Just as the debate over Marvel being cinema was being laid down to rest with the arrival of the holiday season, iconic director Terry Gilliam (“Monty Python,” “12 Monkeys”) stepped up with the fury of a thousand Scorseses to resurrect it once more.
Speaking with IndieWire about his latest movie “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote,” Gilliam denounced the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) for hogging the whole show, saving his worst criticism for “Black Panther,” denouncing it as “utter bulls***.”
“I don’t like the fact they’re dominating the place so much,” said Gilliam. “They’re taking all the money that should be available for a greater variety of films. Technically, they’re brilliant. I can’t fault them because the technical skills involved in making them are incredible.”
Echoing Martin Scorsese’s gripe with the MCU, Gilliam argued that superhero movies have essentially removed gravity out of the human condition by featuring characters that can do anything and everything all at once.
“If you are that powerful, you should be dealing with reality a bit more,” said Gilliam. “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.”
“Where’s the gravity, where’s real gravity? Because [in superhero movies,] everything is possible,” Gilliam continued. “It’s the limitations that make life interesting. Okay, so your suit burns up. So you get another suit because you’re Tony Stark. It’s not enough. They dominate so much.”
Not only that, Gilliam felt that the presence of so many tentpole films has essentially murdered the concept of the mid-budget movie – the avenue that once gave filmmakers license to explore the darker depths of the human soul beyond the standard crowd-pleasing fanfare.
“There isn’t room or money for a greater range of films. You make a film for over $150 million or less than $10 [million]. Where’s all this other stuff? It doesn’t exist anymore,” he said. “I make films where I’m trying to make people think. I mean, I try to entertain them enough that they don’t fall asleep on me, and they’re there to make you think and look at the world in a different way, hopefully, and consider possibilities. Those films don’t do that.”
Now, typically, opponents of Gilliam and Scorsese would wave the “Black Panther” card to highlight where the MCU stepped in the right direction (as Bob Iger recently did), but the “Monty Python” director dismissed such fervor as “utter bulls***.”
“I hated ‘Black Panther.’ It makes me crazy. It gives young black kids the idea that this is something to believe in,” said Gilliam. “Bulls***. It’s utter bulls***. 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 bulls***.”
Terry Gilliam also recently made headlines when he denounced the prevailing idea among SJWs that only trans actors should play transgender roles.