There is no denying at this point that comic book movies are now dominating the theatrical landscape and it has become a point of conversation for some filmmakers who are concerned that studios might no longer make films that don't feature someone wearing a latex suit or saving the world from a genocidal alien. The topic has become divisive among filmmakers in Hollywood and, now, a legendary director has shared his thoughts on the dominance of superhero movies (or in his case, a "Marvel picture").
Speaking with GQ, Francis Ford Coppola, the legendary award-winning filmmaker behind iconic films such as The Godfather and Apocalypse Now, shared his thoughts on how today's studio films have become repetitive and follow the prototype of a "Marvel picture." He even cited Dune and No Time to Die as examples of doing the same prototype (at least in his eyes).
"There used to be studio films," Coppola said. "Now there are Marvel pictures. And what is a Marvel picture? A Marvel picture is one prototype movie that is made over and over and over and over and over again to look different. Even the talented people — you could take Dune, made by Denis Villeneuve, an extremely talented, gifted artist, and you could take No Time to Die directed by... Cary Fukunaga—extremely gifted, talented, beautiful artists, and you could take both those movies, and you and I could go and pull the same sequence out of both of them and put them together. The same sequence where the cars all crash into each other. They all have that stuff in it, and they almost have to have it, if they’re going to justify their budget. And that’s the good films and the talented filmmakers."
It is understandable why Coppola would have this kind of feeling when it comes to today's films since it doesn't use to work that way during his time back in the 80s and 90s when studios are more willing to take a risk to make movies that are not part of a franchise. However, it is unfair to say that most studio films are following the same prototype since, if you look at most of them, they're really different and don't follow the same old formula. With the two films that the director cited, those two are very distinct from each other and doesn't have the same story beats or formula at all.
You can also say the same argument for the Marvel movies. While all of them center around a superhero, they each have a distinct story, tone, and genre. All of them are not necessarily trapped in the same trope or formula. An example is Captain America: The Winter Soldier which is more of a political thriller and we see the heroes grapple with a huge change in the institution they thought was on their side. Avengers: Infinity War ended with the heroes losing the battle. Spider-Man: No Way Home ended with the titular hero going back to scratch as he has lost his loved one and lost contact with his friends.
It is inevitable that the studio film landscape is different now than before whether we like it or not and it seems that the dominance of comic book movies will not stop anytime soon. You can't blame Coppola for expressing his sentiment even if it's something that you might not agree on. Of course, this conversation will still go on for a long time with everyone chiming in on both sides.