Mel Gibson On Marvel’s Use Of Violence, And Why The Violence Has No Weight


This weekend marks the official release of Mel Gibson’s new film, Hacksaw Ridge, starring Andrew Garfield. The film tells the story of Desmond Doss, a World War II medic who objects to the violence of war. And in a recent interview with The Washington Post, Gibson talked a little about his use of violence in his films, and also managed to criticize Marvel’s use of violence a bit in the process. These comments were made weeks before this weekend’s box office, so it is not a direct reaction to this weekend’s performance.

Gibson was asked about his graphic use of violence in his most popular films, including Braveheart, Passion of the Christ, and Apocalypto, and how this trend of violence carries over into his new film.

“[The action] almost has to be — I don’t mean to be callous about it — but it has to be like a sporting event,” Gibson explains. “You have to know who’s who, who your protagonists are, who’s doing what, what screen direction it’s all going in. In the midst of that, you have to have what appears to be chaos. It’s ordered chaos.

“I’m trying to get to your animal. That’s it. That’s war. I’m trying to make a visceral, fully emotional, immersive experience.”

These comment speak to the already visible truth, that Gibson prefers the brutal chaos that violence can provide, and it’s most of this violence that provides his films with their infamous R ratings. He went on to further discuss action as it relates to Marvel Film Studios.

“To talk about the violence question, look at any Marvel movie,” he says. “They’re more violent than anything that I’ve done, but [in my movies,] you give a s— about the characters, which makes it matter more. That’s all I’ll say.”

For the sake of fairness, it’s worth noting that Mel Gibson has already spoken out about his complaints with this years DC superhero slug fest, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. But these are very bold claims towards Marvel, who for the most part have done a solid job of making audiences care about the heroes that they choose to bring to the big screen. If they can take lesser known characters like Ant-Man and Dr. Strange and make audiences feel for their struggles, then I believe they’ve done their job.

You can catch Hacksaw Ridge in theatres, on November 4, 2016, starring Andrew Garfield, Teresa Palmer, and Hugo Weaving.

Source: Comic Book

Ryno Carlquist

Ryno Carlquist

Lover of movies, television, and list completing. FSU Student and Lifetime Pizza Rewards Member.

  • Marquis de Sade

    Even though I respect his work, but Mel is part of Hollywood’s old guard who’s having a hard time adjusting to the taste of sour grapes. He (like Spielberg) were the big dogs during their time, but Marvel has taken their place as the big alpha…They just ain’t used to playin’ the bytttch role.

    • henryducard

      That might be partially true but it doesn’t really take away from the fact that he has a genuine criticism of how the films handle violence and character development. It also doesn’t make what he said untrue.

      • Marquis de Sade

        What’s true about it? Marvel’s (like Mel’s) use of violence is one and the same…It’s used for the greater good (as most plot tropes goes)…the only difference is Marvel’s protagonists tends to do their necessary violence in snazzier costumes and cooler gadgets.

      • Axxell

        I don’t think audiences care any more about his characters than they do about Marvel’s. He just sounds like someone who’s full of himself, trying hard to stand out in an era where Marvel is the big behemoth taking all the attention away from his own projects.

    • Matches Malone

      There certainly is some merit to what you say. As much as the hipsters and man children prop up the films of their/our youth audience tastes have changed. What flew in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s may no longer be as compelling to an audience that has been raised and/or socializes in a different way.

  • Bill

    He’s 100% right

  • flavortang

    I like most of the Marvel movies, but I’ve always felt like the violence has no weight. There’s no real dramatic heft to anything(except Winter Soldier, which I thought had great dramatic moments). You know nothing of real consequence is going to happen because the studio can’t afford to agitate its audience. The movies are made for kids/families; perfectly executed four-quadrant events.

    Marvel movies are more like live-action cartoons AND THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT. They’re great fun in the theater. You eat your popcorn, ooh, ahh, laugh, .etc, but I’ve only walked out of a few Marvel movies, remembered what I just saw and cared to see it again. I’ve seen Winter Soldier 3-4 times, Iron Man 1 2-3 times and I think GOTG twice, but I’ve seen the rest only once.

