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‘Cosmopolis’ Director David Cronenberg Believes Superhero Movies Are Boring
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David Cronenberg

David Cronenberg‘s films aren’t intended to make big bucks at the box office; they are intended to make bold statements. His films explore the dark nature of bodily transformations, infestation, technology, and now with Cosmopolis coming out tomorrow, economics.

Recently, the director chatted about his latest directorial effort, but gave some interestingly negative thoughts about superhero movies.

You can see the quote below.

Here’s what Cronenberg had to say about directors like Christopher Nolan directing films like The Dark Knight Rises:

I don’t think they are making them an elevated art form. I think it’s still Batman running around in a stupid cape. I just don’t think it’s elevated. Christopher Nolan’s best movie is “Memento,” and that is an interesting movie. I don’t think his Batman movies are half as interesting though they’re 20 million times the expense. What he is doing is some very interesting technical stuff, which, you know, he’s shooting IMAX and in 3-D. That’s really tricky and difficult to do. I read about it in “American Cinematography Magazine,” and technically, that’s all very interesting. The movie, to me, they’re mostly boring.

Sure he may have not been reading the Hollywood trades, otherwise he would have known that none of Nolan’s Batman films have been filmed in 3D. But that is just a minor inaccuracy; what’s more important is what he says about superhero movies as a whole. He doesn’t find Nolan’s interpretation of Batman to be interesting at all, and believes that what he did for those films is more technical than anything else.

There is some truth to what Cronenberg said. Not that the film wasn’t interesting, but Nolan changed the way we look at films by using the traditional method of shooting. With many opting for digital film, it’s getting harder and harder to find a director who is willing to take on the challenge of using stock film. But whatever he thinks of Nolan’s Batman’s films are obviously his opinion.

Then the interviewer asked if superhero films can be more than a just a summer tentpole, to which he replied no. But he does believe that the horror genre can be produced for the artistic pallets.

Here is the full response:

Absolutely. Anybody who works in the studio system has got 20 studio people sitting on his head at every moment, and they have no respect, and there’s no”¦it doesn’t matter how successful you’ve been. And obviously Nolan has been very successful. He’s got a lot of power, relatively speaking. But he doesn’t really have power. [Q: So that’s a no.] I would say that’s a no, you know. And the problem is you gotta”¦ as I say, you can do some interesting, maybe unexpected things. And certainly, I’ve made the horror films and people say, “Can you make a horror film also an art film?” And I would say, “Yeah, I think you can.” But a superhero movie, by definition, you know, it’s comic book. It’s for kids. It’s adolescent in its core. That has always been its appeal, and I think people who are saying, you know, “Dark Knight Rises” is, you know, supreme cinema art,” I don’t think they know what the f**k they’re talking about.

Again, there is some truth to that. Often times studios does get in the director’s way. The studios hope that the changes they want to see would earn them the big bucks. Obviously a director would like to have full control of what they are doing for the project, but often times a studio steps in to change a few things.

So while Cronenberg does offer some valid points about the state of the superhero movie, he isn’t entirely right. Kick-Ass proved that there can superhero films that are dark, ultra violent, sexual, and not made for kids. To say that comic book films are for kids and “adolescent in its core” is not 100% accurate.

What are your thoughts on what Cronenberg has to say about superhero movies?

[Source: Next Movie]


  1. Thats coming from someone who directed a pretty damn average movie which could have been a lot better

    Comment by Adam Sewell — August 16, 2012 @ 5:42 pm


    Comment by FAT_ORANGE_TABBY — August 16, 2012 @ 8:01 pm

  3. This quote seems extremely hypocritical from the guy who directed “A History Of Violence”; which was based on a graphic novel(though admittedly, he didn’t know that when got the script)! As much as I admire David Cronenberg’s early films(most of his new stuff is just boring), he has no idea what he’s talking about in this case. Comics are not just “adolescent” and “for kids”. Comics have evolved as a storytelling medium to have to become as legitimate a form as any being produced today. The works of Art Spiegelman, Jack Kirby, Will Eisner, Harvey Pekar, Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman and the recently departed Joe Kubert stand as proof positive of that fact. Not all superhero movies are all that great, but some of them; particularly Christopher Nolan’s Bat-Trilogy, are masterpieces. Like comics themselves, you get out of them what put into the making of them. Cronenberg needs to shut his mouth about comics, quit trying to court the Sundance Film Festival arthouse snob crowd, and get backto the genre of horror; which is what he does best!

