With the Marvel Cinematic Universe growing longer in the tooth with each passing year, the franchise has become the subject of both criticism and praise. In the early days of the MCU, one of the major talking points surrounding the studio was its inability to produce an objectively bad film/box office bomb. And while certain movies received more acclaim than others, almost every film released in Marvel's first five years was regarded highly by critics and fans. However, as the franchise became a massive financial juggernaut, the MCU started to attract heaps of criticism from other film professionals.
Celebrated directors like Martin Scorsese, Alejandro González Iñárritu, and Quentin Tarantino have levied critiques at the Marvel universe regarding the quality of its filmmaking and its impact on the industry. According to an interview with Esquire, Kumail Nanjiani, star of The Eternals-arguably the MCU's first bomb-has chosen to defend Scorsese and Tarantino's opinions.
A few days before Nanjiani and I speak in November, Quentin Tarantino became the latest director (following in Martin Scorsese's footsteps) to decry Marvel's dominance over the film industry. On a podcast, Tarantino lamented how Marvel movies are "the only things that seem to be made" and how superhero characters are now the star attraction rather than the actors who play them. The comments were met with the hysteria that Marvel discourse unfailingly attracts. Nanjiani is a voice of comparable calm: "I obviously love the movies Tarantino makes or Scorsese makes, and I may disagree with Scorsese's opinion on superhero movies, but I mean, who else has earned the right to have an opinion? If Scorsese hasn't earned the right to have an opinion on movies, then none of us should have an opinion on movies." Mostly, he seems a little perplexed. "It's so strange that people get upset about it."