John Woo on Superhero Movies: “I Like Watching Real Cinema”

Action director legend John Woo is returning to cinemas with his new film Silent Night, and has something to say about the popularity and dominance of superhero films.

Asked about superhero movies in an interview with The New Yorker, Woo replied, “I’ve never liked watching movies with big special effects, or anything based on comic books. I prefer Martin Scorsese’s movies, that kind of cinema. I can’t wait to watch Killers of the Flower Moon. I like old-fashioned movies, you know? Real cinema. There aren’t many movies like that lately.”

More from The Hollywood Reporter

Asked to name a recent action movie he liked, Woo picked writer Taylor Sheridan’s 2016 neo-Western Hell or High Water, which was directed by David Mackenzie.

Scorsese, of course, helped kick off the whole “real movies vs. superhero movies” debate back in 2019, when he told Empire, “I don’t see them. I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema. Honestly, the closest I can think of them, as well made as they are, with actors doing the best they can under the circumstances, is theme parks. It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.”

In Silent Night, family man Brian Godluck (Joel Kinnaman) goes into the underworld to avenge his young son’s death on Christmas Eve. The movie is told without dialogue, a tactic that Hulu’s summer sci-fi hit No One Will Save You likewise employed.

Silent Night marks the Face/Off and Red Cliff director’s return to Hollywood after a years-long absence.

“I was so excited when I got the script for Silent Night,” he said. “There’s no dialogue in the entire movie! I thought this would be very good for me because it lets me use my gifts for telling a story visually.”

Best of The Hollywood Reporter