This world class director defends superhero movies

Contributed by
Jun 26, 2015, 4:17 PM EDT (Updated)

Paul Thomas Anderson is rightly regarded as one of the top directors to emerge in the past 20 years. His seven films to date -- Hard Eight, Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love, There Will Be Blood, The Master and the new Inherent Vice -- are some of the best to emerge in these last two decades, with all of them regularly ending up on critics' Top 10 lists and winning or being nominated for Oscars, Golden Globes and many other awards.

Anderson makes sophisticated comedy/dramas often taking place in unusual periods or settings, and it's no insult to say that most of his work fits squarely into the "arthouse" category. So you might think that a filmmaker of such high-end fare might look down his nose at movies based around comic books or superheroes, right?

Wrong. Asked in a new interview with Rolling Stone whether current American filmmaking was "nothing but superhero movies," here's how Anderson replied:

"Ah, that's such a f**king crock of s**t. I can't remember a year in recent memory where there were less complaints about the quality of movies. And what's wrong with superhero movies, you know? I don't know. You're talking to someone that enjoys watching those films. People need to get a life if they're having that discussion (laughs). Those movies get a bad rap."

What I love about this is that a) Paul Thomas Anderson enjoys watching superhero movies (how about making one yourself, dude?) and b) there's a certain class of film critics who would be clutching their pearls and falling onto their fainting couches if they heard that one of the darlings of modern cinema actually likes to sit down and watch Cap or Batman punch bad guys. Then again, this is the guy who peppered Boogie Nights with references to Star Wars (the "TK-421" stereo equipment) and Transformers: The Movie (the use of Stan Bush's "The Touch").

Anyway, those critics tend to dismiss anything with the DC or Marvel brand attached, which is not really fair. Sure, not every movie based on a superhero comic is a winner (I'm looking at you, Green Lantern), but the last few years have seen an undeniable parade of high-quality adaptations -- The Dark Knight, Iron Man, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Avengers -- that are all just good, solid, entertaining movies on their own. It's nice to know that a guy like Paul Thomas Anderson -- who is old enough to probably have a few classic Marvel runs in a box somewhere from when he was a kid -- thinks so, too.

(via Badass Digest)