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Steven Spielberg’s favourite superhero movie

Steven Spielberg’s favourite superhero movie

(Credit: Elena Ternovaja)


For as long as superhero films have reigned over the box office, art has taken a backseat to profits. Over the last 15 years, Marvel and DC have collectively spit out countless movies characterised by recycled posters, star-studded casts, and predictable plots. Accordingly, the comic book craze has attracted criticism from many modern directors. 

Perhaps most famously, Martin Scorsese suggested that Marvel movies didn’t count as cinema, but he’s not alone in his objection. From Ken Loach to Ridley Scott, several filmmakers have been vocal about their dislike for the ever-increasing Marvel monopoly. Even Steven Spielberg, who pioneered the blockbuster format with films like E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Jurassic Park, has shared his thoughts on the dominance of superhero films. 

Spielberg previously suggested that the superhero genre was doomed to the same fate as the western. He told the Associated Press: “We were around when the western died, and there will be a time when the superhero movie goes the way of the western.”

He explained: “I’m only saying that these cycles have a finite time in popular culture.” 

Despite the director’s suggestions that the genre may have a short lifespan, Spielberg has extended his praises to a select few superhero films. Speaking with the Brazilian outlet, Omelete, he once named the 2014 Guardians of the Galaxy as his favourite film in the genre. 

Spielberg shouted out Richard Donner’s interpretation of Superman, Christopher Nolan’s gritty The Dark Knight, and Jon Favreau’s original Iron Man but stated that the superhero film that impressed him the most was Guardians of the Galaxy. The director praised the project for not taking itself too seriously, recalling, “When his projection was over, I left with the feeling of having seen something new in movies, without any cynicism or fear of being dark when needed”.

The film starred Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldaña, Bradley Cooper, and more in a typically star-studded ensemble cast. The film followed a superhero team comprising a talking tree, a genetically engineered raccoon, and a green alien as they travelled through space. Despite his admiration for the film, Spielberg also noted the differences with his own work. 

He suggested: “There is a difference between heroes and superheroes. The hero is an ordinary person who is faced with a serious fact and acts to modify it. A hero is a person who, walking down the street, see[s] a car on fire and runs [to] help the person who is in the driver’s seat, attached to the seat belt to loosen.”

On the other hand, according to Spielberg: “[A] superhero is a person who, on the same scene, would fly to the car and try to turn it upside down and shake it using his super strength, until the driver is released. I identify more with the first example. Film[s of] everyday heroes.”

Though Spielberg’s films have presented their protagonists with threats just as huge and imposing as those in the MCU, including dinosaurs, his heroes are more limited to the human realm.

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