James Cameron Takes Aim At Marvel, DC Characters: “They All Act Like They’re In College”

  

Category:  Entertainment

Via:  john-russell  •  one month ago  •  38 comments

James Cameron Takes Aim At Marvel, DC Characters: “They All Act Like They’re In College”
“I don’t know that anyone gets anything out of seeing the same movie over and over again. Martin was kind when he said it’s not cinema. He didn’t say it’s despicable, which I just say it is.”

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



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James Cameron Takes Aim At Marvel, DC Characters: “They All Act Like They’re In College”


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Add   James Cameron   to the list of elite filmmakers taking umbrage with today’s superhero films.

The three-time Oscar winner critiqued the storytelling of   Marvel   and   DC   in   an interview with The New York Times   published on Tuesday. “When I look at these big, spectacular films — I’m looking at you, Marvel and DC — it doesn’t matter how old the characters are, they all act like they’re in college,” he said. “They have relationships, but they really don’t. They never hang up their spurs because of their kids. The things that really ground us and give us power, love, and a purpose? Those characters don’t experience it, and I think that’s not the way to make movies.”

Cameron is in good company, when it comes to his views on today’s superhero-driven blockbusters, with Martin Scorsese, Ridley Scott, Francis Ford Coppola and Jane Campion among those having expressed a similar distaste for them. “I don’t see [Marvel films]. I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema,”   Scorsese told Empire magazine in 2019 . “Honestly, the closest I can think of them, as well made as they are, with actors doing the best they can under the circumstances, is theme parks. It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.”

Coppola was among those   backing Scorsese up   at the time, even if directors like James Gunn took issue with his point of view.

“When Martin Scorsese says that the Marvel pictures are not cinema, he’s right, because we expect to learn something from cinema, we expect to gain something, some enlightenment, some knowledge, some inspiration,” said Coppola while in France to accept the Prix Lumiere for his contributions to cinema. “I don’t know that anyone gets anything out of seeing the same movie over and over again. Martin was kind when he said it’s not cinema. He didn’t say it’s despicable, which I just say it is.”

Cameron’s comments on superhero storytelling came during a conversation with the stars of his upcoming sci-fi epic   Avatar: The Way of Water   — the sequel to his record-shattering blockbuster   Avatar   from 20th Century Studios, which has been awaited for 13 years.

The original film, which grossed over $2.9B at the worldwide box office, watches as the paraplegic Marine Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), dispatched on a unique mission to the moon Pandora, becomes torn between following his orders and protecting the world he feels is his home. The sequel arriving on December 16 picks up with Jake, Pandora native Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña) and their family as they look to fend off a new threat to the race of aliens known as the Na’vi. Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Yeoh, Stephen Lang, Kate Winslet and more also star in the new film, to be followed by at least three sequels set for December 20, 2024, December 18, 2026 and December 22, 2028.




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JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1  seeder  JohnRussell    one month ago
“When I look at these big, spectacular films — I’m looking at you, Marvel and DC — it doesn’t matter how old the characters are, they all act like they’re in college,” he said. “They have relationships, but they really don’t. They never hang up their spurs because of their kids. The things that really ground us and give us power, love, and a purpose? Those characters don’t experience it, and I think that’s not the way to make movies.”
 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
1.1  Tessylo  replied to  JohnRussell @1    one month ago

I like a lot of the Marvel Universe movies but it seems to be getting a bit saturated.

DC is pretty decent as well.  

It's a big market - sounds like James Cameron has had his day.   Although I imagine he's wealthy enough to not really care.

 
 
 
GregTx
Junior Participates
2  GregTx    one month ago

They're based on comic books.....

 
 
 
cjcold
Professor Quiet
2.1  cjcold  replied to  GregTx @2    one month ago

I'm sure you meant Graphic Novels.

 
 
 
GregTx
Junior Participates
2.1.1  GregTx  replied to  cjcold @2.1    one month ago

Ha, I would think that depends on your generation.

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
2.1.2  Tessylo  replied to  GregTx @2.1.1    one month ago

There's a huge difference between graphic novels and comic books.  

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
3  seeder  JohnRussell    one month ago

I have rarely watched superhero movies. I've seen a couple Batman's the original Superman, Wonder Woman, and one of the Iron Mans, and the Fantastic Four.  It has been about 45 years since the Superman movie, so I havent seen many superhero movies at all. 

