During his 2014 press tour to promote his critically acclaimed film Birdman, Oscar-winning filmmaker Alejandro González Iñarritu referred to superhero movies as a form of “cultural genocide.”
“I don’t respond to those characters,” Iñarritu said at the time. “They have been poison because the audience is so overexposed to plot and explosions and shit that doesn’t mean nothing about the experience of being human.”
Today, Iñarritu’s opinion on superhero movies hasn’t changed. “What the fuck does [“superhero”] mean?” he said in a recent interview with IndieWire. “It’s a false, misleading conception, the superhero. Then, the way they apply violence to it, it’s absolutely right-wing. If you observe the mentality of most of those films, it’s really about people who are rich, who have power, who will do the good, who will kill the bad. Philosophically, I just don’t like them.”
Along with revisiting his thoughts on the superhero movie genre, Iñarritu also reflected on the backlash he received from his 2014 interview with Marvel star Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), who, the following year, responded to Iñarritu’s comment by telling the The Guardian “for a man whose native tongue is Spanish to be able to put together a phrase like ‘cultural genocide’ just speaks to how bright he is.”
It’s been seven years since Downey Jr. made the controversial statement, but Iñarritu still remembers how much it stung. “It was like, ‘Oh, you guys from your banana country,’” Iñarritu said. “If I were from Denmark or Sweden, I might be seen as philosophical, but when you’re Mexican, and you say things, you’re pretentious.”
Currently, Iñarritu is promoting his latest film Bardo. The comedy, which stars Daniel Giménez Cacho, debuts at theaters on November 18, 2022, and streams on Netflix on December 16, 2022.