Marvel Studios has changed the face of franchise filmmaking with their Cinematic Universe. Most of the other studios are now chasing their own shared universe dreams, which means that out the window goes any sense of full creative license on the part of some individual filmmakers. For those that made their name helping to re-write the rules of cinema, is it really so surprising when such a person says something about being “bored shitless” by Marvel movies? Well, that’s a direct quote from John Landis who recently unloaded on the MCU for losing any sense of the “human scale,” which is why he liked Wonder Woman.
While talking to entertainment.ie, the director of Animal House, An American Werewolf in London, The Blues Brothers, and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video, had the following to say about Marvel movies:
“I’m just… truthfully, I’m bored shitless with the Marvel Universe now. All the superhero movies tend to be interchangeable, you always have these mass destruction of cities and huge computer-generated extravaganzas to the point where you could take a reel from any of the Marvel superhero movies and put it any of the others and nobody would notice. They’re very well-made, it’s just they’re the same thing over and over again. But, I don’t know, people are showing up. One of the reasons Wonder Woman has been received so well by the critics is that it doesn’t destroy cities! (laughs) Even the superhero stuff is on a very human scale, it’s the gods! We’re not seeing skyscrapers tumbling! (laughs).”
Marvel heads will probably take extreme exception to Landis’ comments, and point out that Landis hasn’t directed anything since an episode of Franklin & Bash in 2012; indeed, it’s more likely that younger movie fans are more familiar with the work of John’s son Max Landis then they are with his work, but that’s not entirely fair. What have you seen from John Carpenter lately? Or Joe Dante? Both talented filmmakers who seem unable to catch a break despite their track records and status.
But let’s consider what Landis had to say about the MCU, because I think a lot of us recognize the patterns when it comes to these movies and enjoy it when the films end up breaking them. Take Captain America: Civil War for example, where the final battle was a deeply personal fist fight between Cap and Tony Stark, or Doctor Strange where the sorcerer uses magic to trick the bad guy into ending his attack rather than hurling CGI garbage at each other. So maybe Landis has a point, but maybe he also could have been less of a dick about it.
Spider-Man: Homecoming, the next MCU film that Landis can be “bored $#!%less” by, is in theatres everywhere on July 7.