For a while now, Steven Spielberg has voiced a two-fold concern: namely, that the blockbuster movie bubble is going to burst, and that the superhero movie trend of the moment will run out of gas sooner than most people think. There are have been many pundits arguing that the director is misguided as such, but Spielberg hasn’t backed down. Asked again about the subject by The New York Times, he explains his view on the matter.
“I still stand by [that]. What I said was that it’s only going to take three or four super-blockbusters to damage the bottom line, because these movies are all now costing between $225 and $300 million. If the general public finds another genre —maybe some young filmmaker will invent a genre— which starts to supplant the superhero movie, this thing could happen,” he said. “It almost happened a couple of summers ago, not to the extent that it hurt Hollywood. But I don’t believe that the superhero genre has the legs of the western genre, and I don’t even think it has the legs of the sci-fi genre. I think that there’s a firewall between sci-fi and superhero —I don’t like to mix them because I think it’s sacrilegious. [Laughs.] At the same time, if I had a chance to make a superhero movie, I’d do it because it’s good business to do it right now.”
Spielberg’s view is pragmatic and not without evidence. As much as Warner Bros. tries to publicly pretend otherwise, Zack Snyder‘s absurdly expensive “Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice” missed the mark both commercially (it didn’t even reach $900 million worldwide) and creatively (it was roundly panned by critics). And then there’s last summer’s failed reboot of “Fantastic Four,” and “X-Men: Apocalypse,” also from 20th Century Fox, certainly seems poised to underperform compared to its predecessors.
But as Spielberg says, that’s where the business is right now, and who is he to turn an opportunity should it come knocking? And there are some superhero movies he enjoys.
“I love the ‘Superman‘ of Richard Donner, ‘The Dark Knight‘ [of] Christopher Nolan, and the first ‘Iron Man,’ but [the] superhero film that impressed me most is one that does not take itself too seriously: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy.’ When [the film] was over, I left with the feeling of having seen something new in movies, without any cynicism or fear of being dark when needed,” he told Brazilian outlet Omelete (via Collider). “There is a difference between heroes and superheroes. The hero is an ordinary person who is faced with a serious fact and acts to modify it. A hero is a person who, walking down the street, see[s] a car on fire and runs [to] help the person who is in the driver’s seat, attached to the seat belt to loosen. [A] superhero is a person who, on the same scene, would fly to the car and try to turn it upside down and shake it using his super strength, until the driver is released. I identify more with the first example. Film[s of] everyday heroes.”
That’s no big surprise, since Spielberg’s best movies tend to focus on ordinary people facing extraordinary situations, whether in his high-toned dramas or tentpoles. However, the director does admit to having one weakness as a filmmaker —sequels.
“My sequels aren’t as good as my originals because I go onto every sequel I’ve made and I’m too confident. This movie made a kazillion dollars, which justifies the sequel, so I come in like it’s going to be a slam dunk and I wind up making an inferior movie to the one before. I’m talking about ‘The Lost World‘ and ‘Jurassic Park,’ ” he told NYT.
Let us know what you think on his thoughts on superhero movies below.