Francis Ford Coppola backs Martin Scorsese's criticisms of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. Stemming from The Irishman director's comments at the start of the month comparing Marvel movies to theme parks (which he doubled down on), the conversation about whether the said films are deemed cinema or not continues. Over the course of the last several weeks, prominent franchise figures such as Robert Downey Jr., James Gunn, Joss Whedon and Samuel L. Jackson have all responded to his criticism, as well as Kevin Smith and Damon Lindelof. Now, it's Scorsese's fellow Academy Award-winning filmmaker, Coppola who shares his two cents on the matter.
Known for The Godfather trilogy, The Conversation and many more classics, Coppola, like Scorsese, is widely considered to be one of the all time great filmmakers. Being such an important figure in the industry, people make sure they listen when he has something to say. With a long decorated career as a director, Coppola was asked to weigh in on the ongoing debate regarding the MCU films, and unsurprisingly, he has some strong opinions about it.
Speaking to journalists (via Yahoo!) on the heels of being awarded the prestigious Prix Lumiere for his indelible contribution to the industry, Coppola candidly shared his sentiments over Scorsese's Marvel criticisms. And on top of just backing his fellow Italian-American director, he took it one step farther calling the franchise movies "despicable."
"When Martin Scorsese says that the Marvel pictures are not cinema, he's right because we expect to learn something from cinema, we expect to gain something, some enlightenment, some knowledge, some inspiration. I don't know that anyone gets anything out of seeing the same movie over and over again, Martin was kind when he said it's not cinema. He didn't say it's despicable, which I just say it is."
Since making his initial statement, Scorsese has come out to clarify his criticisms of the MCU. He emphasized that he wants more films that are singular theater experiences, driven only by their established narratives and nothing else. However, he also admitted that there are various ways to do films nowadays, including how Marvel Studios does crossovers, but he doesn't count them as cinema. Its overall message is quite confusing, but one thing is clear: he stands by his statement about the MCU not being considered cinema.
There's so much to unpack from Coppola's statement, but it seems that his primary problem with the MCU is its lack of storytelling diversity, which is not without merit. Over the years, the franchise has been criticized for its formulaic movies with its three-act format. This also means that Coppola might have actually watched a couple of them to have this strong opinion about it, although he didn't explicitly say. That said, Marvel Studios has actually started to experiment more on this in their latest films, particularly with Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame which has a more complicated narrative flow.
It's his comments about MCU movies not being enlightening or inspiring that Coppola might get a hard push back from those who actually enjoy these movies. The franchise may not have the most complex narratives or sophisticated aesthetics, but one cannot deny that its films and characters have resonated with millions of fans all over the world. People are actually invested with these fictional heroes - even those who are so absurd on paper like a talking raccoon and a dancing tree. While the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies look lighthearted and fun, they always have an important core messages, the same way their comic book sources had when they were first written decades ago.
- Black Widow (2020) release date: May 01, 2020
- Eternals (2020) release date: Nov 06, 2020
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) release date: Feb 12, 2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2021) release date: May 07, 2021
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2021) release date: Nov 05, 2021
- Black Panther 2 (2022) release date: May 06, 2022
- Spider-Man: Homecoming 3 (2021) release date: Jul 16, 2021