    Their movies are plot-heavy but not subtext heavy. You go from plot point A to B to C but there’s no real deeper message to anything. It’s pure theatrical popcorn entertainment, which is why the movies do so well.

    Success is success, though. The art itself is subjective, but audiences seem to like the movies almost unilaterally so it’s tough to argue against them.

    • SAMURAI36

      I dunno, you did a great job making an argument against them. The Marvel films have little to no weight whatsoever. Not to mention, their plots are oftentimes nonsensical, and the way humor is used, teaches people to not take violence seriously, in any way that would give said violence any gravitas.

      As you said, these films are live action cartoons. That’s not necessarily a good thing.

  • Carl

    Weird considering his movies are way more violent and people really care about the Marvel characters. He’s just trying to stir up controversy to get press for his movie and hopefully restart his career.

    • Axxell

      Pretty much. Marvel is the big dog in Hollywood right now, so they’re the ones everyone aspires to knock down.

  • Steve Steve

    I don’t think he is really criticizing Marvel, more using them as an example to defend his filmmaking style. He is responding to a question of violence in his films. He explains that his films are not more violent than a Marvel movie, but simply the nature of the violence is different. His visceral violence is meant to portray the true horrors of combat/torture to the audience, while the Marvel films don’t use violence for narrative weight.

    Maybe Mel doesn’t like Marvel films, maybe they just don’t interest him. Either way, It’s all good.

    • His last few movies are way more violent and gory, so it’s a strange comment.

      • Steve Steve

        He is saying the amount of violence in his films is less than the amount in marvel films. It is the visceral and gory nature of his violence that nets him the R rating. His point was that he uses violence to develop and define his characters, whereas marvel films use violence as pure visual spectacle.

        It’s a fair point to make, but it also seems that he doesn’t like the visual spectacle of the MCU (which is also fair).

    • batghost

      I think most people who comment on this site aren’t smart enough to understand this. Well said.

  • Larry

    Let’s put this into perspective -Marvel is owned by Disney -how much realistic violence are you going to get with the company under a PG-13 rating while still appealing to a mass general worldwide audience with different cultural sensibilities. It makes no sense to upset what is so far working very well in order to appease those who view the medium differently. There is a reason why the films Mel makes don’t reach the mass audiences that Marvel is able to reach and are as beloved by all ages..

    Singling out Marvel, because it’s become a behemoth in the industry is just sour grapes and tinged with jealously that he so far hasn’t been given an invite to the party.

  • Bruce Norris

    Marvel does “Looney Tunes” violence, as some have stated. They can “press pause” and make it have SOME weight (ex. Death of Quicksilver in “AVENGERS 2”).

    Mel does it one way, real and horrific. I don’t think he believes it should be used/viewed any other way. IMHO, I think he’s trying to use it to remind society that it’s bad

  • Math

    I’m a little late to this discussion so I’m not sure how many will actually read this but, hey, here’s my 2 cents anyways…

    I don’t know if Mel simply did not expressed himself well here or if he missed the point completely. It’s not that people don’t care about the MCU characters to care about the violence put upon them. I think people wouldn’t come back over and over again to watch these movies if they didn’t care about these characters. There is however a big difference between a fun action sequence and one that has real hard consequences.

    I think the main problem with most action movies is they treat violence as a cool dance between characters. There’s no heavy consequences after a fight. It’s just a fun action piece. We get wowed by it. It looks fun. We’d love to put ourselves in their shoes and we’d love to be part of the fun. Then we move on to the next plot point without putting too much thought on the consequences of what just happened.

    Now a movie that treats violence like Mel does, shows you that there’s nothing fun about this action sequence. There are real consequences to the violent actions in his movies and he puts in extra effort to really show you what are the repercussions of this type of action. It’s not a pretty dance that looks fun anymore. It’s not that you care more or less about the characters, it’s that you really feel the effects of this violence. It shows the difference between playing a video game vs actually going to war with real weapons.

    Marvel wants you to have fun and not think too much of what the real consequences would actually be. Mel Gibson doesn’t care too much that you are wowed by the action sequences in his movies. He’s not trying to make you have fun with them… he wants you to realize there really is no fun in violence. He wants you to realize there is a big price to pay when you act violently.