‘Argylle’ Director Matthew Vaughn Diagnoses The Problems With DC And Marvel Superhero Films: “The Films Are Bad”

Letitia Wright as Shuri in Marvel Studios' Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2022 MARVEL.

Director Matthew Vaughn recently diagnosed what he believes is wrong with superhero films while promoting his upcoming spy drama Argylle.

Director Matthew Vaughn with Chip the cat (playing Alfie) on the set of ARGYLLE

Speaking with ScreenRant at New York Comic Con, Vaughn was asked, “With DCU and MCU going through these transition phases, is that a genre you’d like to hop back into? And if so, what draws you to different heroes and their stories?”

Vaughn answered, “Yeah, I mean, what really freaked me out was that I really enjoyed The Flash. I thought it was a really good film, right? And it died at the box office, right? And I’m like, Wait, hold on, this is a good movie. What happened? And I don’t know whether that was superhero fatigue; you’ve just seen it done.”

He continued, “So even now that we’ve made it well, there was some really, really complicated, hard, and quite special, unique filmmaking in that film. Which I don’t think Muschietti got enough credit for what they pulled off.”

Ezra Miller, Michael Keaton, and Ezra Miller (again) as The Flash, Batman, and The Flash (again) in Andy Muschietti’s, “The Flash.”

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Vaughn then shared, “And so it made me question. I think there’s been so many bad superhero movies as well that it’s like when the Western got, you make so many than you get bored of the genre, not because the genre is bad, but because the films are bad.”

He went on to provide an example, “I was old enough, sadly, when Batman and Robin came out, and it was terrible. I was a big Batman fan, and we were like, Ah! And then superheroes stopped, and then they came back. Now, I’ll be intrigued to see how The Marvels does.”

(L-R): Iman Vellani as Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan, Brie Larson as Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers, and Teyonah Parris as Captain Monica Rambeau in Marvel Studios’ THE MARVELS. Photo by Laura Radford. © 2023 MARVEL.

RELATED: Prolific Batman Writer Chuck Dixon Explains Why “The Superhero Cycle Had A Good Run But It’s Over”

This idea was recently posited by comic book legend and film connoisseur Chuck Dixon who told Bounding Into Comics, “Every movie cycle ends. Westerns give way to spies who give way to horror and on and on. The superhero genre has had a extraordinarily long run.”

He elaborated, “But a number of factors have contributed to drop in interest for comic book based content: Oversaturation, inconsistent quality, and Hollywood’s restricted access to the Chinese market.”

(L-R): Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man, Kathryn Newton as Cassandra "Cassie" Lang, Evangeline Lilly as Hope Van Dyne/Wasp in Marvel Studios' ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2022 MARVEL.

(L-R): Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man, Kathryn Newton as Cassandra “Cassie” Lang, Evangeline Lilly as Hope Van Dyne/Wasp in Marvel Studios’ ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2022 MARVEL.

Dixon then pointed to the mismanagement of the most prominent superhero universes by both Warner Bros. and Disney, “Both Disney and Warners are to blame as well. Marvel fans had to put up with a steady assault of woke content, an overbearing amount of comedy included in material, a general decline in the quality of effects and, most damaging, a deliberate departure from the source material at every opportunity.”

As for DC he said, “DC screwed the pooch by constantly re-booting their franchises with new auteurs and casts. In addition, they diluted their brand with multiple different and conflicting continuities spread across TV and features,” he asserted. “Which Batman is ‘real?’ Who is the authorized Superman?”

Ironically, Dixon disagreed with Vaughn’s assessment of The Flash, “And they damned themselves with this latest Flash flick by leaning into all the multiverse nonsense in order to cram as many cameos into this failed project as possible.”

Ezra Miller and Sasha Calle as The Flash and Supergirl in Andy Muschietti's, "The Flash."

Ezra Miller and Sasha Calle as The Flash and Supergirl in Andy Muschietti’s, “The Flash.”

RELATED: Legendary DC Comics Writer Chuck Dixon Reacts To James Gunn’s DCU Slate: “I Don’t Think He Knows What The Audience Wants”

Dixon then rhetorically asked, “Is it any wonder even dedicated fans are staying home and tuning out?”

“With nearly every studio currently billions in the red, they can no longer afford to either produce more tentpole superhero flicks or even market and release ones they have in the can or in post-production,” he concluded.

(L-R): Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Ben Mendelsohn as Talos in Marvel Studios’ SECRET INVASION, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Gareth Gatrell. © 2023 MARVEL.

Vaughn would then echo comments made by his peer and current DC Studios CEO James Gunn, “I genuinely don’t know what’s happening with the superhero in the sense that, I do think, maybe we all need a little bit of time off from it. Maybe someone will make something so great that we will get excited again and remind everybody that just having identical ways of making superheroes… Superhero films are films. It’s a film that has superheroes in it. I think what happened was that they became superheroes, and the film part wasn’t that important.”

