First it was Martin Scorsese who had some pretty rough things to say about Marvel films, comparing them to theme park rides and in the process insulting both Marvel movies and theme park rides. Then Francis Ford Coppola came out in support of Socrsese's statements, and in the process took the films, and by extension the whole popular superhero genre, to task with even harsher language.
Now Terry Gilliam, the director of 12 Monkeys and Brazil, is taking his turn to tell us what he really thinks of Marvel, and, somewhat unsurprisingly, he doesn't think much of it at all. Gilliam was asked by Indiewire about his take on the topic, and Gillaim is certainly not without his opinions on the matter. Even a movie like Black Panther, which was largely praised and even received a Best Picture nomination, isn't above reproach according to Gilliam...
I hated Black Panther. It makes me crazy. It gives young black kids the idea that this is something to believe in. Bullshit. It’s utter bullshit. I think the people who made it have never been to Africa. They went and got some stylist for some African pattern fabrics and things. But I just I hated that movie, partly because the media were going on about the importance of bullshit.
While a lot of people praised Black Panther for its diversity, Terry Gilliam apparently isn't buying it. He doesn't believe that the movie deserves the credit that it received, either simply because it was a superhero movie to begin with, or because he doesn't think Marvel actually put the work in that the studio got credit for.
Terry Gilliam says that one of his big problems with superhero movies is that in them, anything is possible, and in his opinion, it's "the limitations that make life interesting." Because there are no limitations in Marvel movies, they're just not interesting to him. Gilliam also feels tat superhero movies ultimately send the wrong message.
If you are that powerful, you should be dealing with reality a bit more. What I don’t like is that we all have to be superheroes do anything worthwhile. That’s what makes me crazy. That’s what these movies are saying to young people. And to me it’s not confronting the reality of, you know, the quote-unquote human condition. You know what it is like to be a normal human being in difficult situations and resolving them surviving. I can’t fault them for the sheer spectacle, except it’s repetitive. You still have to blow up another city.
Ultimately, Terry Gilliam's comments are along the same lines as those from Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola. The idea is that there is something that's simply lacking in superhero movies by their nature. Scorsese said they weren't cinema, and part of how he defined that term was the taking of risks. Whether you're talking about risks on screen or off, there's clearly a feeling from these directors that superhero movies lack both.