A24 vs Marvel Pt 2: Why This Debate Is Necessary (But Sucks)
A headline goes viral, but the point is more true now than ever before. Indie vs. superheroes—who reigns supreme?
Ok, I get it Internet—this debate sucks! It brings me no joy to listen (or read) people’s thoughts on whether they prefer A24 movies or Marvel movies. And, believe me, I don’t have a dog in this fight! I watch a few A24 movies a year and a few Marvel movies a year, but wouldn’t call myself a huge fan of either.
I bring this up because a screenshot of a previous article I wrote for this blog has been making its rounds on Twitter (and Facebook and Reddit, apparently). The original article, written back in June 2021, is titled “A24 vs. Marvel: The Battle for the Future of Cinema” (and if you haven’t read it, you should before you comment or respond to this one!).
As far as I can tell, the tweet above from Twitter user @mistermoviespod seems to be either the first (or at least biggest) one in terms of re-sparking this debate. And, while I’m a little saddened to see that it’s only a screenshot of the title and not a link to the article itself, I’m actually quite glad to see that the overarching premise is being so hotly discussed and debated.
But, for those who haven’t read the article (and from the sheer amount of comments and retweets, that appears to be the vast majority), I’d like to restate as well as expand upon its premise: The movie industry is becoming more polarized and, as fans and filmmakers ourselves, we need to make a choice as to how we want to react.
“I Don’t Feel So Good”
Me neither, Mister Movies! In fact, while I certainly thought the title of the article might catch people’s attention, it wasn’t my first choice to frame the argument that way. I could have just titled the piece something like, “How Big-Budget Superhero Blockbusters and Mainstream Indie Distributors Are Making It Harder for the Rest of Us,” but that’s too many words (and not as fun).
It gives me no pleasure to debate between which movies are “better” when comparing Iron Man vs Lady Bird. (However, upon reading many of these comments and retweets, I do actually enjoy the debates on who would win in a battle between Ant-Man and the goat from The Witch).
The entire idea for this article simply came from a realization on my part that most of my friends who work in film and video seem to gravitate to one of these two camps.
And, while these two camps don’t only consist of these American movie studios and distributors, they’re certainly two of the most popular and serve as good cultural reference points.
A Filmmaking Perspective
The other odd trend that I noticed when people were discussing the article title was that many people assumed that this was an article written for a film review/criticism website (like Screen Rant or similar).
And, that was the angle for the original piece, to take a deeper look at how these two camps of filmmakers and film professionals are responding to this further segmentation within the industry.
Should you actually try to identify yourself and your personal career brand with one studio or the other? What would it actually take to get the chance to direct a Marvel movie, or have your indie feature picked up by A24?
The discussion isn’t about the movies themselves, instead, it’s about how we as filmmakers (and yes, film fans) should respond to these trends.
Again, that’s it.
So, How Should We Respond?
Honestly, I think many of the responses to the viral screenshot of the original piece are pretty apt and spot-on as to how I feel about this debate. It’s indeed troubling that most film fans (and even filmmakers) are feeling like they have to pick one of these two camps rather than having more freedom to carve out their own paths.
I also think it’s annoying that film criticism is furthering this divide by pitting these two different types of film types against one another. Whether that be in thought-pieces on film criticism websites, or by reviewing box office numbers like they’re college football rankings, etc.
It would be cool, actually, if the majority of us got together and took a stand against our film discussion and shared cinema experience being segmented into these types of us-versus-them mentalities.
You can like A24 films and Marvel movies! You can like one and dislike the other without making it about you being “better” or “worse” than your friends.
You can even dislike both and prefer the vast amount of incredible films that exist outside of these two recent, and mostly American-centric, confines! (And yes, there are hundreds of thousands of films from across the globe that don’t fall into these two narrow categories.)
Overall, I think the right course of action is to take a step back and let the debate continue on for as long as necessary. Again, I have no preference in this fight and have no wish to see people change their opinions about their favorite (or least favorite) films or franchises.
But, I do hope for those of us who work in film and aspire to make movies of our own one day, that we’ll at least come together a bit more to discuss how we want our cinematic legacy to look. If we want more than A24 vs. Marvel, how are we going to do it?
With that, I’ve said all I can say, and would simply like to highlight some of my favorite replies and retweets that I’ve found while surfing through the tens of thousands of responses to an article I wrote about this silly trend I’ve noticed:
Let’s keep the debate going! Take a look at these beauties:
- IATSE vs. AMPTP: Will There Be an Industry Strike
- Vintage Cinema Lenses: Canon K35s vs. Canon FDs
- 8K Showdown: The Sony Alpha 1 vs. the Canon EOS R5
- Fusion vs. After Effects: Which One Is Right for You?
- Comparing the Performances of Premiere Pro vs. Final Cut Pro X