The director of Inherent Vice spits some truth about superhero movies.

By Troy-Jeffrey Allen

While I would never claim that big box office automatically equates to quality filmmaking, we are currently 10 films and 2 TV shows deep into the “Marvel Cinematic Universe.” Which stands to reason that not only do audiences genuinely like them but they are actively invested in superhero entertainment.

Despite this, cinephiles love to finger any and all superhero films for the death of cinema (except Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy for some reason). To hear naysayers put it, Marvel is effectively killing the auteur, spreading unhealthy patriotism around the world, and are responsible for forcing critics to dedicate entire lists to Marvel Studio’s awfulness.


While I could sit here and waste time attempting to knock down the validity of each of these arguments, I think director Paul  Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood) said it best in a recent interview with Rolling Stone. When asked about American cinema devolving into a collection of superhero films, Anderson cut across the question before the interview could even finish asking:

Ah, that’s such a fucking crock of shit. I can’t remember a year in recent memory where there were less complaints about the quality of movies. And what’s wrong with superhero movies, you know? I don’t know. You’re talking to someone that enjoys watching those films. People need to get a life if they’re having that discussion [laughs]. Those movies get a bad rap.

I find this particularly interesting because Anderson is about as much of an “indie darling” and as you can get. Having directed several of cinema’s most impressive ensemble films, Anderson has remained a critical favorite since he hit the scene in 1996 with Hard Eight. One year later the director made Boogie Nights and never looked back, amassing a consistently impressive filmography since.

Not saying Anderson’s word is gold, but definitely saying that the person behind the camera may have a better idea about whether or not the the industry is spiraling towards a doomsday scenario than a bunch of cranky online purists.

Inherent Vice, Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest film, is now playing.

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Troy-Jeffrey Allen writes about action/adventure for Action A Go Go. He is a comic book writer whose works include, The Magic Bullet, Dr. Dremo’s Taphouse of Tall Tales, and the Harvey Award nominated District Comics. In addition, Allen has been a contributing writer for, OfNote Magazine, and His work has been featured in the City Paper, The Baltimore Sun, Bethesda Magazine, The Examiner, and The Washington Post. Yes, he wrote this bio.