Superhero films have often had a hard time earning the same level of respect afforded to more “high-brow” films such as dramas and biopics.
That’s been changing over the years, with the likes of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight and most recently James Mangold’s Logan earning critical love and attention from the Academy, but there still remain critics and industry folk that look at superhero films or similar genre films as, well, less important.
It’s ridiculous, of course. A good film is a good film, and whether or not it’s aimed at the broadest demographic possible has nothing to do with quality. In fact, as Guardians of the Galaxy actress Zoe Saldana had to say, perhaps it’s time these “elitists” consider how the latest superhero film they’re rolling their eyes at is being received by a child.
“I’ve been in rooms with people in this industry who are great at what they do, but they’re absolutely elitist and they look down at movies like the Marvel films or actors like myself. They think we’re selling out in some way,” Saldana, who plays Gamora in the MCU, said in an interview with Net-A-Porter.
“Every time they speak I feel so disappointed in them, because whenever you see pictures of people in this industry who donate their time to children in need, it’s these actors that live in the world that you feel is selling out. It’s these actors that understand the role that they play inspires a five-year-old who has one dying wish to meet a superhero. That actor takes time out of their life and sits down with that five-year-old and says, ‘I see you, I hear you, and you matter.’ Those elitists should be a little more cognizant about what playing a superhero means to a young child. Because you’re not just dissing me, you’re dissing what that child considers important in their world.”
Saldana also touched on her other alien character – Neytiri, in James Cameron’s Avatar franchise – when discussing her love of the sci-fi genre (she’s also starred in the rebooted Star Trek films).
“I feel so proud to be living in space, to be playing green and blue aliens, to inspire, primarily, the younger generations. I remember what it was like to be young and to feel completely excluded out of the mainstream conversation of life because I was just little and unimportant and ‘other’.”
She continued, “I work with filmmakers who gravitated to this genre because they were exiles in their own right, excluded from a mainstream conversation. They found their world and they were able to imagine the unimaginable. Everything about how they create, and how they invite characters to join them, is absolutely inclusive.”
Saldana will next be seen reprising her role as Gamora in Avengers: Infinity War, arriving in Australia on April 25 and opening in the U.S. on April 27.