Roger Corman: Marvel Could Improve by Following James Cameron’s Tactics of ‘Story Comes First’

"With Marvel, it sometimes feels like the special effects are the stars," Corman said of the MCU, "and the story frankly can be filler between the special effects."
Avatar 2
"Avatar: The Way of Water"

Legendary B-movie filmmaker Roger Corman has officially entered the Marvel debate.

The 96-year-old director and producer admitted to Paste that he has a “somewhat bad reaction, to be honest” toward the MCU, in part because he had “an option with Marvel to do one of their films, with Orion” years ago. Now semi-retired while still developing a remake of “Little Shop of Horrors” for Paramount, Corman admitted to having notes for what Marvel could do better.

“I do think, actually, that they are extremely well made, and the special effects are just phenomenal. I think they’re good pictures,” Corman explained. “But if I have any quibble with them, it’s that…Jim Cameron, who started with me, when you see a big-budget effects film from Jim, you always recognize that the story comes first, and the special effects are only there to help the story. Whereas with Marvel, it sometimes feels like the special effects are the stars, and the story frankly can be filler between the special effects.”

Corman summed up, “It could be improved if they followed the lead of Jim and worked more on their stories.”

Used to minimal budgets, Corman reflected on first funding “Little Shop of Horrors” with $35,000.

“The new one would be about $8 million!” Corman added, “The script is still being worked on, we’ve gone through two or three writers and the third writer has finally hit the mark I think.”

Meanwhile, James Cameron’s own “Avatar” universe is returning to the big screen to contend with the MCU. Cameron’s “Avatar: The Way of Water” opens in theaters December 16 and has a rumored budget of anywhere between $250 to $600 million.

Former Corman collaborators Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola previously slammed Marvel for being akin to “theme parks.” Scorsese said he tries not to watch Marvel movies since it’s “not cinema” and doesn’t “convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.”

Coppola later agreed: “When Martin Scorsese says that the Marvel pictures are not cinema, he’s right because we expect to learn something from cinema, we expect to gain something, some enlightenment, some knowledge, some inspiration…I don’t know that anyone gets anything out of seeing the same movie over and over again,” the “Godfather” director stated. “Martin was kind when he said it’s not cinema. He didn’t say it’s despicable, which I just say it is.”

Daily Headlines
Daily Headlines covering Film, TV and more.

By subscribing, I agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

PMC Logo
IndieWire is a part of Penske Media Corporation. © 2023 IndieWire Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved.