When it comes to superhero movies, you probably won't find one as universally praised as The Dark Knight. The second film in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy is beloved by many for its realistic setting and great story, as well as an outstanding performance by Heath Ledger as the Joker.
The Dark Knight trilogy has been noted for being so different from superhero movies today. Whereas most superhero films today focus on otherworldly and fantastical elements, Nolan's take on Batman was very noticeably realistic.
In fact, one Dark Knight actor even uses Nolan's realistic and arguably non-comic book world to explain why he likes the trilogy much more than any comic book movies that have come out recently.
Cillian Murphy, who portrays Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow in all three Nolan Batman films, recently discussed his dislike for the modern superhero movie in an interview with Vulture:
Murphy: Have they exhausted every single comic book ever? I don’t know where they’re coming from anymore. It was a different time back when we made Batman Begins. I think that Chris [Nolan] has to take credit for making that trilogy of films. I think they’re so grounded in a relatable reality. Nobody in those films ever had a superpower. Do you know what I mean? It’s a slightly heightened level of storytelling, where New York is Gotham, and no one did anything magical. Batman in his movies just did a lot of pushups and was, like, British. So that’s what I loved about them.
Personally, while I think that Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy helped shaped the state of superhero films today, I have to disagree with Murphy that superhero films suffer from not being as realistic as the trilogy.
Superhero films are meant to be fantastical. Our favorite heroes, such as Thor, Superman, and others, are meant to bring a little bit of fantasy into our lives. There's nothing wrong with a realistic superhero movie, but it certainly isn't the only way to go.
But while I may not agree with his opinion, there are actually quite a few notable people in Hollywood who would agree with Murphy's comments.
There was once a time where it looked like Jason Statham would join the MCU. The action superstar was rumored to be playing iconic supervillain Bullseye in the second season of Daredevil. Unfortunately, Statham squashed the rumors, while at the same time throwing a ton of shade at Marvel.
Last year, Jason Statham slammed Marvel's heavy use of special effects over practical ones, saying that "any guy can do" a Marvel action scene. He even joked that his grandmother could easily star in a Marvel film. Ouch. It doesn't look we'll be seeing the Expendables star don a cape and mask anytime soon.
Surprisingly, the director behind huge sci-fi epics such as The Day After Tomorrow, Independence Day and Independence Day: Resurgence, isn't a fan of superhero movies. However, it isn't the special effects or fantasy aspect of superhero films that he has a problem with- it's the costumes.
In an interview with The Guardian, Roland Emmerich talked about what he thought of heroes and their "silly" costumes:
“When you look at my movies it’s always the regular Joe Schmo that’s the unlikely hero. A lot of Marvel movies, they show people in funny suits running around. I don’t like people in capes. I find it silly when someone dons a superhero suit and flies. I don’t understand it. I grew up in Germany, that’s probably why.”
To be fair, Superman does wear his underwear outside of his clothing, so Emmerich isn't entirely wrong in that regard.
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Alejandro Inarritu is one of my favorite directors. He's the man behind some of my favorite films- Birdman, 21 Grams, and the recent epic tale of survival, The Revenant!
Him being one of my favorite directors is why it stings just a bit to hear his thoughts on one of my favorite genres. While promoting Birdman in 2014, Inarritu had some...choice words about the superhero film genre:
“I sometimes enjoy them because they are basic and simple and go well with popcorn. The problem is that sometimes they purport to be profound, based on some Greek mythological kind of thing. And they are honestly very right wing. I always see them as killing people because they do not believe in what you believe, or they are not being who you want them to be. I hate that, and don’t respond to those characters.”
He went on to call superhero movies "poison" and "cultural genocide", stating that they're full of exposition and themes that mean nothing about the experience of being a human being. Inarritu's comments are mainly why many believe Birdman to be a parody of the superhero genre.
That's right- Tim Burton, the man who arguably helped kickstart start the superhero film craze, isn't very impressed with superhero movies today! In case you didn't know, Tim Burton directed the award-winning 1989 Batman film and its sequel, Batman Returns.
In an interview with Yahoo UK, Tim Burton expressed his boredom with the Marvel movie formula, basically stating that superhero movies today are all the same:
How many times can you say ‘you’re wearing a funny costume’ with the tights and stuff? That’s been going on for 20 years now. Yes, we all know that superheroes are damaged individuals. Maybe we need to see a happy superhero?"
His comments are pretty ironic, considering his Batman films feature the large level of darkness you'd expect from a Tim Burton-directed adventure starring the Dark Knight. It's also ironic when you look at the amount of humor present in Marvel films. In fact, Marvel movies are criticized by some for their campiness rather than their darkness.
As you can see, Cillian Murphy isn't the only celebrity out there who isn't into the whole superhero film craze currently taking over Hollywood. While I personally disagree with Murphy and the others on this list, I have to give them credit for going against the crowd and sharing their honest opinions.
Still, whether he loves superhero films or not, I will always petition for Cillian Murphy to come back as Scarecrow. Seriously- continuity errors be damned, the DCEU needs Murphy's Scarecrow in its plans!
Thanks for reading! If you happen to like your superheroes in 'silly costumes', we reckon you'll enjoy the thoroughly silly Doctor Strange video below.
How do you feel about superhero movies? Let me know in the comments!