Dune Director Denis Villeneuve Claims Marvel Movies “Have Turned Us into Zombies”

Ironically, the director's vision helped inspire an upcoming MCU entry

denis villeneuve dune marvel cinematic universe movies zombies cut and paste formula
Denis Villeneuve on the set of Dune, photo by Chiabella James

    Denis Villeneuve has started promoting his new film Dune, and he has thoughts on the impact the Marvel Cinematic Universe has had on audiences over the last 13 years.

    Speaking with the Spanish-language outlet El Mundo, Villeneuve noted that big budget blockbuster filmmaking can retain artistic merit, citing filmmakers like Christopher Nolan and Alfonso Curaon. “Perhaps the problem is that we are in front of too many Marvel movies that are nothing more than a ‘cut and paste’ of others,” the director said. “Perhaps these types of movies have turned us into zombies a bit… But big and expensive movies of great value there are many today. I don’t feel capable of being pessimistic at all.” (English translation courtesy of Indiewire.)

    Villeneuve continued, “Just think of the golden age of Hollywood to see that commercial films can make a different artistic proposal and, therefore, political [statement]. I have never felt like a loss or an impediment to have a generous budget to do what I wanted to do. [The other way around.] Who said that a movie on a big budget can’t be artistically relevant at the same time?”

    To be fair, the visionary behind big-screen spectacles like 2016’s Arrival and 2017’s Blade Runner 2049 isn’t exactly writing off Captain America and co. altogether. He’s merely pointing out — as he did in an earlier chat with French outlet Premiere — that, in his mind, “all these films are made from the same mould. Some filmmakers can add a little color to it, but they’re all cast in the same factory… It doesn’t take anything away from the movies, but they are formatted.”


    Ironically, while the MCU’s multitude of superheroes may not be Villeneuve’s cup of cinematic tea, fellow director Chloé Zhao actually pitched Marvel her vision for the upcoming Eternals using stills from his filmography as inspirational references. Perhaps that’s why the film looks so gorgeously unique from other MCU flicks. (Now if only Kevin Feige could convince Villeneuve to direct a live-action Marvel Zombies…)

    Dune, which received a massive outpouring of critical acclaim and a record eight-minute standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival earlier this month, is set to hit theaters and HBO Max on October 22nd. (And for the record, Villeneuve isn’t too thrilled about the streaming component of his film’s rollout, either.)

    Next, he’s set to reunite with Jake Gyllenhaal for the upcoming HBO limited series The Son.

Latest Stories