Readers Write In #105: Dear Coppola, Marvel movies are not despicable, but are mediocrities we can’t do away with

Posted on October 27, 2019


(by Alex John)

“Some films are slices of cake. Mine are slices of cake” Hitchcock once famously said.

He was elucidating the fact that even his classics were of the most elementary fashion, cheerfully pulpy and crowd pleasing. Have we seen any film that is subtly dumber that North by northwest? Hitchcock knew inducing too much real life will knock the signature flamboyance out of his movies. He knew Cinema, at heart, is spectacle no matter how it evolved to be. Now, what am I getting at? Am I trying to write something down about Cinema that Francis Ford Coppola doesn’t know? Well, speak of the unthinkable. He’s the master and we are just mortals, but then there’s that mistake these immortal geniuses make, to ignore the showbiz nature of Cinema that makes it breathe to this date(somebody ask him if he likes DC films).

And what has come of it? See what happened to the film industries of the places from western Europe to Japan, and from Russia to Bengal, where fiefdoms of auteurs who “knew” what people should see ended up being invaded by other popular movie industries. They turned their backs to the commercialism and indulged in their neo-noir fantasies only to see their market possibilities dwindle and audience migrate to bigger&better sources of entertainment. I know, by no means Coppola’s films are pretentious box office poison-in fact he has made a few of the biggest hits in the industry if the box office results are adjusted for inflation-yet it is an irrefutable fact that the films of such kind are not prolific enough to sustain a multi-billion dollar industry. And that is a necessity because the mainstream industry must thrive if you need the one parallel to it. See how many films of the Godfather’s scale were made by Coppola himself in his near 6 decades old career. Yes, you could use your fingers to count them. So you need this ‘despicable’ mega-flicks if you need your ‘good films’ to survive. Yes, even in the online-streaming days of today.

I’m no digger of Marvel movies myself. I find Thor: Ragnarok and Captain America: Civil War to be the only marvel flicks that have truly thrilled me. Their films have a dissuasive infantility that makes the adult in you cringe sometimes-there is no denial of that. But I don’t think they are despicable either. They are spectacles on a larger scale- no brain food here-and the pun and sarcasm just add to it, kind of watering down the squirminess. Not great fun always, at least my idea of it, but it is presents me with the jaw-dropping technical advancement cinema has accomplished. Yes, the cognitive evolution of films are something we all are proud of, but we shan’t forget the idea of films is not just to make us think, but sometimes to make us stop thinking about the chores life. I think that was Lumiere brothers reflecting on whilst the exhibition of that train pulling into the station. No, Marvel films are not despicable. Not at all; they’re just mediocrities we can’t do away with.