Marvel ‘Has Meant the Death of the Movie Star’

Amid the blowback Quentin Tarantino is getting this week after claiming that popularization of Marvel killed the movie star, a years-old video interview with “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” star Anthony Mackie is making the rounds online because he says…essentially the same thing.

Discussing the state of the movie industry at the 2018 London Comic-Con, Mackie, a longtime and well-loved Marvel actor candidly shared that superhero movies, like that of Marvel, has led to the “death of the movie star.”

“There are no movie stars anymore,” Mackie explained. “Like, Anthony Mackie isn’t a movie star. The Falcon is a movie star. And that’s what’s weird. It used to be with Tom Cruise and Will Smith and Stallone and Schwarzenegger, when you went to the movies, you went to see the Stallone movie. You went to see the Schwarzenegger movie. Now you go see: X-Men. So the evolution of the super hero has meant the death of the movie star.”

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Mackie continued to lament that Hollywood is different these days, as it only caters to “16-year-olds and China,” and that many classic films would simply never get made today.

“Think of some of your favorite movies growing up, those movies wouldn’t get made today. [“Goonies”] wouldn’t get made today. [“Halloween”] wouldn’t get made today. [“The Thing”] wouldn’t get made today. You watch “Stranger Things” on Netflix; “Stranger Things” is “Goonies.”

Mackie continued: “It’s just a different time now. [Hollywood makes] movies for specific audiences as opposed to just making good movies. And that’s why people stopped going to the movies, because most of the movies suck.”

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Cut to Tarantino today, who’s feeling the heat after making similar remarks during an interview with the “2 Bears, 1 Cave” podcast. He blamed the loss of movie stars to the “Marvel-ization of Hollywood.”

“Part of the Marvel-ization of Hollywood is…you have all these actors who have become famous playing these characters,” Tarantino said. “But they’re not movie stars. Right? Captain America is the star. Or Thor is the star. I mean, I’m not the first person to say that. I think that’s been said a zillion times…but it’s like, you know, it’s these franchise characters that become a star.”

Like Mackie, the “Kill Bill” director said that the actors aren’t the star of the films, but rather, the super heroes they’re playing are.

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Simu Liu, who played Shang-Chi in the 2021 superhero Marvel film, was one of many to shoot back at Tarantino on Twitter with his own take on Hollywood and Marvel movies: “If the only gatekeepers to movie stardom came from Tarantino and Scorsese, I would never have had the opportunity to lead a $400 million plus movie. I am in awe of their filmmaking genius. They are transcendent authors. But they don’t get to point their nose at me or anyone.”

In a second tweet, Liu added, “No movie studio is or ever will be perfect. But I’m proud to work with one that has made sustained efforts to improve diversity onscreen by creating heroes that empower and inspire people of all communities everywhere. I loved the ‘Golden Age’ too… but it was white as hell.”

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“I’m not even putting [Marvel movies] down frankly, to tell you the truth,” Tarantino said during his podcast appearance. “But that is one of the — the legacy of the Marvel-ization of Hollywood movies.”

Tarantino also clarified in the interview that he does not “hate” Marvel movies, but dislikes Hollywood’s myopic interest in them,” as it feels like there’s no room for other types of films.

“I used to collect Marvel comics like crazy when I was a kid,” Tarantino said. “There’s an aspect that if these movies were coming out when I was in my twenties, I would totally be fucking happy and totally love them. I mean, they wouldn’t be the only movies being made. They would be those movies among other movies. But I’m almost 60. No, I’m not quite as excited about them.”

“My only ax to grind against them is they’re the only things that seem to be made,” he added. “And they’re the only things that seem to generate any kind of excitement amongst a fan base or even for the studio making them. That’s what they’re excited about. And so it’s just the fact that they are the entire representation of this era of movies right now. There’s not really much room for anything else. That’s my problem.”

The director also said earlier this month that he’s not looking to get involved in the Marvel Cinematic Universe because “you have to be a hired hand to do those things. I’m not a hired hand. I’m not looking for a job.”

Watch the Mackie interview in the video above.

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