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Twitter Reacts to Francis Ford Coppola Branding Marvel Movies 'Despicable'

By Petr Knava | Social Media | October 21, 2019 |

By Petr Knava | Social Media | October 21, 2019 |


In the immortal words of CJ from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas,

In the wake of his fellow New Hollywood movie brat Martin Scorsese igniting the ire of fanboys everywhere with his less than glowing remarks regarding the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the effect that comic book movies in general and the Disney-ification of all things have had on the broader industry, Francis Ford Coppola has now waded into the fray, and he’s done so in typically Coppolian way not with a light touch but instead by brandishing a Baratheon-esque war hammer:

Twitter has, naturally, turned into a battleground as a result.

It may be a little bit obvious from my selection of tweets there which side of the argument I am more sympathetic to. Nevertheless, there are a few key points to reiterate here:

There are plenty to things to criticise someone like Frances Ford Coppola and the old industry he was—and is—a part of for. As one of the greatest filmmakers in American history, however, his insight into the industry is not one of those things.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being critical of the dominant media form of our time—nor of the colossal company that is responsible for the relentless assembly line churn and draconian film run dictation that has so ruthlessly established this dominance. Monopolies are bad—creatively, as well as pragmatically. That shouldn’t be a controversial point.

This isn’t a war between People Who Like Marvel and People Who Don’t Like Marvel, and it shouldn’t be taken personally. Coppola and Scorsese’s points should be seen for what they are: A systemic analysis of an industry that is changing, in many ways for the worse, and of the big players who are responsible for the change. Lashing out at Coppola by bringing up a bad movie or two he may have made is missing the point by a country mile. Everybody makes bad movies. Coppola is not criticising the individuals involved in comic book movies (many of whom are insanely talented); he’s critiquing the reality of the contemporary movie industry, which from a business standpoint has evolved into one where mega-budget superhero tent poles are fast becoming the only viable projects, and of the stifling atmosphere this inflicts on the collective creative imagination too.

I personally found Scorsese’s comments about comic book movies quite accurate, and fair. He said they were on the whole more similar to theme park rides than what he would traditionally consider ‘cinema’. That may sound snobbish but when considered in the grander picture of the industry it is not too far off the mark. Some of these movies are good, some bad, but the overarching goal behind them—the grand business and creative strategy—seems more in line with the theme park analogy than anything else. Despite the fact that categorising the movie industry as an eternal pseudo-Marxist struggle between ‘the creatives’ and ‘the suits’ would an obscene flattening of the narrative, it is the case that in many ways, as of now, the suits are winning. It wouldn’t be quite accurate to shrug these concerns off by comparing things to, say, the era of 90’s blockbusters either—as even if we just consider the power exercised by the one company in question today, the picture is almost unprecedented, and things are only getting worse. It’s not too much of a stretch of the imagination to look at movie theatres these days and to see a vast top-down project intended at turning all the multiplexes and smaller indie cinemas dotted around the globe into one gigantic extension of Disneyland. Soon, no matter which theatre you’ll go to, you will still just be enclosed within those borders. All of reality will be refracted only through the lens of superheroes and villains and Disney characters and we’ll all be totally unable to conceptually grapple with the lack of a caped heroic individual coming to rescue us from a planet set ablaze by corrupt systems.

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Petr is a staff contributor. You can follow him on Twitter.

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