Director Denis Villeneuve is the latest director to be asked his thoughts on the Marvel Cinematic juggernaut and the answer is a bit complicated. While he calls the Marvel movies ‘cut and paste,’ he has also praised the decision to hire Chloe Zhao for Marvel’s Eternals as a “genius” move.
Speaking with the Spanish newspaper El Mundo, Villeneuve was asked about the process of making artistic films on a big budget, which Villeneuve said is certainly doable like in the case of Christopher Nolan and Alfonso Cuarón.
This led to Martin Scorsese’s comments on Marvel movies, and how the director has been critical of Marvel movies in the past. In a quote IGN independently translated, Villeneuve seemingly agreed with Scorsese, saying, “Perhaps the problem is there are too many Marvel films that are nothing more than a cut and paste of others. Maybe these types of movies have turned us a little bit into zombies.”
Villeneuve also added, “Nowadays there are a lot of big and expensive movies that have a lot of value. I don’t feel capable of being completely pessimistic.”
While this might be another case of a well-respected director being critical of the MCU, Villeneuve isn’t wholly against the Marvel machine. In a separate director’s round-table with Harpers Bazaar, Villeneuve was part of a panel with Academy Award winner Chloe Zhao who is currently directing The Eternals for Marvel.
There, Villeneuve praised Zhao’s hiring as “genius,” telling Zhao, “I’m your biggest fan. I think it’s genius that Marvel approached you because you’re the radical opposite of it aesthetically.” Villeneuve praised Zhao’s The Rider and how after watching it, he wrote Zhao “an artistic love letter” for her ability to capture life on camera.
Villeneuve’s comments about cut-and-paste Marvel movie have been criticized on social media, most notably by Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson, who resurfaced a tweet he made defending his Marvel work when Scorsese initially made his comments.
time to retweet this https://t.co/oQ0q2Jovn5
— N O S ⋊ Ɔ I ᴚ ᴚ Ǝ ᗡ ⊥ ⊥ O Ɔ S (@scottderrickson) September 16, 2021
“As a director I don’t slag on the work of other directors even when I don’t like something they’ve made. This job is hard enough for all of us, and nobody ever sets out to make a bad movie,” Derrickson wrote.
District 9 director Neil Blomkamp had some choice words of his own.
Villeneuve’s comments come amid the international rollout of Dune, which is starting to arrive in European theaters. Initial returns have been very positive, as have reviews. IGN’s Dune review called it “beautiful to behold” while noting that it represents only the first part of Frank Herbert’s famous novel.
“This is a technically brilliant, visually amazing movie with a top-notch cast and deep sci-fi concepts. A shame, then, that it feels like a drag in its back half,” IGN reviewer Scott Collura wrote.
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With Dune drawing comparisons to MCU owing to their appear to similar audiences, Villeneuve seems eager to contrast the two. He made similar comments in the French publication Premiere.
We’ll be able to see for ourselves how Dune differs when it launches in U.S. theaters on October 22. While you wait, check out our exclusive breakdown of the pain box scene with Villeneuve, and find out the reference he wishes could have been included in the movie.
Kat Bailey and Matt Kim are news editors at IGN.