From Martin Scorsese to Jane Campion: An Exhaustive List of Directors Who Swear They Won’t Make a Superhero Movie

“Companies are interested in female filmmakers but they still think action scenes are for male directors,” she said in an interview with Daily Pioneer. “The first thing I asked them was maybe if they could change the special effects because there’s so many laser lights… I find them horrible. Also the soundtrack of Marvel films is quite horrendous.”

Ridley Scott: While promoting House of Gucci, his second film to hit theaters in 2021, Scott threw an alley-oop off the backboard to himself during an interview with Deadline. “Almost always, the best films are driven by the characters, and we’ll come to superheroes after this if you want, because I’ll crush it. I’ll fucking crush it. They’re fucking boring as shit,” he said.

Notably, Scott called Blade Runner, Alien, and Gladiator “superhero movies,” but praised their scripts and the fact that they didn’t rely solely on special effects for spectacle.

Roland Emmerich: Emmerich, who trafficks in disaster-driven event pictures but has never done a straight-up superhero movie, offered pretty derisive comments to Insider back in 2019. “When I see Marvel movies, my eyes glaze over,” he said. “I watch them on the plane so I can fall asleep.”

Jane Campion: In a November 2021 Variety interview, the Oscar-wining director offered a succinct opinion: “I hate them,” she said. She then elaborated on what rankles her about the genre.“They’re so noisy and, like, ridiculous. Sometimes you get a good giggle, but I don’t know what the thing is with the capes, a grown man in tights. I feel like it must come from pantomime,” she said, unsurprisingly adding that she will “never” make one herself.

Ken Loach: The legendary British filmmaker Ken Loach invoked a quote from 18th century writer and painter William Blake in his condemnation of the genre. (He also equated them to “hamburgers.”)

“It’s about making a commodity which will make a profit for a big corporation—they’re a cynical exercise,” Loach said to Sky News. “They’re market exercise and it has nothing to do with the art of cinema. William Blake said, ‘When money is discussed—art is impossible.’”

James Gunn: Some more moderate criticism has come from inside the system. James Gunn, who directs the Guardians of the Galaxy series and also 2021’s The Suicide Squad, said in a July 2021 interview with the Irish Times said he felt they were “mostly boring for me right now,” and admitted the genre needed a shakeup, lest they go the way of of other once-ubiquiotius genres like cowboy or war flicks.

Bong Joon-ho: Perhaps the most incisive critique of superhero cinema came from the Parasite director while speaking to Deadline during the press run for his eventual Oscar winner.

“I respect the creativity that goes into superhero films, but in real life and in movies, I can’t stand people wearing tight-fitting clothes. I’ll never wear something like that, and just seeing someone in tight clothes is mentally difficult. I don’t know where to look, and I feel suffocated,” he said. “Most superheroes wear tight suits, so I can never direct one. I don’t think anyone will offer the project to me either. If there is a superhero who has a very boxy costume, maybe I can try.”

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