Throughout his decades-long career, Mel Gibson has both appeared in and directed some strikingly violent movies. A great deal of it is on display in the Mad Max and Lethal Weapon series. Gallipoli, one of his earliest films, has plenty of violence, as do his later works, like Payback, Machete Kills, and The Expendables 3. Violence is also seen in several of the films Gibson has directed: Braveheart, The Passion of the Christ, Apocalypto, and even his new war film Hacksaw Ridge (though its hero is a pacifist).
Despite starring in and/or directing blockbusters with what could certainly be called their fair share of on-screen violence, Gibson has taken to calling out other films for the way in which they choose to depict violence.
In a recent interview with the Washington Post, while out promoting Hacksaw Ridge, Gibson criticized other Hollywood films for the way they present what was described as “violence without conscience”. And in the discussion, the actor-director took to pointing a finger at Marvel’s films in particular:
“To talk about the violence question, look at any Marvel movie. They’re more violent than anything that I’ve done, but [in my movies,] you give a s— about the characters, which makes it matter more. That’s all I’ll say.”
Since making his return to the spotlight behind the camera, Gibson has not been shy about his feelings toward the recent trend of comic book-inspired Hollywood blockbusters. Earlier this year, he shared a rather blunt opinion regarding his thoughts on Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Meanwhile, instead of singling out any Marvel film in particular, he points out a common criticism that has been leveled at both studios’ cinematic efforts regarding the depiction of catastrophic violence. In this case, it seems as though Gibson’s remarks are aimed toward the climactic battles of many comic book films, which often show widespread destruction and, presumably, the loss of countless lives, all as part of a thrilling action sequence.
Whether or not Gibson is right in his criticism of Marvel’s films, or in the praise he hands his own movies is likely to be hotly debated, especially after so much attention on his latest effort has been focused on its extreme depiction of violence and heavy focus on gore. But perhaps that debate has already begun amongst the filmgoing public, as Hacksaw Ridge recently opened up in third place against Marvel’s Doctor Strange and the animated film Trolls.