Quentin Tarantino Insists Marvel Actors Aren’t Real Movie Stars, ‘Shang-Chi’s Simu Liu Claps Back

Legendary filmmaker Quentin Tarantino hasn’t involved himself in franchises, such as the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Rather, he invested his filmography digging into original works that are largely influenced by obscure titles from his childhood. However, Tarantino recently stirred the pot with his opinion on Marvel, asserting that its lead actors aren’t actually movie stars at all.

Quentin Tarantino said Marvel actors aren’t real movie stars

Quentin Tarantino and Marvel actor Simu Liu as Shang-Chi. Tarantino is sitting in a chair with his hand raised up, making a peace sign. Liu is wearing a red and black costume, holding a pole ready to fight.
L-R: Quentin Tarantino and Simu Liu as Shang-Chi | Randy Holmes/ABC via Getty Images, Jasin Boland/Marvel Studios

Tarantino spoke with 2 Bears 1 Cave about the modern age of filmmaking, including the Marvel franchise. He previously spoke about some recent Hollywood movies that he loved, including Top Gun: Maverick. However, Tarantino expressed his displeasure with the impacts that Marvel had on the overall moviemaking machine. In turn, he said that the franchise’s actors aren’t real movie stars.

“Part of the Marvel-ization of Hollywood is … you have all these actors who have become famous playing these characters,” Tarantino said. “But, they’re not movie stars. Right? Captain America is the star. Or Thor is the star. I mean, I’m not the first person to say that. I think that’s been said a zillion times … but it’s like, you know, it’s these franchise characters that become a star.”

Tarantino emphasized that he doesn’t “hate” the franchise, but he sees the issues with Hollywood’s obsession with making superhero flicks.

“I’m not even putting them down frankly, to tell you the truth,” Tarantino said. “But that is one of the — the legacy of the Marvel-ization of Hollywood movies.”

He added that he doesn’t think there’s “much room for anything else” in the Hollywood system, further explaining “that’s my problem.”

Marvel actor Simu Liu clapped back at Quentin Tarantino

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings actor Simu Liu took to Twitter to respond to Tarantino’s claims about Marvel stars. He responded with his frustrations regarding the entertainment industry’s notorious past of telling stories from the perspective of non-white characters. However, Liu still expressed his respect toward Tarantino, even though he’s glad that other filmmakers provide greater opportunities for diversity.

“If the only gatekeepers to movie stardom came from Tarantino and [Martin] Scorsese, I would never have had the opportunity to lead a $400 million plus movie,” Liu wrote. “I am in awe of their filmmaking genius. They are transcendent auteurs. But they don’t get to point their nose at me or anyone.”

He continued: “No movie studio is or ever will be perfect. But I’m proud to work with one that has made sustained efforts to improve diversity onscreen by creating heroes that empower and inspire people of all communities everywhere. I loved the “Golden Age” too … but it was white as hell.”

Martin Scorsese is also disappointed in the franchise

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Tarantino wasn’t alone in seeing the drawbacks to Marvel achieving so much success in Hollywood. Fellow iconic filmmaker Martin Scorsese wrote an opinion piece in The New York Times to address his thoughts on the franchise after it caused quite a stir across social media.

Scorsese related the Marvel franchise to theme park rides, giving the cold shoulder to the series as an artform. “I don’t think they’re cinema,” he explained. The filmmaker noted that perhaps his age played into this opinion, but at this point in time, they don’t interest or excite him.