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Ben Affleck responds to Iñárritu’s infamous ‘cultural genocide’ comments

Back in October of 2014, The Revenant director Alejandro González Iñárritu had some pretty scathing things to say about Hollywood’s fixation on superhero movies. Speaking to Deadline, the back-to-back Oscar-winning director said of the genre in general “They [superhero movies] have been poison, this cultural genocide, because the audience is so overexposed to plot and explosions and shit that doesn’t mean nothing about the experience of being human.”

Since then, Iñárritu’s star has only grown brighter, while at the same time, superhero movies have only become more pervasive. That said, it was no surprise when, on Saturday, Ben Affleck (also known as the newest Batman) was asked about the director’s comments while promoting Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in Mexico City.

What was a bit surprising, is that he didn’t evade the question and instead addressed Iñárritu’s comments head on. As reported by ScreenCrush, here’s what he had to say:

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“I know Alejandro and he’s a great guy and a brilliant filmmaker and I admire him enormously. And El Chivo (Mexican cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki) is a friend of mine. Alejandro is also given to over-statement. I wouldn’t call it cultural genocide, but he’s brilliant and his point is taken that you can’t just swallow up cinema with any kind of movie.”

Wow. Send Affleck to the U.N. right now, because that was about as diplomatic as it gets. Somehow, the actor managed to compliment Iñárritu even as he criticized him, to find common ground with the director while disagreeing with his remarks, and to acknowledge the threat posed by superhero saturation, while promoting his own superhero movie.

His PR guy/gal couldn’t have scripted a better answer.

While Inarritu’s original comments were certainly a touch hyperbolic, his success as a filmmaker is a testament to the importance of creating a diverse cinema landscape, in which many different genres can flourish.

That said, we look forward to Iñárritu continuing to explore his artistic vision and — on the opposite end of the spectrum — to plenty more masked vigilantes being brought to the big screen as well.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice hits theaters March 25, 2016.