a lot of credit, mostly because I’m fresh off Guardians, which I found to be one of the most fun films of the year. Not deep, but fun. That being said, I won’t weep when the current business model goes away.

Alex

he’s totally right. Super hero movies are not only cultural genocide they’re ruining the movie business.

John Themany

"And they are honestly very right wing. I always see them as killing people because they do not believe in what you believe, or they are not being who you want them to be. I hate that, and don’t respond to those characters.”

Oh shut up! This turd just made it real easy to boycott his films.

Slen

Comics haven’t changed. Anything that doesn’t have an end in sight, wears thin and loses that main draw. There’s only so many times you kill the hero and bring them back or tell the same tired zombie bullshit.
AGI is speaking truth. Thei constant shitty down our throats of high budget "adaptations" has gotten tired and speaks to nothing.

josh

@stephen

i think you are giving Marvel the benefit of the doubt that they won’t dumb down the morale of Civil War, which was not the beacon of morality to begin with. thing with big budget films is that they are always full of dumb shit despite source material. comics indeed have moved on but not the tentpole, yearly event books like the one you mention. then again, 90% of everything is shit so who are we kidding?

Stephen

"I always see them as killing people because they do not believe in what you believe"
That’s an interesting thought, although ‘cultural genocide’ comes off as ignorant from the perspective of a comic book fan. He obviously has not read many modern comic books, The conservatism is very true of superhero films released so far. But the comic book world has long moved on from simplistic good guy/bad guy tropes. Watchmen being the most obvious reference. I wonder what he’ll think of the coming Civil War marvel movies. It gets much murkier from a moral perspective. Cap2 is already heading in that direction. Perhaps he doesn’t like popcorn movies having an opinion if he disagrees with their point of view. I am personally looking forward to the day when ‘comic book movie’ is not a genre. Comics are just another way to tell a story. Kind of like… movies.

Dryer

Every Marvel movie since Iron Man; every studio/movie in general since The Avengers perfectly ensconced in this quote:… the audience is so overexposed to plot and explosions and shit that doesn’t mean nothing..
I couldn’t agree more with Inarritu, sure their mildly entertaining in stints but now it’s everywhere and the art of cinema itself has suffered for it. It’s obscene how Hollywood is so bankrupt of originality and yet so willing to cater to one brand of audience. The Hangover sequels are the perfect example of a bankrupt mentality and how this comic book game will play out eventually. People will show up repeatedly dispite the repeated mental abuse by the actions on screen.

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