Martin Scorsese says that although he's tried to watch them, he doesn’t think Marvel movies are cinema. With over a half a century of filmmaking to his credit, Scorsese has undeniably taken his place as one of the greatest directors in the history of cinema. A cinephile in the truest sense, Scorsese has loved movies his entire life, and the influence of the vast cinematic experiences he’s collected over the years is deeply felt in the work he produces.
At age 76, Scorsese is set to release his latest film next month: the highly anticipated The Irishman, which brings together such legendary acting greats as Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and long-time Scorsese collaborator, Joe Pesci.
While Scorsese’s opinion about cinema has frequently been sought by entertainment journalists and filmmakers alike, it’s more common to hear the famed director speak about the films (old or new) that he likes than those he doesn’t. Most recently during an interview with Empire, however, Scorsese revealed his opinions about one of the biggest moneymakers going in Hollywood today – comic book movies, or more specifically in this case, Marvel movies. When the subject of the Marvel Cinematic Universe came up, Scorsese had the following to say:
“I don’t see them. 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.”
It’s clear that Scorsese takes his cinema seriously and while he appears to have given comic book movies a chance, they simply do not measure up to his standard of what cinema is and the effect that it should have on audiences. It will perhaps be easy for some to dismiss Scorsese’s opinions as those from someone whose tastes only venture as far as arthouse films, but this simply isn’t the case, nor has it ever been when it comes to the filmmaker’s eclectic love for cinema.
Of course, criticism of the MCU or comic book movies in general never seems to go over well, so Scorsese’s comments are sure to arouse plenty of ire. That’s understandable to a certain degree, but it’s important to also understand that in terms of pure cinematic content, Scorsese may have a point. Marvel and comic book movies hold their own place as entertainment – there’s no denying they achieve huge feats in terms of the onscreen and box office spectacles that they create. For some, this is everything that a movie should be. But for those who want something more from the films they watch, Scorsese’s words may ring very true.
- The Irishman (2019) release date: Nov 27, 2019