‘Mission: Impossible 2’ Director John Woo Says Superhero Movies Aren’t ‘Real Cinema’

John Woo speaks out!

John Woo Mission Impossible 2 Tom Cruise

Yet another director has been tossed into the outrage machine! Mission: Impossible 2 director John Woo says he isn’t a fan of superhero movies, preferring “real cinema.”

John Woo is an action movie legend, having directed dozens of projects from the 1970s to the 2000s (albeit, not all of them were exactly that great). During an interview celebrating his return to Hollywood with Silent Night, set to debut later this year with The Suicide Squad star Joel Kinnaman as the lead, the director has revealed he doesn’t like modern superhero movies, as he prefers “real cinema.”

“I’ve never liked watching movies with big special effects, or anything based on comic books,” Woo told The New York Times. “I prefer Martin Scorsese’s movies, that kind of cinema. I can’t wait to watch Killers of the Flower Moon. I like old-fashioned movies, you know? Real cinema. There aren’t many movies like that lately.”

This response shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone familiar with John Woo’s filmography. The director has always been known for his (sometimes overly) elaborate action set pieces. Given modern superhero movies are filled with CGI, especially during fights, they’re simply not his cup of tea. Though given his passion for more grounded action, somebody should point him toward John Wick.

Hollywood Takes Aim At Superheroes

John Woo isn’t the only Hollywood director to fire shots at the superhero genre. In fact, it seems almost every director in the industry feels the need to choose a side of the aisle.

The debate stems back to a comment Martin Scorcese made in 2019 while promoting The Irishman. When asked about his thoughts on superhero films by Empire magazine, Scorcese said that he simply can’t get into the genre, comparing the projects to theme parks.

“I don’t see them. I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema,” Scorsese explained. “Honestly, the closest I can think of them, as well made as they are, with actors doing the best they can under the circumstances, is theme parks. It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.”

This one comment set off an internet war, with one side pointing to Martin Scorcese as proof that every superhero film is a soulless cash grab, and the other using the comment as an excuse to call Scorcese a “washed-up hack.” Even big-budget directors like Joe and Anthony Russo have come to defend the genre from Scorcese, saying he doesn’t “own cinema.”

“Ultimately, we define cinema as a film that can bring people together to have a shared, emotional experience.” The duo told The Hollywood Reporter. “The other way to think about it, too, is nobody owns cinema. We don’t own cinema. You don’t own cinema. Scorsese doesn’t own cinema.”

In truth, all of these directors are right. Martin Scorcese can see the movies as theme parks, John Woo can call them not real cinema, and Joe and Anthony Russo can call them a shared emotional experience. There is no wrong answer as to what movies, or even something as broad as a whole genre, represent in the eyes of the beholder.

At the end of the day, art and what art means to you is subjective, and nobody should EVER put someone else down because they don’t like something you do or hate something you love. The modern social media machine runs on outrage. Sometimes it’s okay to just step away from the discourse and experience the joy of art in your own way.

Unless it’s Morbius. We can all at least agree that superhero movie specifically isn’t cinema.

Anthony Singletary

Anthony Singletary

Anthony has always had a love for stories. An aspiring screenwriter and video editor, he takes pride in connecting fans with the latest heroic news!