Jennifer Aniston made headlines earlier this month in her Allure cover issue when she declared: “There are no more movie stars.” It’s a statement that director Quentin Tarantino agrees with, echoing the sentiment in a recent interview on Monday (November 21). Tarantino attributed the loss of movie stars to the “Marvel-ization of Hollywood.”
“Part of the Marvel-ization of Hollywood is… you have all these actors who have become famous playing these characters,” the Pulp Fiction director said. “But they’re not movie stars. Right? 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 like, you know, it’s these franchise characters that become a star. I’m not even putting them down frankly, to tell you the truth, but that is one of the — the legacy of the Marvel-ization of Hollywood movies.” Tarantino clarified in the interview that he doesn’t “hate” Marvel movies but dislikes them for being the only product Hollywood seems interested in making these days.
“Look, I used to collect Marvel comics like crazy when I was a kid,” Tarantino, 59, said. “If these movies were coming out when I was in my twenties, I would totally be f—king happy and totally love them. I mean, they wouldn’t be the only movies being made. They would be those movies amongst other movies. But, you know, I’m almost 60, so, no, I’m not quite as excited about them.”
“My only axe to grind against them is they’re the only things that seem to be made,” he added. “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. That’s what they’re excited about. And 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.” Earlier this month he told the Los Angeles Times that he will never direct a Marvel movie because “you have to be a hired hand to do those things. I’m not a hired hand. I’m not looking for a job.”
Anthony Mackie, who plays The Falcon AKA Captain America’s replacement in the MCU said that he isn’t a movie star. “The Falcon is a movie star. And that’s what’s weird. It used to be Tom Cruise and Will Smith and [Sylvester] Stallone and [Arnold] Schwarzenegger. When you went to the movies you would go to see the Stallone movie. You went to go see the Schwarzenegger movie. Now, you go see X-Men. So the evolution of the superhero has meant the death of the movie star, and that’s the fear now. Because you’re now making movies for 16-year-olds and China — and that’s it. You think some of your favorite movies growing up, they wouldn’t get made today.”
In 2019, director Martin Scorses told the New York Times that “the sameness of today’s franchise pictures is something else again. Many of the elements that define cinema as I know it are there in Marvel pictures. What’s not there is revelation, mystery or genuine emotional danger. Nothing is at risk. The pictures are made to satisfy a specific set of demands, and they are designed as variations on a finite number of themes. They are sequels in name but they are remakes in spirit, and everything in them is officially sanctioned because it can’t really be any other way. That’s the nature of modern film franchises: market-researched, audience-tested, vetted, modified, revetted and remodified until they’re ready for consumption.”
The Goodfellas director added in the op-ed: “So, you might ask, what’s my problem? Why not just let superhero films and other franchise films be? The reason is simple. In many places around this country and around the world, franchise films are now your primary choice if you want to see something on the big screen. It’s a perilous time in film exhibition, and there are fewer independent theaters than ever. The equation has flipped and streaming has become the primary delivery system. Still, I don’t know a single filmmaker who doesn’t want to design films for the big screen, to be projected before audiences in theaters.”