Recent Moon Knight antagonist Ethan Hawke trends over a resurfaced video of the actor’s response to comic book movie discourse. Spearheaded by films like X-Men (2000), Spider-Man (2002), and Batman Begins (2005), superhero cinema began to permeate popular culture more so than ever before at the beginning of the 21st century. Marvel Studios’ Iron Man (2008) effectively launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which prompted the creation of Warner Bros. and DC Films’ DC Extended Universe. Now, superhero movies dominate pop culture, and some filmmakers have spoken out against the genre.
In 2019, Martin Scorsese compared Marvel films to formulaic “theme park rides,” arguing that they take attention and opportunities away from smaller films. This began a trend of filmmakers outside the art form being asked about and sharing their criticisms of comic book movies. For example, Ridley Scott once called them “f—king boring as sh-t” while Francis Ford Coppola used the word “despicable” to describe their tendency to avoid risk for commercial appeal and financial gain. While takes like these continue to divide the internet, an old video of Hawke is bringing people together.
In a 2018 interview with RayWorkProductions, Hawke defended superhero movies, saying “I love superhero movies, I love art-house movies. I don’t think there’s a difference between high art and low art. There are movies that people put their heart into, and there are movies that people try to cash in on. And the ones I like are the ones people put their heart into, and you can feel it in a superhero movie, or you can feel it in an arthouse movie.” The actor would go on to elaborate on how there needs to be room for all types of art, which has led many to praise the actor for his nuanced take. Check out the original clip as well as some of the reactions to it below:
Hawke acknowledges how superhero movies are in a dominant position in today’s film industry, which does take opportunities away from smaller films. However, the acclaimed actor, director, and writer also acknowledges how that doesn’t mean comic book movies can’t be art—something apparent in his most recent project, Moon Knight. Following a conversation with his co-star, Oscar Isaac, Hawke signed on to play Arthur Harrow in the MCU’s latest Disney+ series without ever reading a script. Hawke has since praised Marvel Studios for allowing him room to create and maneuver his performance.
As the MCU continues to expand, Marvel Studios has opened its doors to innovators and talent like Hawke. While one could easily criticize Moon Knight for its hero’s journey narrative, massive budget, and CGI, the series’ handling of mental illness and trauma certainly isn’t formulaic. When watching Moon Knight, fans can tell that showrunner Jeremy Slater, Egyptian filmmaker Mohamed Diab, and the cast put their hearts into it. As more and more filmmakers diverge from the supposed formula and innovate, comic book movies and shows may one day be accepted as high art. Still, that doesn’t mean they should own every space in the industry. Both statements can be true, and Hawke realizes that.
Source: Various (see above)
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