Martin Scorsese really, really hates Marvel movies. In fact, he doesn’t think they deserve to be called “cinema.”
That’s Not Cinema
While Scorsese can apparently lower himself to work with Netflix on The Irishman, a film that’s getting some significant Oscar buzz, you won’t catch him working for Marvel.
He claims that he tried to watch one, but that he just couldn’t get through it. You have to wonder which movie he watched. If it was Thor: Dark World, then I can understand why he wasn’t into it.
“Honestly, the closest I can think of them, as well made as they are, with actors doing the best they can under the circumstances, is theme parks. It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.”
As someone who has cried while watching at least four different Marvel films, I beg to differ.
Even though James Gunn and Joss Whedon defended their work on Twitter, Scorsese doubled down on his earlier comments. At the BFI London Film Festival last weekend, he told the press corps that comic book movies are nothing less than an invasion.
“We shouldn’t be invaded by it. We need cinemas to step up and show films that are narrative films.”
Scorsese also claims that these big, dumb blockbusters are training audiences to think of Marvel movies as “cinema.”
Now, you and I might point out a few things, such as the fact that very few people have ever been interested in the elitist world of art-house cinema, whereas Black Panther not only made a billion dollars (literally) but also helped black audiences feel seen and represented for the first time on the big screen.
Also, comic book movies are fun. It’s okay to have fun–and to let other people enjoy the things they like without implying that they’re brainwashed morons.
Francis Ford Coppola Weighs In
Another famous director went a step further, responding to Scorsese’s remarks by saying that Marvel movies are “despicable.”
In a press conference following Coppola’s Prix Lumiere award for “contribution to cinema” in France, he was asked about Scorsese’s comments.
Coppola agreed with his fellow filmmaker, saying “he’s right because we expect to learn something from cinema, we expect to gain something, some enlightenment, some knowledge, some inspiration.”
The Godfather director also said, “I don’t know that anyone gets anything out of seeing the same movie over and over again.”
Whereas Scorsese and Coppola, of course, have not been making tonally similar gangster films for most of their careers.
Would They Really Turn It Down?
And let’s be real: If Scorsese or Coppola were offered the chance to make a dark, gritty comic book movie for millions upon millions of dollars, they’d do it. Or maybe that’s what happened with Joker?
Maybe DC pitched the idea of the Joker as Travis Bickle to Scorsese, and when he passed on it, they hired Todd Phillips to make a knock-off Taxi Driver?
If Marvel was good enough for renowned Shakespearean actor and director Kenneth Brannagh (who made the first Thor movie), then it should be good enough for these guys.
But it seems we’ve entered an era where yesterday’s creative, boundary-pushing filmmakers are today’s old men yelling at clouds.