James Cameron says Marvel movies don’t feel epic to him

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It feels like every other day we hear about a high-profile filmmaker lambasting the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or sometimes it’s one of those rare occasions when a top talent actually defends what’s being put out there by Kevin Feige’s outfit, which in the most recent case was Paul Thomas Anderson, of all people.

If there’s one director in the business that knows how to present lavish, jaw-dropping pyrotechnics on an epic and groundbreaking scale, it’s James Cameron. After all, he’s built his entire career for the last 30 years on delivering a sense of awe-inspiring wonder in his work that remains unmatched, which kicked off with the revolutionary Terminator 2 and continues with his long-gestating Avatar sequels.

However, in an interview with Variety where he was singing the praises of Denis Villenueve’s Dune, Cameron spoke on the differences between the recent $165 million sci-fi and the blockbusters that get churned out by Marvel Studios, and it’s clear which one he’s got more appreciation for.

“The thing that strikes me about Dune is that it’s truly epic. When I use the word ‘epic,’ I’m using it in a very specific way, meaning like a David Lean film, or to a very large extent like the Lord of the Rings films. But when I think of films that have epic events in them, like let’s say a Marvel Universe film where whole cities get destroyed and so on, they don’t feel epic to me. You seem to have the discipline, the vocabulary, of actual epic filmmaking, that kind of grand proscenium frame that’s just presented and takes its time with the music and so on.”

That’s not to say Cameron is being dismissive of the MCU, and he’s right to a certain extent that much of the city-leveling destruction has grown increasingly formulaic, but you can’t deny that the man has earned the right to be as outspoken as he pleases on whatever he does and doesn’t like.