If Jeremy Renner and Chris Evans’ slut-shaming wasn’t bad enough press for the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron film, Robert Downey Jr. added to the controversy with his response to Alejandro Inarritu’s criticism of superhero movies.
In a Deadline Q&A published on Oct. 15, 2014, Inarritu was asked whether or not he enjoyed superhero films.
"I sometimes enjoy them because they are basic and simple and go well with popcorn. The problem is that sometimes they purport to be profound, based on some Greek mythological kind of thing. And they are honestly very right wing. I always see them as killing people because they do not believe in what you believe or they are not being who you want them to be. I hate that, and don't respond to those characters. They have been poison, this cultural genocide, because the audience is so overexposed to plot and expansion and sh*t that doesn't mean nothing about the experience of being human.
...Superheroes... just the word hero bothers me. What the f*** does that mean? It's a false misleading conception, the superhero. Then, the way they apply violence to it, it's absolutely right wing."
Thursday, April 23, 2015, The Guardian posted an Avengers: Age of Ultron promotional piece, where Robert Downey Jr. responding with a condescending, bigoted remark.
"I think for a man whose native tongue is Spanish, to be able to put together a phrase like 'cultural genocide,' just speaks to how bright he is."
What is that supposed to mean? Whether it is a genuine compliment or not – which it likely is not – it is a generalization of a culture and language and the measure of intelligence associated with such. Inarritu’s articulation examines the politics of superhero franchises and challenges its justification of violence – only to be graced with an insult to his background and identity. Keep it up, Avengers.