Martin Scorsese Compares Marvel Movies to Theme Parks: “That’s Not Cinema”

     October 4, 2019

While Marvel Studios has been attracted prestigious filmmakers like Ryan Coogler and Chloe Zhao to its ranks over the last few years, one lauded director who won’t be venturing into the MCU is living legend Martin Scorsese. The iconic filmmaker and film historian was asked his thoughts on the Marvel Cinematic Universe recently, and he, uh, is not crazy about them.

Speaking to Empire (via ScreenRant), Scorsese admitted he doesn’t view Marvel movies as cinema:

“I don’t see them,” revealed Scorsese. “I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema. 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.”

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Image via Disney/Marvel

Respectfully, I’ve gotta disagree here. I mean when it comes to Thor: The Dark World or Iron Man 2, Scorsese’s got a point. But films like Black Panther, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and even Avengers: Endgame elegantly thread genuine emotional stakes throughout the blockbuster spectacle. Heck, Black Panther is one of the most potent and probing chronicles of race in America in recent memory—and it’s a superhero movie!

By his own admission Scorsese doesn’t see Marvel movies, so it’s possible he simply hasn’t seen the latter—and frankly much better—installments in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so perhaps he’s unaware of how the limits of the genre are being stretched. Or maybe he has seen Black Panther and Avengers: Endgame and just doesn’t like them—which is fine too. Like what you like, and I’m not about to tell Martin Scorsese, one of the foremost scholars on the history of cinema, that he’s “wrong” about superhero movies.

To go one further, I don’t think serious film fans even actually want Scorsese to potentially direct a superhero movie. There are limitations within the genre of course, and as good as films like Endgame and Spider-Man: Homecoming are, you don’t necessarily feel like only The Russo Brothers and Jon Watts, respectively, could have directed those films. On the flip side, what is The Wolf of Wall Street without Scorsese’s masterful handle on tone and theme? Who’s making movies like Silence? The guy is a singular talent, so I personally am 100% fine with him steering clear of superhero movies and continuing to do his own thing.

We, as consumers of entertainment, then get to enjoy both. So Martin Scorsese doesn’t like Marvel movies. He’s certainly not the only one, and his dislike of the franchise shouldn’t hinder your enjoyment of either the MCU or Scorsese’s films.

Speaking of which, Scorsese’s doing just fine. His latest epic The Irishman is drawing rave reviews and is a major Oscar contender.

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Image via Paramount Pictures

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