From what I've seen in clips and pieces I'd say Cameron and Scorsese are right though. 

And where would the "Marvel Universe" be without CGI?  Nowhere. You cant make a superhero movie without computer imaging. 

The superhero genre supplanted (among others) the western genre. I hate that. 

I read in an article once that even though he only starred in  a relative handful of westerns, Robert Duvall is one of the great western film heroes of all time. Aint that the truth. Lonesome Dove, Open Range, and Broken Trail are all great and I would watch them in lieu of a supehero movie ten times out of ten. 

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
3.1  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  JohnRussell @3    one month ago

Don't pass up Tender Mercies, which in my opinion deserved a better response. 

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
3.2  Tessylo  replied to  JohnRussell @3    one month ago

I never liked Westerns.  We watched all the movies and TV shows as kids but as an adult, don't care for them at all.  

 
 
 
CB
Professor Principal
4  CB     one month ago

My biggest issue with CGI, which does not bother me in the superhero genre itself, is the 'exploitative' content of "imaging" everywhere. That is, where it is abused by one show 'showcasing' as many characters as they can fit in a series. That taxes credulity. INVALID. Then CGI spills over into television commercials. . . .  Or, the content being politicized pretextually just to be inclusive-not caring or taking the time to elaborate on why the character is needed as a woman or as a homosexual, for instance.  She-Hulk on Disney + performing law doing the day and she-hulking on-demand as a side-hustle.  NOT VALID.

There is one thing shows and movies do that I almost detest and have stopped watching altogether when they come on. . . the 'after-show' or activity where they explain how the 'magic' is done. Whatever happened to mystery?

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
5  Buzz of the Orient    one month ago
"I don’t know that anyone gets anything out of seeing the same movie over and over again."

It's inevitable that I notice, hear or understand something new or different when I watch a movie again.  There are movies I've watched MANY times and still look forward to watching them again.  As for the Marvel movies being criticized by Cameron, I think it depends on what a person expects or is looking for when watching a movie.  Many Marvel movies are created for kids to watch, and those movies may have all the ingredients they can comprehend and are looking for.  

 
 
 
CB
Professor Principal
5.1  CB   replied to  Buzz of the Orient @5    one month ago

True on all accounts. And for that 'kid' reason, most adults were imagining the stories from when we were young boys reading comic books-when it was (all) in the mind and not possible on screens anywhere near the caliber of entertainment we have today. You are special to be a movie aficionado, able to squeeze all the 'goodness' out of a great movie. 

Just so you know, I have discovered I have a similar 'passion' with books, especially audiobooks. I can relisten to audiobooks time and time again and get more out of them time and time again! :)

 
 
 
Tacos!
Professor Guide
6  Tacos!    one month ago

Hey, if you don’t want to see the movie, don’t see it. But nobody likes a snob - and a hypocritical one at that. You ask me, it’s just sour grapes that Cameron and these others aren’t riding the superhero gravy train.

 
 
 
Sparty On
Professor Principal
6.1  Sparty On  replied to  Tacos! @6    one month ago

Agreed.

Cameron is a well known arrogant POS.

So he’s made some great movies.  

So what

 
 
 
evilgenius
Professor Guide
6.2  evilgenius  replied to  Tacos! @6    one month ago
Hey, if you don’t want to see the movie, don’t see it.

That's the thing though. It seems as if they all HAVE to see it though and that in turn generates more of the same. 

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
7  seeder  JohnRussell    one month ago

Some of these critical directors are not just movie fans, they are students of cinema and know a lot about the history and development of it. Most of these well known directors, if not all, have degrees from the nation's most prestigious film schools. 

I found Coppola's comments a little "ironic" though. He talks about people watching the same movie over and over again, but that is exactly what happens with his The Godfather. People watch that movie over and over and over. 

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
8  sandy-2021492    one month ago

Please.  Avatar was, IMO, one of the most over-rated films I've ever seen.  And it was full of tropes - the idealistic young man in over his head, the gung-ho sergeant who is all about the mission and following orders, the wise natives protecting their home.  They were just overused borrowed characters with CGI.  And I don't think I've ever rolled my eyes harder than when I heard the name of the mineral they were looking for.  Unobtainium, seriously?

