A lot of prominent filmmakers have spoken out against Disney’s Marvel model or superhero movies in general, with the most prominent being Martin Scorsese, who—in an essay published last year—argued that Marvel and Disney are reducing movies to “content” and that “a David Lean movie, a cat video, a Super Bowl commercial, a superhero sequel, and a series episode” are all effectively the same thing these days. (The great Alex McLevy went deep on it in this essay.)
Basically, Scorsese’s argument wasn’t that all superhero movies are bad or that anyone is wrong to like them, it’s that Disney’s decision to put out constant sequels and insist that you have to see each one is devaluing movies in general. Still, though, some people refuse to engage with Scorsese’s argument, possibly because he’s from an older generation and makes films rather than movies, but surely the same can’t be said of the latest critic of the superhero boom: Roland Emmerich.
Emmerich, whose latest film Moonfall is “inept… even by the relatively low stands of big-budget popcorn fare,” recently spoke with Den Of Geek and declared that “Marvel and DC Comics and Star Wars have pretty much taken over.” He says this is ruining the movie industry because “nobody does anything original anymore,” which seems at least a little fair. Spider-Man: No Way Home is Sony’s biggest movie ever, and Warner’s Justice League movie was so bad that the studio just made a different one.
Interestingly, Emmerich points to Christopher Nolan as the kind of filmmaker who can still “make bold new movies,” adding that he can “make movies about whatever he wants.” One could point out that Nolan is only allowed to make movies about whatever he wants because his Dark Knight series was so enormous, but one could also argue that it’s the success of all of his other movies that have given him the freedom to do stuff like Tenet. Anyone should be able to make money with Batman, after all.
Emmerich also adds that he has it “a little bit harder” than Nolan when it comes to making original films, but he does concede that he has a “big enough name” to make some movies he wants—“especially when it’s a disaster or has some sort of disaster theme.” Huh, has anyone noticed that Roland Emmerich tends to make movies with a disaster theme?