MCU star steps in to defend the honor of superhero cinema

avengers age of ultron
Image via Marvel Studios

It feels like we were only just dredging up the past and reflecting on Martin Scorsese’s dismissals of the superhero genre… because that’s exactly what happened, with Hanna star Esmé Creed-Miles revealing that she completely agreed with the legendary filmmaker.

This is going to be one debate that never goes away, especially as the chasm between prestige drama and mega-budget behemoths continues to widen in terms of how difficult it is to get them made, as well as their opposing desires to find acclaim and box office dollars respectively.

One man who knows a thing or two about both is Stellan Skarsgård, a Marvel Cinematic Universe veteran who played Erik Selvig four times, but has also appeared in his fair share of independent, experimental films. In fact, his recent outing in Dune saw him straddle both sides of the divide, as he lent support in a $165 million blockbuster that’s viewed as a dark horse for Academy Awards recognition. Speaking to The Guardian, the veteran actor offered up his reasoned take on the matter.

“I’ve got nothing against superhero movies. I’ve been in a couple and they definitely have a place. The problem is that the system that allows eight people to own half of the wealth in the world enhances the power of the market forces, so small and independent cinemas rarely exist any more outside a few big cities. There’s no distribution channels for all the mid-budget films that have the best actors, the best writing, because they can’t throw up $3m for a marketing campaign. When cinemas let them in, they do so for one week and if it doesn’t pay off in a week, they’re gone.

I think that we should have Marvel films and more rollercoaster films. We should have other films, too. And that’s the sad thing: when raw market forces come in, studios start being run by companies that don’t care if they’re dealing in films or toothpaste so long as they get their 10% [return]. When AT&T took over Time Warner, it immediately told HBO to become lighter and more commercial. They were always making money. But not enough for an investor.”

We’ll no doubt be discussing this for years to come, if not decades, but there’s no reason why people can’t enjoy both. Elitism is never a good thing, and when it comes to an industry like Hollywood, the MCU is necessary to keep the money rolling in so that one hand can continue to feed the other in perpetuity.