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
8.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  sandy-2021492 @8    one month ago

James Cameron directed Aliens, The Terminator, Terminator 2, True Lies, and Titanic. All of these movies were iconic. Trying to diss James Cameron is a fool's errand. 

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
8.1.1  sandy-2021492  replied to  JohnRussell @8.1    one month ago

And Avatar was over-rated, ripped off other works, and relied too heavily on CGI.  It's all a matter of opinion, John, and I'm as entitled to mine as anyone else.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
8.1.2  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  sandy-2021492 @8.1.1    one month ago

Of course.

Cameron, Coppola and Scorsese are three of the most celebrated directors in movie history.  They also are students and historians of film. In a nutshell, agree with them or not they know what they are talking about. Marvel universe movies are simplistic, often juvenile, fantasies filled with visual spectacle. I think it would be fine if they were a sub-genre appealing to teenagers and young adults. To have this genre dominate current entertainment is crazy, imo. But the studios go where the money is. 

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
8.1.3  Tessylo  replied to  JohnRussell @8.1    one month ago

So what?  Really?  What's the big deal?

I'd say Alien was iconic, not Aliens.  

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
8.1.4  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Tessylo @8.1.3    one month ago
I'd say Alien was iconic, not Aliens.  

Gotta disagree with you there. Both movies were iconic. Aliens is 98% on Rotten Tomatoes by the way. 

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
8.1.5  Tessylo  replied to  JohnRussell @8.1.4    one month ago

That's fine.  It doesn't matter.

To me Alien is iconic.  Not Aliens.  Who cares about the Rotten Tomatoes rating?  I don't

 
 
 
Tacos!
Professor Guide
8.1.6  Tacos!  replied to  JohnRussell @8.1    one month ago

Aliens and T2 - IMO -  are comic book movies. They didn’t draw directly from that source material, and nobody is wearing a cape and tights, but the character and story construction is the same. Call them “monster movies” maybe. They’re good movies, but still in the same basic genre.

On the other hand, 3 of those 5 movies are Arnold Schwarzenegger movies. Is there anybody in the history of cinema who looked more like a super hero than Arnold effing Schwarzenegger? In the 80s and 90s, that dude could make a hundred million dollars on any story with any director. Twins? Kindergarten Cop?

And talk about seeing the same movie over and over: According to IMDB , Cameron is already filming Avatar 5.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Principal
8.2  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  sandy-2021492 @8    one month ago

My wife didn't like the movie at all for the same reasons that you mentioned.  She and my daughter had fun making jokes about it all the way home, Dances with Wolves on Pandora.  I enjoyed the stunning visuals and attention to detail in imagining this very different world.  However, I agree that the cartoonish characters were distracting and the dialogue was worse.  It would have been a better movie if more effort had been on the storytelling even if that meant less on the visuals.  

 
 
 
Sparty On
Professor Principal
8.3  Sparty On  replied to  sandy-2021492 @8    one month ago

Well, the world disagree’s with you.    Last I looked Avatar had made more money than any other movie in history.    Nearly 3 billion worldwide.    That’s not nothing.

Cameron is an ass of a person but he makes movies that people like.    Most people that is.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
8.3.1  sandy-2021492  replied to  Sparty On @8.3    one month ago

I'm ok with that.  There are plenty of people making money off of crap.

And I like some of Cameron's films.  I loved The Abyss.

 
 
 
Sparty On
Professor Principal
8.3.2  Sparty On  replied to  sandy-2021492 @8.3.1    one month ago

Meh, one persons trash is another’s treasure.   To each their own

I feel sorry for folks who can’t simply just enjoy such things without nitpicking them to pieces.

I saw Avatar in 3D iMax.    It was visually stunning, entertaining and well worth the extra $$.

 
 
 
evilgenius
Professor Guide
8.3.3  evilgenius  replied to  Sparty On @8.3.2    one month ago
I saw Avatar in 3D iMax.    It was visually stunning, entertaining and well worth the extra $$.

Our iMax theater is uncomfortable, but I saw it in 3D myself and it was stunning. I have the movie BluRay in my collection and still watch it from time to time. There are flaws, but it's still a decent action flick.

