The Marvel vs filmmakers debate has been a steady source of contention online for years, and now Robert Downey Jr, known for kicking off the MCU with his portrayal as Iron Man in 2008, has shared his thought on the matter.
Speaking with Deadline, the actor responded to Quentin Tarantino’s latest comments about Marvel movies – where the acclaimed director stated that the actors in the superhero movies tend to be overshadowed by the characters they are playing rather then shining themselves. Tarantino shared how he believes the success of Marvel has led to there being no true stars in Hollywood anymore. For example, in the filmmaker’s eyes, Thor and Captain America are the true stars, not Chris Hemsworth or Chris Evans.
Downey Jr, who played Iron Man until exiting the franchise after the action movie Endgame, was asked how he felt about the comments. “I think that we are in a time and place that I unwittingly contributed to, where IP has taken precedence over principle and personality. But it’s a double-edged sword,” the actor explained, acknowledging Tarantino’s point.
“A piece of IP is only as good as the human talent you get to represent it, and you can have some great IP even if it’s coming from an auteur or a national treasure of a writer-director, and if you don’t have the right kind of artist playing that role, you’ll never know how good it could have been.”
Downey Jr went on to clarify how this Marvel vs filmmakers debate, which has been raging on the internet for years since Martin Sorceress compared MCU movies to theme parks in 2019, is also pretty pointless. He clarified how both types of films can exist in the same space and how box-office hits, while not the most artistic, are needed so that other films and the industry can thrive.
“I think that creatively it is a waste of time to be at war with ourselves. I think this is a time when everything is so much more fragmented now that I think you have this kind of bifurcation,” he said. “Throwing stones one way or another.”
“I’ve had my reactions in the past when people said things that I felt were discrediting my integrity … I go, ‘You know what? Let’s just get over it. We’re all a community. There’s enough room for everything’,” the star continued. “And thank God for Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar: The Way of Water. That’s all I have to say. We need the big stuff to make room for films like Armageddon Time.”
At the end of the day, Marvel movies or award-winning drama movies all have a space in cinema. Individual preference and taste define which movie ticket you buy, and the beautiful thing about art is that it is subjective. Like what you like and let others do the same.
Both Downey Jr and Tarantino have a point, and it should be worth noting that Tarantino has nothing against Marvel films themselves. On the 2 Bears, 1 Cave podcast, the filmmaker stated: “my only axe to grind against [Marvel movies] is they’re the only things that seem to be made.” His comments on the new era of characters being stars is more of a critical observation rather than a direct and outright criticism.
If you are curious about more Marvel content, here is our guide to Marvel Phase 5.