Martin Scorsese has partially walked back his opinion on Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. The legendary director is out promoting his latest project, The Irishman. Scorsese originally said that MCU movie are “not cinema,” which started an avalanche of negativity and open discussion about the state of the entertainment industry. Marvel stars weighed in on Scorsese’s thoughts and while they didn’t appreciate the negativity, they do appreciate the director’s opinion. Francis Ford Coppola took it a step further and said that the MCU movies are “despicable.”
Now, in a new interview, Martin Scorsese has kind of clarified his MCU comments. He still likes to compare them to theme parks, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, one could argue, and many have, that Marvel Studios has strived to make an emotional connection with viewers over the years. Scorsese had this to say.
“The tentpole films, the big comic book films, they’re theme park movies – as well done as many of them are, at all levels. It’s a different cinema form or a new art form entirely. We’re hoping there are theaters that show the films that are not that. And that if they’re not going to show it that filmmakers still have an opportunity with streaming – it changes the experience, but otherwise, in two to three years now, it’s not being done. A good filmmaker comes in from Italy or France comes in, the film has to be a [franchise] or they won’t do it anymore.”
MCU movies went from not being cinema in Martin Scorsese’s eyes to becoming a “different cinema form.” This is much better than not being cinema at all. While Scorsese doesn’t directly address the backlash, he does talk about the dangers of the soundbite, which is exactly what his initial comment was, though it still doesn’t seem to have been taken out of context. Scorsese explains.
“Everything now is so fast, so fast, so fast. Everybody complains about soundbites. But if you actually read where a soundbite comes from, you’re reading it in context and it sometimes changes things. It’s a danger not only to cinema but it’s a danger to our culture and a danger to our country and how our kids are going to live – to want a quick fix. I’m not saying people should take the medicine of [a piece of art] that’s laborious. But if you can help them be open to something that might have different layers to it, where they may not be able to get it until two days later, that might be interesting.”
Martin Scorsese came to prominence at a wildly different time. He has different influences and it’s his work that is now influencing the comic book movies of today. Joker director Todd Phillips modeled the movie heavily off of Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy. Scorsese even helped Phillips by taking a look at the script, though he is not credited as an advisor.
Most of the damage from Martin Scorsese’s initial comments were over the fact that he admitted to not seeing a lot of the MCU movies. However, this can arguably be looked at as a positive situation since it has brought forth many different opinions about what is happening on the big screen and why. MCU movies are box office juggernauts, but does that mean they’re better than an indie film with less promotion and a fraction of the budget? Of course not. But this argument has been raging for decades and it will continue to do so, and it will likely help change the landscape in time. The interview with Martin Scorsese was originally conducted by Entertainment Weekly.