 
 
 
evilgenius
Professor Guide
8.4  evilgenius  replied to  sandy-2021492 @8    one month ago
Avatar was, IMO, one of the most over-rated films I've ever seen.

The story of Avatar comes in second to the iconic way it was filmed at the time. Nobody pushes the envelope like Cameron. 

And it was full of tropes -

The White Savior trope should just die already. 

Unobtainium, seriously?

It's like they aren't even trying.

 
 
 
Ronin2
Professor Quiet
8.4.1  Ronin2  replied to  evilgenius @8.4    one month ago
The White Savior trope should just die already. 

He isn't the White Savior trope any longer. He is now the woke native leader trope that knows all about humans and how they operate having lived among them and learned their ways.

They can't kill him. It would ruin the trope continuity line.

 
 
 
evilgenius
Professor Guide
8.4.2  evilgenius  replied to  Ronin2 @8.4.1    one month ago
They can't kill him. It would ruin the trope continuity line.

We wouldn't want that to get in the way of profits for movie #3, 4 or 5.

 
 
 
Ronin2
Professor Quiet
8.5  Ronin2  replied to  sandy-2021492 @8    one month ago

Wow, someone else that didn't like Avatar? I don't feel so alone now.

My biggest fault with Avatar is that the corporation doesn't care about the natives or the land. Why the hell didn't they pound them into oblivion from space? They had one or two very large vessels orbiting the planet. You can't tell me they weren't weaponized. Their competitors are mentioned a few times in the movie.

Instead they make like the Russians and fight the natives on the natives' terms. With the same results.

I know, I know, there wouldn't be a movie if logic applied .

And I don't think I've ever rolled my eyes harder than when I heard the name of the mineral they were looking for.  Unobtainium, seriously?

You just rolled your eyes? I couldn't stop laughing. They must have been all out of Doesn'texistium, Can'tfindium, and Scarcium. Doesn't seem the natives care about the Unobtainium in the slightest. So why in the hell were they fighting them over it? Negotiate terms for mining and then get ready for war in the following years when the sources run out and the corporation has to secure the native's sacred spots.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
8.5.1  sandy-2021492  replied to  Ronin2 @8.5    one month ago

I watched it once.  The visual effects were excellent.  The storyline and characters sucked.

They must have been all out of Doesn'texistium, Can'tfindium, and Scarcium.

jrSmiley_91_smiley_image.gif

I might not have stopped at an eye roll.  There may have been colorful words.  But I'm not sure, because overall, the movie was just not especially memorable.

I had the same reaction to them naming the planet Pandora.

 
 
 
CB
Professor Principal
9  CB     one month ago

I enjoy all of it. I 'mitigate' some of the critical lapses across the board. I get the intent of the movies and series. I dislike the abuse, nevertheless. That is, the cheapening of the simplistic where it is just obvious this is a 'blockbuster' for the bucks. For example:  Black Panther is a good movie and inspirational. However, the effort to make epic-comic movies will require something more than a feel good movie. And that may be what John Russell is "upset" about. The movies need to flesh out (without distorting how people old and young remember) the characters. And on top of it all make money.

That said: Black Adam + The Rock is going to be interesting to see if he can "save" the industry from itself!

 
 
 
CB
Professor Principal
10  CB     one month ago

In addition, this may be the moment called for in time. We have enjoyed more or less the 'formative' years of watching CGI be next-level treatment of complex "marvelous" super creatures and beings; but the time has arrived for something more memorable at the end of the film.

I can not begin to explain how one step up I was from underwhelmed after watching both of these films: ETERNALS  and Dr. Strange: Universe of Madness. The depth of the characters simply was not there.  Angela Jolie could not save the former. CGI could not save either of them.

Sometimes I find myself waiting for next in the series to help get me back in touch!

 
 
 
CB
Professor Principal
11  CB     one month ago

Also, do the comic-fiction genre suffer from design? That is, original intent is to shelter young people from blood and guts reality of movie-making?

G Rating

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PG Rating

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PG-13 Rating

mpaa-pg-13-rating.png
 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Principal
11.1  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  CB @11    one month ago

Good question CB, inquiring minds want to know.

 
 

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