John Woo Fears Marvel Movies ‘Will Make Young Audiences Get Lost When It Comes to Knowledge About Film’

Yet another director has taken aim against superhero tentpole movies.
John Woo'Manhunt' photocall, 74th Venice International Film Festival, Italy - 08 Sep 2017
John Woo
Alberto Terenghi/Shutterstock

Yet another director has fired off a missive against the Marvel Cinematic Universe and superhero movies in general, and if you’re keeping track, that’s so far Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, and now John Woo.

At the Hawaii International Film Festival, where the “Face/Off and “Hard Boiled” director received the festival’s Halekulani Lifetime Achievement Award, Woo took to the stage to support Scorsese’s recent comments that MCU films and their kin are the equivalent of an amusement park attraction.

“I’m concerned about when these movies get more and more popular, I’m afraid it will make young audiences get lost when it comes to knowledge about film,” Woo said, while appreciating that comic-book tentpole movies make money and entertain audiences. (This was originally reported by Deadline.)

Woo also recounted a story where the late Stan Lee actually approached the “Red Cliff” director to head a superhero movie, but he demurred. ““I don’t have that gift,” Woo said. “I’m not a sci-fi guy — I don’t think I could make a good one. There’s so much imagination. … I don’t think I can reach that level.”

He added that the Marvel movies now dominating the conversation have become the standard, and that emerging audiences will lose an appreciation of what “real cinema” is.

Martin Scorsese recently defined what that “real cinema” looks like in a New York Times op-ed that served to clarify his controversial viewpoints about Marvel movies. “What’s not there,” he wrote, regarding the MCU, “is revelation, mystery or genuine emotional danger. Nothing is at risk. The pictures are made to satisfy a specific set of demands, and they are designed as variations on a finite number of themes.”

Francis Ford Coppola also had to redefine what exactly he meant when he called Marvel movies “despicable,” blaming his Rome Film Festival rant that went viral on a translating issue. MCU veteran Mark Ruffalo recently took aim at Scorsese’s viewpoints but missed the mark entirely, completely forgetting Scorsese’s tireless efforts to wrest classic movies from disintegration through his Film Foundation.

If you’re not sure where you stand on the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s place in the actual cinematic universe, “Guardians of the Galaxy” writer/director James Gunn is here to soothe your qualms, as revealed in an Instagram post last month: “Not everyone will be able to appreciate them, even some geniuses. And that’s okay.”

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