Jordan Peele has waded into the ongoing Martin Scorsese versus Marvel debate, stating that he wants to see more original movies in theaters, too. The conversation surrounding the issue has grown substantially ever since Martin Scorsese initiated it last month.
Originally, Scorsese was quoted as saying that Marvel movies weren’t cinema, but The Irishman director eventually said that his initial comments were misquoted. After weeks of intense media coverage, Scorsese finally set the record straight by writing a highly praised op-ed in The New York Times on the subject. Before things got to that point, however, Scorsese’s statements struck a nerve with some superhero movie fans. Scorsese also found immediate agreement with other directors from the filmmaking community, resulting in a debate that has become one of the most polarizing issues in modern cinema. With so many filmmakers having been inspired and captivated by Scorsese’s tremendous body of work over the years, there’s little wonder why the 76-year-old icon’s words hit so hard and have made so many pay attention. For a brief period, it seemed as though the debate was winding down, but ever since Scorsese’s aforementioned op-ed, even more filmmakers are sounding off.
The most recent acclaimed filmmaker to offer up his take on the Marvel-Scorsese debate about comic book movies is actor and director Jordan Peele. Since debuting with 2017’s Get Out and subsequently winning an Oscar for the film, Peele’s work has been a massive draw, making him the perfect candidate to weigh in on a debate that simply refuses to go away. THR has reported that while speaking at New York’s Fast Company Innovation Festival, Peele was asked about the issue. Though he kept his comments somewhat neutral, he did reveal that ultimately, he just wants to see “more original material in the theater”. Said Peele:
I’m not particularly engaged in the ‘What is cinema, what isn’t cinema?’ conversation. My definition of film and what my movie experience is, is movies that you can go and have a theatrical experience, a shared experience with the audience [and] go through emotions: cheers, tears, laughs. Those are the movies I’m trying to make, quite frankly. I’m very focused on something that you need to go out to the theater to see while it’s out there because it’s something different. It's very different from this streaming boom, or whatever you want to call it.
If anything, Peele’s comments don't take issue with comic book movies and whether or not they can be justifiably regarded as cinema. Instead, they take aim at the problems that subscription streaming services and the juggernaut that comic book movies have become pose for the traditional theatrical experience. This is something that Scorsese has touched on and ultimately what is at the heart of the current debate he initiated. As a result, Peele may appear to be fighting more of the same battle as Scorsese and Coppola than Joss Whedon and James Gunn.
At the same time, however, Peele definitely doesn’t seem interested in taking sides. He was simply answering a question that was asked of him. But for those who truly value the act of going to the cinema and experiencing something truly original, there is much value in what Peele has to say. Early screenings of Us, for example, were packed affairs, with a palpable buzz felt among the crowd as the film unleashed its frightening spell. That sort of magic doesn’t always exist in the same way while streaming a movie at home, and the originality that that film exuded is a major part of what made it such an exciting and entertaining story to be a part of.