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Richard Linklater Says Hit Man Is His Answer to the ‘Infantilization’ of Modern Movies

Richard Linklater Says Hit Man Is His Answer to the 'Infantilization' of Modern Movies


  • Hit Man
    challenges Hollywood’s trend of infantilization, presenting mature themes and complex relationships.
  • Director Linklater criticizes the superhero genre for being “sexless and starless,” lacking true movie stars.
  • Hit Man’s
    success on Netflix highlights the demand for adult-themed movies with depth and meaningful storytelling.

Director Richard Linlater has described his latest movie, Hit Man, as an answer to Hollywood’s fear of sexual and mature movies. The movie, starring Glen Powell (Top Gun: Maverick) and Adria Arjona (Andor), is loosely based on the true story of Gary Johnson, a part-timer for the New Orleans Police Department. Johnson posed as a fake hitman to illicit confessions from criminals who wanted to hire his services. However, his life takes a drastic turn when he becomes romantically involved with a new target. As their relationship grows, the pair explore new possibilities within their relationship, and Linklater didn’t want to shy away from presenting these moments as an honest canvas for the audience.

Speaking to GamesRadar+, Linklater addressed his concerns about the current trend in Hollywood cinema. Linklater said that modern movies have undergone a process of “infantilization” and that studios are too scared to approach mature themes in movies.

“It’s been this slow infantilization of cinema. I remember when I was a kid, they didn’t make films for me so much, so I was watching adult movies imagining – I didn’t get everything, but it was an intriguing world,” the director said.

Linklater then discussed Hollywood’s turning point, as he believes studios began catering to younger and younger audiences, choosing to ignore the realities of adult life in order to simplify movies. He continued:

“But somewhere along the way it became ‘just stay a kid forever, keep reading comic books, we will keep catering to your youth, don’t think about things like sex or the complexities of adulthood. Let’s simplify everything down.’ But adult things are complex – that’s what makes them adult and intriguing – and they are complex in different ways to different people. The more childlike you can be the simpler it is and the easier it is to sell. That’s Hollywood!”

Richard Linklater Slams Childish Superhero Movies as ‘Sexless & Starless’

Hit Man

Hit Man


From director Richard Linklater comes Hit Man, a 2023 action comedy film based on a Texas Monthly article of the same name. Undercover and trying to catch a group of criminals, a Houston police officer poses as a hitman until he falls for a woman on assignment. Finding himself diving deeper into the world of crime, the Houston officer finds it increasingly difficult to escape his new undercover persona.

Release Date
September 5, 2023

1hr 53min

Linklater also took a joking shot at the rise in popularity of the superhero genre over the last decade. With the Marvel Cinematic Universe (the largest superhero media franchise) owned by Disney, it is unlikely audiences will ever see scenes as raunchy as those in Hit Man appearing in Avengers: Secret Invasion. Linklater joked that “superheroes don’t have genitals apparently,” as most superhero movies gloss over their characters’ romantic lives in favor of saving the world from a floating sky portal.



Richard Linklater and the Cast of Hit Man Discuss Thier Killer Netflix Movie

Director Richard Linklater and the cast of Hit Man (Glen Powell, Adria Arjona, Retta) discuss their #1 Netflix movie.

During his comment, Linklater also addressed another issue in modern movies, the lack of modern bona-fide stars. Unlike Glen Powell, whose stardom and success continues to rise, following the releases of Top Gun: Maverick, Anyone But You, and Hit Man, before the release of his next movie Twisters, Linklater believes that the superhero genre doesn’t produce any true movie stars. The director said:

“The two think-pieces that have been going on the past years – does Hollywood not produce stars anymore and they no longer have sex scenes in movies, all these superheroes don’t have genitals apparently – it’s all so sexless and starless. I’m like well, my old-fashioned movie to trying to address both of those points. Here’s my answer to that.

Hit Man was recently released on Netflix, following a limited theatrical release. The film received rave reviews from audiences and critics, and is currently Powell’s highest rated movie on Rotten Tomatoes.

Hit Man
is now available to stream on Netflix.

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