Our culture’s continued inability to hold on to two vaguely conflicting ideas at the same time (for example, “Marvel movies are good and fun,” and “Marvel movies are not for everyone, especially 70-year-old directors”) has claimed yet another casualty today, as Disney CEO Bob Iger has now also weighed in on this so-called debate. Iger—a fantastically rich and powerful man who you would assume had better things to do, like figuring out how to de-Renner all his superhero films—has now responded to arguments from a number of high-profile filmmakers of an earlier generation, suggesting that movies in which two CGI men punch each other until one of them drops his magical rock do not necessarily constitute high art.
Specifically, Iger fired back at Francis Ford Coppola, who went scorched earth on his chances to make a Jack 2 this week by calling Disney’s Marvel output “despicable.” Coppola was following up on comments made by his old pal Martin Scorsese, who shocked the world earlier this month by suggesting that films made by the world’s largest entertainment conglomerate in order to appeal to fully 90 percent of the human population might not be his cup of tea. Talking to The Wall Street Journal, Iger answered these complaints by first attempting to dampen the fires of controversy a bit—and then tossed a lit cigarette right back on to this pile of oil-soaked rags and smoldering takes.
“I reserve the word ‘despicable’ for someone who committed mass murder,” Iger noted, ignoring that said word is also applicable to anyone who goes to see those goddamn Minions films. “These are movies.” Skirting the line of defensiveness, Iger also said that Scorsese and Coppola’s comments only bothered him because they might hurt people like Taika Waititi, Ryan Coogler, and, uh, Scarlett Johansson, while noting that he views Disney’s ability to get people into theaters by the millions as a good for everybody in the movie industry. Still, he couldn’t quite resist the urge to poke this rolling gurney down the hill just a little bit harder, ending by stating that “They want to bitch about movies, it’s certainly their right.” (Meanwhile, Iger did not respond to Pedro Almodóvar’s far more entertaining assertion that the Marvel movies are insufficiently horny, but such is life.)
Stay tuned to this spot; we’re just counting down the moments until someone invents a time machine so they can go back and ask Georges Méliès what he thinks about Doctor Strange.