When Martin Scorsese speaks about film, it seems like it’s a god speaking from the clouds to the entirety of the industry. So speaketh Scorsese about the state of movies lately, namely how he truly feels about Marvel dominating everything.
We’ve already written a recent piece that showed Jennifer Lopez bravely tearing into Marvel for squeezing out small, independent films. Now Scorsese is throwing similar (if sideline) shade at the MCU about what he thinks Marvel is doing to cinema.
As you might guess, the divide on his comments created a major chasm. Is he right, though? And is it the unspoken darkness that’s now befallen more quality movies?
Scorsese calls Marvel movies ‘theme parks’
One could argue Marvel has found the perfect balance between being popcorn superhero flicks and something mind-expanding. Nobody can deny Avengers: Endgame wasn’t the ultimate compromise in bringing something action-packed and entertaining while bending everyone’s brain with complex time travel elements.
Maybe you can argue not all of the previous Marvel movies were as ambitious. Nevertheless, it set a high bar the MCU has to maintain now. From Scorsese’s perspective, he’s looking at the Marvel franchise as a whole. His recent comment of calling them “Theme Parks” in an Empire Magazine interview took a few people aback.
His argument that Marvel movies aren’t really cinema does have logic while also being strictly an opinion unable to hurt the Marvel domination. For some people, it may be the ultimate triumph in one legend not being cajoled to join the Marvel universe for a large check. Not that any of us could possibly imagine Scorsese being persuaded to do a film for Marvel, outside of other A-listers clearly being sucked in due to big paydays.
Others might think Scorsese is missing something here, only because he says he hasn’t seen all of the Marvel movies.
Is Scorsese missing the bigger MCU picture?
During his interview, Scorsese says he’s seen “a few” Marvel movies, yet wasn’t persuaded to consider them important in the realm of exploring human relationships. Fans of the Marvel movies would easily disagree when you consider the superheroes involved are still people (for the most part) and have psychological situations with their peers and foes.
Scorsese doesn’t reveal which Marvel movies he saw, though we have to wonder if it was the more pedestrian movies from the first phase. Let’s all admit the MCU films have become gradually more sophisticated as time went on, leading up to the ultimate package in Endgame.
In Scorsese’s quote, he says he doesn’t watch Marvel films anymore, meaning he might have missed out when the MCU films really became great. Regardless, he does have an unarguable point about it being refreshing to see films utilizing real people interacting with the real world around us.
Those type of films might be in jeopardy because of Marvel. This could be the real reason Scorsese is so opinionated about the MCU.
Two things can be true about Marvel
Some Marvel movie fans came after Scorsese with a vengeance on social media after his comment. It’s obviously a good thing he isn’t on Twitter to see the onslaught of nasty comments.
At the same time, you could find some intelligent comment from professional film critics who sided with both Scorsese and Marvel. They note we can all like Marvel while also being concerned the latter has virtually hijacked the film industry, making it harder for small films to find large enough audiences.
Even with popular movie franchises, moderation is always better so it doesn’t wash away the small productions helping to humanize film and provide insights into the human condition.
Marvel clearly won’t slow things down. Scorsese might have drawn a bit of an invisible line in Hollywood by standing up for the indie directors who want to be just like him. Concurrently, there may be a bit of a battle ahead as Marvel dominates the theater chains and smaller, humanistic films struggle to gain decent box office. It’s possible to believe Scorsese knows this and disguised his argument as cinematic opinion rather than an angrier, industry snipe.