Denis Villeneuve Says Marvel Movies Have "Turned Us into Zombies"

The 'Dune' director is the latest to argue against the MCU's artistic merit

BY Allie GregoryPublished Sep 16, 2021

Joining the likes of Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola and other time-honoured filmmakers, Dune director Denis Villeneuve has now offered his opinion on the maligned Marvel Cinematic Universe, sharing that he feels big-budget superhero films are turning us into "zombies."

Speaking with Spanish publication El Mundo [via The Direct], Villeneuve slammed the MCU for its "cut and paste" format, and posed the question: "Who said that a movie on a big budget can't be artistically relevant at the same time?"

The director said: "Perhaps the problem is that we are in front of too many Marvel movies that are nothing more than a 'cut and paste' of others. Perhaps these types of movies have turned us into zombies a bit… But big and expensive movies of great value, there are many today. I don't feel capable of being pessimistic at all."

Noting that a film's budget shouldn't necessarily determine its artistic value, Villeneuve cited Christopher Nolan and Alfonso Cuarón as filmmakers who make use of their money appropriately.

"Just think of the golden age of Hollywood to see that commercial films can make a different artistic proposal and, therefore, political," he said. "I have never felt like a loss or an impediment to have a generous budget to do what I wanted to do."

Villeneuve's comments come following nearly two years of discourse surrounding whether MCU movies are or are not "cinema." The conversation began back in October 2019, with Scorsese comparing superhero pictures to "theme parks."

Coppola chimed in later, slamming the MCU and calling its films "despicable."

James Gunn, The Suicide Squad/Guardians of the Galaxy director, disagreed with Scorsese's comments, and later flipped on his initial stance, seemingly agreeing with Scorsese's take on modern superhero movies, calling them "really dumb" and "mostly boring."

Several MCU players, including Robert Downey Jr., Jon Favreau and more, have also weighed in.

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