Simu Liu looked like the poster boy for the next generation for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, adored by fans for his unconventional route to blockbuster films — but he’s quickly learned that nothing lasts forever as fans suddenly turn on him.
The Quentin Tarantino hot take debacle has seen a lot of opinions fly out, as Liu has vehemently defended himself and his Marvel co-stars from the famed director’s criticism. Liu’s tweets took offense at the insinuation of there being no real movie stars anymore, while fans resurfaced Anthony Mackie’s old interview on the topic, showing him agreeing in principle with what Tarantino said.
Liu, ever vocal, said Shang-Chi wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for franchise and IP mentality shown so often by Disney and Marvel. Which is true, most of Hollywood is about trends, with it spending years trying to make movies as broadly appealing and marketable as possible. Shang-Chi exists, realistically, because executives realized Asian audiences exist and have money.
Unfortunately, Liu’s point also proves Tarantino right. These movies are not made with intent of distributing its excess wealth to making something like My Neighbor Totoro or Crazy Rich Asians. Funds go back into the machine so the next product can exist. This isn’t inherently bad, but does represent a problem.
This is a ridiculous point on its face. Disney isn’t using the vast fortunes made from SHANG CHI to do anything other than make more IP movies. They’re not letting filmmakers make a MINARI or FAREWELL at a decent budget. They don’t even have their own CRAZY RICH ASIANS.
— FilmBart (@FilmBart) November 22, 2022
the only reason why Shang Chi made “$400 million plus” in box office is because its a Marvel movie… which is the only reason why people went to go see it…… which is literally what Tarantino said https://t.co/X8o0uncsji
— 🚮 (@olicookes) November 22, 2022
Liu has also been criticized for seemingly forgetting the many years between Hollywood’s Golden Age and the current day. Blaxploitation films kicked off hard in the 1970s allowing for actors who otherwise would rarely get roles allowed to shine, likewise Hong Kong action films at the end of the 1990s.
You know there have been other ages between the Golden age and now that actually introduced diverse characters. Black Panther and Shang Chi didn’t just show up recently . https://t.co/9MOHwwGMia
— Nerdygirlcreates -MANGA/INDIE COMIC REVIEWS (@kerry_comcgrl77) November 22, 2022
Before Shang-Chi came out, or even Guardians of the Galaxy, the marketing was built around the Marvel logo being associated with the property. Had either of them been an original property, they would almost definitely not be made for $200 million and seen such widespread success.
Liu is right in the sense there is definitely a net positive in having Asian representation in blockbuster media, especially considering how rare such a thing was in America in the years preceding. Unfortunately, he is, at least for the foreseeable future, Shang-Chi from the film Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings – not movie star Simu Liu.