Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Ridley Scott—these big filmmakers have criticized Marvel movies over the years, and recently, the mind behind Kill Bill, Quentin Tarantino, has said his piece about actors from the superhero cinematic universe.
In an interview on the 2 Bears 1 Cave podcast, Tarantino said the decline in movie stars was due to the "Marvel-ization of Hollywood."
"Part of the Marvel-ization of Hollywood is... you have all these actors who have become famous playing all these characters. But they're not movie stars. Right?" he said.
"Captain America is the star, or Thor is the star. I mean, I'm not the first person to say that. I think that's been said a zillion times... but it's these franchise characters that become a star."
The Once Upon a Time in Hollywood director clarified that he doesn't love MCU movies or hate them—he just feels like these flicks are oversaturated.
"I used to collect Marvel comics like crazy when I was a kid. There's an aspect that if these movies were coming out when I was made in my twenties, I would totally be f*cking happy and totally love them. [But] they wouldn't be the only movies being made, they would be those movies amongst other movies," he said.
In 2022 alone, Marvel Studios released three blockbusters (Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Thor: Love and Thunder, and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever) and two television specials (Werewolf by Night, The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special).
Additionally, MCU series including Moon Knight, Ms. Marvel, and She-Hulk: Attorney at Law were released this year on Disney+.
"My only axe to grind is they're the only things that seem to be made. And they're the only things that seem to generate any kind of excitement amongst a fan base or even for the studio making them... So it's just the fact that they are the entire representation of this era of movies right now. There's not really much room for anything else. That's my problem. It's a problem of representation," Tarantino continued.
Shang-Chi pushes back
Reacting to the filmmaker's statement, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings star Simu Liu defended Marvel and its actors.
"If the only gatekeepers to movie stardom came from Tarantino and Scorsese, I would never have had the opportunity to lead a $400 million plus movies," Liu said on Twitter. "I am in awe of their filmmaking genius. They are transcendent auteurs. But they don't get to point their nose at me or anyone."
The Chinese-Canadian actor also praised the studio's efforts to "improve diversity onscreen by creating heroes that empower and inspire people of all communities everywhere."
"I loved the 'Golden Age' too... but it was white as hell," he concluded.
Deadpool creator Robert Liefield also gave his two cents about Tarantino's comments, calling it the "hottest of hot takes."
In 2019, filmmaking legend Martin Scorsese said Marvel movies were "not cinema" and instead are "theme parks." Marvel directors James Gunn and Joss Whedon took issue with this and expressed their disappointment at the remarks.