He explained, “When you’re making a superhero movie, you sort of have to work harder because you’ve got to make people believe it. That’s why X-Men First Class was pretty grounded. We set it in the Cuban Missile Crisis; they had relatable human problems. And it wasn’t relying on the CG.”

The eponymous First Class prepares for their first and final mission in X-Men: First Class (2011), Marvel Entertainment

The eponymous First Class prepares for their first and final mission in X-Men: First Class (2011), Marvel Entertainment

RELATED: Matthew Vaughn Explains Where Disney Went Wrong With Star Wars, Says Full Reboot Would Excite Him

From there Vaughn criticized the overreliance on CGI in superhero films, ” I think CG’s f****d up everything as well, because you feel like you’re watching a video game. You’re not with the characters. Apart from Guardians, I still think Groot and the racoon are f*****g pieces of genius, that I feel so much for them.”

“So I’ll be intrigued. I think at least DC is under; I think James Gunn and Safran they’ve got a good chance of popping, and hopefully, Feige will go back to less is more and make less films and concentrate on making them great,” he stated.

John Cena as Peacemaker in Peacemaker (2022), HBO

Next, he reiterated that he’s more interesting in getting to do a Star Wars reboot albeit he claims he was initially joking about it, “But for me now, if someone asked me, what would you do? For me to get back into the world of somebody else’s characters and other franchises, I mean, I was joking. I said this as a joke, and now, yeah, maybe I would do it. If they wanted to reboot Star Wars, set the story with the Skywalkers. And then I’ll go, Hey, that will be interesting. Because for me, it’s got to be something so bold, so different, and so brave. ”

He then addressed potential critics of this idea, “They said you can’t do that. I was like, There’ve been three Spider-Mans, Bonds. Like, what are you talking about? Why can’t that happen? I don’t control Star Wars, but I would do something big, brave, and with the great characters. I want to see Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, and Chewie doing their s**t. Not some distant cousin. Who cares? I need an event for Star Wars.”

Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) in Lucasfilm’s THE MANDALORIAN, season two, exclusively on Disney+. © 2020 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.

RELATED: James Gunn Thinks There’s Too Many Superhero Movies And TV Shows: “I Do Think There’s Too Many,” Also Says “People Have Gotten Really Lazy With Their Superhero Stories”

Gunn previously informed Michael Rosenbaum that he believes there are too many superhero films being made, but he also shared that he believes many filmmakers and producers have gotten lazy in how they create the films.

He said, ” think that what’s happened is people have gotten really lazy with their superhero stories and they have gotten to the place where, ‘Oh it’s a superhero let’s make a movie about it!’ And they make, ‘Oh! Let’s make a sequel because the first one did pretty well.’ And they aren’t thinking about why is this story special. What makes this story stand apart from other stories? What is the story at the heart of it all? Why is this character important? What makes this story different? That it fills a need for people in theaters to go see or on television.”

“And I think that people have gotten a little lazy,” he reiterated. “And there’s a lot of biff, pow, bam stuff happening in movies. Like I’m watching third acts of superhero films where I really just don’t feel like there’s a rhyme or reason to what’s happening. I don’t care about the characters.”

Gunn also asserted, “And they’ve gotten too generic. There’s this sort of middle of the road type of genre, tone that so many superhero movies as opposed to having very different genres. I like very serious superhero movies. I like very comedic superhero movies. I like ones that are really just a murder mystery, but it’s with superheroes.

Gunn added, “I like to see these different types of stories as opposed to seeing the same story told over and over again. I don’t know how many times I…”

(L-R): Karen Gillan, James Gunn, and Chris Pratt on the set of Marvel Studios’ GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3. Photo by Jessica Miglio. © 2023 MARVEL.

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The DC Studios CEO also shared that he believes many of the films are too repetitive, “I think that also and then people say superhero fatigue. I think that you see now that it’s not a real thing. People are fatigued with repetition. And I don’t think it’s really just superhero movies, I think you’re seeing it happening now, it’s spectacle films in general.”

He went on, “But there’s a lot of spectacle films made and they just have gotten really generic. And they’ve gotten boring and they aren’t about characters, and there’s no emotion to them. And there should be emotion in things no matter. That should always be there: some type of emotion. I’m not saying it can’t be really light. I’m not saying it can’t be really heavy. I’m saying there should be some sort of emotion.”

Director James Gunn attends the Seoul Fan Event for Marvel Studios’ GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 3 in Seoul, South Korea on April 19, 2023. Photo by Ho Chang.

What do you make of Matthew Vaughn’s comments about the state of superhero films at Marvel and DC?

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