‘Birdman’ Director Says Superhero Movies Are ‘Cultural Genocide’
Birdman, the movie in which former Batman actor Michael Keaton stars as an actor who rose to superstardom playing the titular superhero, comes out today, and it looks to be a pretty strong dark comedy.
If you're looking for a little context before you head off to see it, the movie's director, Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu, minced no words when asked about his opinion of superhero movies in a Deadline interview this week. The key soundbite would be "cultural genocide." There's a little more to it than that, though.
Here's his full answer to the question of whether he enjoys anything about the 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. They have been poison, this cultural genocide, because the audience is so overexposed to plot and explosions and shit that doesn’t mean nothing about the experience of being human.
The criticism that modern superhero movies are overly militarized is one that's been around for a while, particularly in regard to the Avengers franchise. Still, I'm not sure many others have used the term "cultural genocide" in their critiques.
Gonzalez Iñárritu also said he doesn't like the way the genre uses the word "hero."
If you observe the mentality of most of those films, it’s really about people who are rich, who have power, who will do the good, who will kill the bad. Philosophically, I just don’t like them.
He also criticized Hollywood studios for relying too much on big-budget films to make huge box office returns, at the expense of smaller, more intimate movies. Hollywood has a "disease in not growing up," he said.
Of course, he's not 100 percent serious. Birdman is a comedy, after all. Gonzalez Iñárritu and his co-writers joked about how they should have skipped the first three movies and gone straight to Birdman 4 to make the big bucks.
You have to admit that's a pretty good joke.
Now check out our infographic for the next six years' worth of superhero movies: