It’s the argument that just won’t go away, and probably never will based on how often it returns to the forefront of the conversation, but few people are as qualified to speak out on the merits of the superhero genre as Kevin Feige, architect of the most successful franchise the industry has ever seen.
In one camp you have the elder statesmen of Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Jane Campion and Ridley Scott, none of whom held back in letting their negative opinions on big budget comic book adaptations be known. Then there’s Stellan Skarsgard, who became an online hero for his thoughtful ruminations on the subject, which comes from a place of experience given that his filmography includes blockbusters, independent dramas and Academy Award winners.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter about the success of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Feige revealed his belief that his outfit operates at a disadvantage when it comes to critical acclaim and awards season, with Black Panther acting as more of an outlier than a game-changer.
“I think we are always at a deficit because of the Marvel logo and because of a genre bias that certainly exists. I just loved that for a shining moment there with Black Panther that was put aside and the work was recognized for the achievement that it was. There are a lot of comic fans that didn’t know who Shang-Chi was. And yet the work that Destin did and Dave did and Sue did and Joel did, created something new that connected with audiences. We recognized it, the audience recognized it and I sure would love the hard work of all of these people who are telling their story to get recognized.”
No offense to the cast and crew that did a phenomenal job on the project, but Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings isn’t Best Picture material. In the technical categories? Sure, but the fact Black Panther and Joker are the only comic book films to have ever found themselves shortlisted for the biggest prize in the business shows that there’s still a long way to go.