Simu Liu criticises Quentin Tarantino after director laments the ‘Marvelisation of Hollywood’

Director Quentin Tarantino has criticised Marvel films, saying the studio does not produce movie stars and Marvel films “are the only things that seem to be made”, leading to backlash from Marvel star Simu Liu.

Speaking on the 2 Bears, 1 Cave podcast, Tarantino said the decline in movie stars was attributable to the “Marvelisation of Hollywood”.

“You have all these actors who have become famous playing these characters,” Tarantino said. “But they’re not movie stars. Right? Captain America is the star. Or Thor is the star. I mean, I’m not the first person to say that. I think that’s been said a zillion times … but it’s like, you know, it’s these franchise characters that become a star.”

Related: Martin Scorsese isn’t wrong about Marvel movies – but neither is he quite right | Peter Bradshaw

Tarantino said while he does not “hate” Marvel movies, he dislikes their current ubiquity.

“Look, I used to collect Marvel comics like crazy when I was a kid,” he said. “There’s an aspect that if these movies were coming out when I was in my twenties, I would totally be fucking happy and totally love them. I mean, they wouldn’t be the only movies being made. They would be those movies amongst other movies. But, you know, I’m almost 60, so yeah. No, I’m not quite as excited about them.

“My only axe to grind against them is they’re the only things that seem to be made,” he added. “And they’re the only things that seem to generate any kind of excitement amongst a fan base or even for the studio making them. That’s what they’re excited about. And so it’s just the fact that they are the entire representation of this era of movies right now. There’s not really much room for anything else. That’s my problem.”

Fellow director Martin Scorsese has also been a vocal critic of Marvel, calling them “theme parks” and “not cinema”, which has prompted responses from many actors and directors working for the studio, among them Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, who brushed off Scorsese’s remarks, saying: “I think that’s not true. I think it’s unfortunate.”

On Wednesday, Deadpool creator Robert Liefeld called Tarantino’s comments “the hottest of hot takes”, while Liu, the star of Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, rejected Tarantino’s assessment and praised Marvel’s efforts to improve diversity on screen.

Related: ‘Why do they do that?’: Nicolas Cage isn’t down with the Coppola-Scorsese Marvel bashing

“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. 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,” he tweeted.

“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.”

Earlier this month, Tarantino said he would never direct a Marvel movie because “you have to be a hired hand to do those things. I’m not a hired hand. I’m not looking for a job.”