Alejandro G. Iñárritu Could Never Direct A Marvel Movie, But He Respects Them

The discourse regarding the validity of the superhero genre seems to grow as the cultural phenomenon continues to dominate the conversation. A common thread in the argument against the genre as an art form is its reliance on rules and meeting the expectations of its audience. The formulaic nature of Marvel movies, in particular, has been subject to criticism by some of the most decorated filmmakers of all time, including Martin Scorsese himself. And even though it seems no one will change their tune anytime soon, another director has entered the fray with their own take on the matter.

The Academy Award-winning director Alejandro G. Iñárritu is currently preparing to release his most personal film yet "Bardo," but it has not stopped people from asking him about what matters most in this world — superhero movies. Iñárritu already critiqued the phenomena to a certain degree in "Birdman" (starring Batman himself Michael Keaton). However, he has now directly given his two cents on the matter. In short, he is not entirely sure how to make a superhero film but respects it nonetheless.

'I do not understand it'

In the December 2022 issue of Total Film (releases on November 10), Iñárritu was asked if he'd ever consider helming a Marvel movie:

"I would not be able to do it. I don't know how they do that. In every aspect. I do not understand it. And I respect it. This is not a dismissive thing at all. I don't think I would be the right choice to make a film like that. I will not know how to approach that. There's some rules of the game there. There's a frame you really have to obey. There's a recipe to do them. And there's a certain way that they have to be done. And for the right reasons, by the way."

He has a point, of course. It's no secret that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has found success by establishing a formula through which it can produce consistent staples of entertainment. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but having to adhere to a set of rules can often not be attractive for filmmakers used to doing their own thing. And the comment can be related to the genre as a whole, barring exceptions like "Joker" or, most recently, "The Batman."

The problem with formulas

The formulaic nature of Marvel movies is a product of a greater issue at hand in the industry. As entertainment becomes more and more the ultimate commodity, the so-called "content" is produced exclusively to hit all of its parameters. Iñárritu is not interested in working under that presumption:

"I think there's an industrialization, a wave of films, making content ... They have to obey certain rules. How long they have to be. Where the plot has to happen. What is the stimulus, or the stimulations that people [want, in order] to be satisfied? And when they break those rules, they are not accepted. Or they're like, 'Oh, there's something wrong, it's a little longer than we expected.' And I think that's nothing that I'm interested in. I think it's important that films obey their own needs."

Iñárritu's filmography, love it or not, speaks to his undying need to tap into a distinct vision. Even a big-budget project like "The Revenant" does not take the wider scale for granted, instead using it to tell a story about human nature rather than strictly giving the audience what it desires. I don't think it is a bad thing to appeal to the masses from time to time, but perhaps Iñárritu's comments will age the best of them all in the never-ending superhero movie discourse.

You can either catch the latest Marvel film or watch "Bardo" now in theaters and/or later on Netflix on December 16, 2022.