Welp, it looks like Martin Scorsese isn’t softening his stance on Marvel movies anytime soon. The Irishman director once again made his thoughts and feelings known about the effect Marvel movies (and movies of their ilk) are having on today’s cinema at the BFI London Film Festival on Sunday.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Scorsese echoed his previous remarks about Marvel movies during a press conference for The Irishman which included two of the film’s stars, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. During the press conference, Scorsese offered up some new, strong sentiments.
“It’s not cinema, it’s something else,” Scorsese said during the press conference. “We shouldn’t be invaded by it. We need cinemas to step up and show films that are narrative films.” The director seems to be on a tear, with this notion of Marvel movies invading cinemas just one of the now handful of times he’s aired his candid ideas about the matter. It’s worth noting that Marvel movies are narrative movies, too, and we probably shouldn’t be so reductive but what do I know?
THR also notes that Scorsese also repeated his comparison that Marvel movies are like theme parks during BAFTA’s annual David Lean lecture. The “theme park” bit gets expanded on by Scorsese, with theaters now getting some heat in addition to Marvel movies.
Theaters have become amusement parks. That is all fine and good but don’t invade everything else in that sense. That is fine and good for those who enjoy that type of film and, by the way, knowing what goes into them now, I admire what they do. It’s not my kind of thing, it simply is not. It’s creating another kind of audience that thinks cinema is that.
Okay, I’m genuinely nervous that one of our arguably greatest living directors has a fundamental misunderstanding of cinema. The concept of movie theaters as a place of celebration, life, excitement and a venue to escape the doldrums of everyday life is not a new concept. Movies have always been over-the-top (hello to 1939’s The Wizard of Oz) and have always been a medium that has pushed technological boundaries and commented on those innovations (whaddup to 2011’s Hugo, a movie directed by… Scorsese!). Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige and his team didn’t just invent it and use their movies to change everything entirely.
It’s tough to say what has spurred on these comments from Scorsese and it would be wrong to speculate. However, it’s disheartening to see a director push back so much on a corner of the market that is admittedly changing the face of cinema but by no means poses so great a threat to other kinds of film that it should be negged entirely.