Legendary director Quentin Tarantino has always been a cinephile first and a filmmaker later. He is a regular movie watcher and even has a podcast called The Video Archives Podcast, where he looks at classic films on VHS and talks about them. He has also not shied away from stating his opinion about contemporary films.
Earlier this year, Tarantino made headlines for his opinion on the MCU and its impact on pop culture. He spoke about the death of movie stars in Hollywood and how the actors in the Marvel films have gained fans not because of their talent but because of their portrayal of those characters. MCU’s Captain America Chris Evans replied to the statement by saying that he agreed with the director’s statement.
Quentin Tarantino’s Criticism Of The MCU
With Avengers: Endgame being the second-highest-grossing film of all time (it was briefly the first), the MCU became one of the most profitable and highest-grossing film franchises of all time. The shared cinematic universe was novel when it first started and influenced multiple studios to start building connected universes within the franchises they owned to varying degrees of success.
The franchise has received much criticism from classic Hollywood filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese who compared the films to a theme park ride. Quentin Tarantino made clear his stance on the trend when he appeared on the 2 Bears, 1 Cave podcast,
“I don’t hate them, but I don’t love them…If these movies were coming out when I was in my 20s, [then] I would totally be happy and totally love them…my only axed grind against them is they’re the only things that seem to be made. They’re the only things that seem to generate any kind of excitement…even like for the studio making them…so it’s just the fact that they are the entire representation of this era of movies right now.”
The director also mentioned the rise of this generation’s stars and how MCU actors like Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth were known not as actors, but as the comic-book characters they played. He said,
“You have all these actors who have become famous playing these characters. But they’re not movie stars. Right? Captain America is the star. Or Thor is the star…it’s these franchise characters that become a star…if an actor stars in a movie that does as good as the Marvel movies do, well, that guy’s a new star.”
Tarantino lamented the fact that audiences just want to see the actors play those characters on screen and not the actors themselves.
Chris Evans’ Response To Quentin Tarantino
Stars of the MCU responded to Quentin Tarantino’s criticism of their films. Samuel L. Jackson, who stars in the MCU as Nick Fury and has featured in six of Tarantino’s nine films, lashed back at his director saying that it took good actors to be as iconic as these characters and that stardom always translated to getting audiences into the cinemas.
MCU’s former frontman Robert Downey Jr. also reacted to the director’s statement, saying that an IP is only as good as the human talent portraying it and that there was room for all kinds of films in the industry to thrive. Chris Evans took the criticism in a positive light and said that his comments were not necessarily a bad thing. He said in a GQ interview,
“That was the beauty of working on Marvel movies. You never had to be the center of attention. Even in your own movies sometimes…Quentin Tarantino said that recently and I was like, you know, he’s right. The character is the star. You’re there, but you don’t feel a big weight.”
Evans has appeared as Steve Rogers a.k.a Captain America in eleven movies in the MCU, getting his own trilogy and appearing as a frontman in the Avengers films.