Quentin Tarantino has surely riled up both actors and fans of the MCU. In the past several weeks, the famed filmmaker has taken several shots at superhero films or Marvel in general, and the backlash against the Oscar winner has been heavy. To recall, this is what Tarantino said on the Mediaite podcast, “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, these characters become a star.”
Tarantino is right about not being the first person to say this. The director responded to Jennifer Aniston’s comments about their no longer being movie stars in the modern age. The Falcon himself, Anthony Mackie, made these same comments in 2018 at MCM London Comic Con. Mackie stated they are “no movie stars anymore” and even explained that he isn’t a movie star; the Falcon is the star. The 44-year-old also agreed with Tarantino’s point. Oddly, there’s been a backlash against Tarantino for this take when there’s a lot of truth to it.
Outside the Marvel and Fantastic Four franchises, Chris Evans only has three movies that have collected more than $200 million worldwide. None surpass Captain America: The Fight Avenger, which only made around $370 million worldwide. Chris Hemsworth has starred in plenty of movies outside the MCU, but the only two films that made over $200 million were Men in Black: International and Ghostbusters. Critics and fans panned both movies and ultimately deemed their financial failures.
The point is Tarantino is right. Only a few actors have a valid identity outside of the MCU. Samuel L. Jackson is one of them. However, the long-time Tarantino collaborator disagrees with the Pulp Fiction director as Jackson pushed back on Tarantino’s opinion about the MCU not creating movie stars, “It takes an actor to be those particular characters, and the sign of movie stardom has always been, what, asses in seats? What are we talking about?” said Jackson in his Entertainment Weekly interview. “That’s not a big controversy for me to know that these actors are movie stars. Chadwick Boseman is Black Panther. You can’t refute that, and he’s a movie star.”
Jackson does have a point here as well. Getting the right actor for the role is crucial to bring these characters to life. Chris Hemsworth is Thor because he’s played the character to perfection. So have Chris Evans, Chadwick Boseman, Hugh Jackman (Wolverine), and Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool). But much of that just isn’t translating to the outside of the MCU success. However, it does not deny that it boosts an actor’s career. Tom Holland has seemingly managed to break the mold and is coming off the success of both Spider-Man: No Way Home and Uncharted. Fans care more about the character than the actors themselves. On the flip side, fans respect an actor who takes the superhero role that perfectly embodies what they envision. Both camps make good points, but Tarantino is right overall when he discusses the lack of movie stars in the modern age. Whether you agree or disagree, it’s a bit head-scratching that he’s getting so much blowback on his opinion when people could ignore it.
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