‘Shang-Chi’ Star Calls Out Tarantino After Marvel Diss, Says “Golden-Age” Movies Were “White as Hell”

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Shang-Chi holding the Ten Rings in air around him on Ta Lo

Credit: Marvel Studios

Tarantino’s words have incited strong feelings in retaliation from Marvel Studios talent.

Chris Evans as Captain America
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: Why Chris Hemsworth Thinks Thor Might Die In Next MCU Outing

Quentin Tarantino’s belief that The Walt Disney Company-owned Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is killing Hollywood and the power of “movie stars” is one that has created waves recently (think Brad Pitt and his ilk) — not just among those on social media, but those of Marvel Studios’ lead actors.

Tarantino is basically a household name, known for directing Reservoir Dogs (1992), Pulp Fiction (194), Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003), and Inglourious Basterds (2009), among others.

Quentin Tarantino in Django Unchained
Credit: Columbia Pictures

In the year 2022 however, the Kevin Feige-helmed Marvel Cinematic Universe arguably holds even more social clout and significance the world over — ever since Joss Whedon’s The Avengers (2012), established the original six Avengers characters. The genre-redefining film brought Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man), Chris Hemsworth (Thor Odinson), Chris Evans (Steve Rogers/Captain America), Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow), Jeremy Renner (Clint Barton/Hawkeye), Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner/the Incredible Hulk), Tom Hiddleston (Loki Laufeyson/Loki Odinson), and Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury) together on screen for the first time.

Joe and Anthony Russo-directed Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019) further changed the film industry, with going to watch this movie becoming a cultural event practiced all over the world. It shifted the track of the film industry, with Avengers: Endgame even overtaking James Cameron’s Avatar (2009) as the highest-grossing film of all time — something director James Cameron was not very happy about.

Robert Downey, Jr,. as Iron Man
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: Amid Reports of Superhero Fatigue, Marvel Discusses Ending the MCU

Now, the MCU has expanded even further, with other movies debuting under the Marvel Studios umbrella championing diversity in the film industry — like Chadwick Boseman-led Black Panther (2018) and the recent sequel saying farewell to the late actor, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022) bringing director Ryan Coogler, and the Black Panther cast and crew back to send Boseman’s King T’Challa off. Wakanda Forever for example also included the first Mesoamerican superhero, Tenoch Huerta Mejía’s Namor, and the Mayan-derived civilization of Talokan. These films, which include Black Panther and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021), are known for highlighting lesser-known actors from diverse backgrounds — the latter being a superhero tale telling the story of Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) who has to navigate his relationship with his estranged father Xu Wenwu (Tony Leung), also known as the legendary figure, The Mandarin.

Quentin Tarantino on set of Django: Unchained
Credit: Columbia Pictures

Now speaking up in response to Tarantino’s comments disparaging the superhero franchise, Shang-Chi actor Simu Liu has fired back with his own thoughts on the subject.

In a fiery tweet to his Twitter account, Liu, an Asian American, calls out Tarantino and Martin Scorsese particularly (who has not been silent about his dislike of Marvel Studios movies), and believes that his he would “never have had the opportunity to lead” such a big budget movie as the one he was in, if these directors were the “only gatekeepers” to Hollywood:

If the only gatekeepers to movie stardom came from Tarantino and Scorsese, I would never have had the opportunity to lead a $400 million plus movie.

He adds that he is definitely respectful of their “filmmaking genius” — but that they shouldn’t get to “point their nose” at people who make Marvel Studios films:

I am in awe of their filmmaking genius. They are transcendent auteurs. But they don’t get to point their nose at me or anyone.

In the same thread, Liu also expands on this and expresses his pride in being able to inspire and empower people, additionally calling out the “Golden Age” of Hollywood as something that was “white as hell”:

No movie studio is or ever will be perfect. But I’m proud to work with one that has made sustained efforts to improve diversity onscreen by creating heroes that empower and inspire people of all communities everywhere.

I loved the “Golden Age” too.. but it was white as hell.

The callout has been received with mixed response from those online, with people acknowledging Simu Liu’s (and other Marvel actors’) unique positions as inspirational figures, as user @AsianOddball says, and @tmbg13 replies — garnering a whopping 25K likes:

@AsianOddball: They just don’t get it. You don’t just make fun movies you guys dress as your characters and visit sick kids in children’s hospitals and raise millions for charity. Never seen them do any of that.

(in reply) @tmbg13: what scorsese movie character do you want to see visit a sick child in the hospital

Whereas user @upperweirdside disagrees, saying that they instead agree that the big studios only make “one kind of movie — glorified children’s films”:

There definitely seems to be a divide in the general response to this Marvel star’s comments. Or in Tarantino’s eyes — not even a star at all, since he considers seasoned Marvel actors like Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth as socially inferior to their superhero “franchise characters” of Captain America and Thor Odinson.

What do you think about Simu Liu’s response to Tarantino? Is Marvel Studios killing the “movie star”? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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