    Comment by MadMike — August 16, 2012 @ 8:58 pm

  4. You have to wonder if he’s ever read any of the comics or seen any of the superhero movies he so eagerly berates. Again, like so many others, he just lumps comics as a medium for children, which to me reveals that he’s ignorant of what he’s talking about. Batman in particular has dealt with darker themes over the years (Nolan did not invent that), and a lot of what has made Iron Man a compelling character is its real-world problems and themes. I’m not going to jump to tearing the guy a new one for what he’s done (that would put me in the same boat as him), but his authority to be a critic of an entire genre is highly suspect.

    Comment by Karyyk — August 17, 2012 @ 9:33 am

  5. yeah, watchman, identity crises, judge dredd, akira, lone wolf and cub, sandman, hellblazer, sin city, kick ass, they are all for kids and teen stuff…

    Comment by Danny Rangel — August 17, 2012 @ 12:45 pm

  6. Unbreakable. ‘Nuff said.

    Comment by Sean Taylor — August 17, 2012 @ 12:57 pm

  7. I think your extremely poor choice at the end of citing the movie Kick-Ass is a supreme example of exactly what Cronenberg is talking about. Yes the movie is dark, ultra violent, overtly sexual, and not technically meant for kids. And yes those are all the same elements which are in a lot of Cronenberg films. But Kick-Ass is not supreme cinema, it isn’t even close. It is a movie that constantly panders to the most bottom of the barrel mentality, whether you want to label said mentality ‘adolescent’, ‘pedestrian’, or ‘juvenile’ doesn’t matter. In the end it is a movie despite the fact that all of it’s base components are in essence highly similar to what Cronenberg uses, the end result has far more in common cinema wise with the very worst of the installments of the Scary Movie franchise.

    Then again I guess that is the key. In your mind there is no difference. As long as two movies have similar elements they are comparable. A very juvenile and adolescent view of films and film work , but hey seems to be working out fairly well for you so far. So probably no reason for you to alter course now.

    Don’t get me wrong, Nolan did raise the bar with the Batman films. But the truth is that the bar with super hero films was relatively about as ridiculously low as they could get. Yes we have finally reached the point where the special effects and the CGI, and all the new technical bells and whistles can present any comic book character in the true full color glory. Yet the meat of the vast majority of these films can’t really be said to exceed the overall cinematic quality of the first Superman film.

    Yes the Nolan Batman films lead the pack as far as super hero films, and yet when the people who vote on the Academy Awards had a special viewing of the film Dark Knight Rises, people had already started walking out or outright ignoring the film before it was even halfway finished.

    The same people that would not walk out on a viewing of one of Nolan’s films that was not so fettered. They wouldn’t walk out on Memento, and they wouldn’t walk out on Inception.

    But they most definitely walked out on Dark Knight Rises.

    Cronenberg is just suggesting that it might possibly be because of the source material.

    I can live with that. It’s like saying that you’ll never have a remake adaptation of an old television show that’s an example of fine film making craftsmanship that immediately garners wide spread critical acclaim.

    Comment by JohnZee — August 17, 2012 @ 2:37 pm

  8. I think you people need to read the title of the article again. Cronenberg ‘Believes’ that superhero films are boring. ‘Believes’. This is his belief and his opinion. Who is anyone to tell anyone else what they believe. In this context Cronenberg is 100 percent correct.

    Comment by Douglas Waltz — August 18, 2012 @ 12:40 pm

  9. I need to chew on this man’s comments for a minute. This director says that comics/graphic novels are made for kids, are boring & basically have no redeeming artistic or story value. Yet, he directed “A History of Violence” which was based off a graphic novel. What an exceptional hypocrite. And to really put this into perspective: Cronenberg directed “The Fly” & “The Dead Zone.” Both stories about people obtaining super human abilities. What makes a superhero movie silly? The idea that someone would want to fight injustice or the fact that a character would wear a costume to conceal their identity & protect their loved ones?

    Comment by Barbara Morgan — August 18, 2012 @ 8:38 pm

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