Marvel’s Kevin Feige Breaks Silence on Scorsese’s Negative Comments

Kevin Feige, President and Chief Creative Officer of Marvel Studios, recently commented on the harsh criticisms of the studio’s films made by legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese. Though almost every movie from the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been a box office blockbuster, Scorsese maintains that the franchise is more fluff than cinematic art.

Marvel’s Kevin Feige | Richard Harbaugh/Disneyland Resort via Getty Images

Scorsese’s take

In October, the world-renowned director shared his thoughts on the Marvel franchise in an interview with Empire, according to the Hollywood Reporter. “It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being,” Scorsese told Empire.

He doubled down on his comments earlier this month in an op-ed for The New York Times. “I don’t think they’re cinema… I’ve tried to watch a few of them and that they’re not for me, that they seem to me to be closer to theme parks than they are to movies as I’ve known and loved them throughout my life,” the director wrote. “What’s not there is revelation, mystery or genuine emotional danger. Nothing is at risk. The pictures are made to satisfy a specific set of demands, and they are designed as variations on a finite number of themes.”

Scorsese isn’t alone in his opinion. Lauded director Francis Ford Coppola agreed with Scorsese, yet wasn’t so delicate in his criticism. “Martin was being kind when he said it wasn’t cinema. He didn’t say it was despicable, which is what I say,” Coppola commented, according to The Wall Street Journal.

While the two legendary directors know the craft possibly better than anyone in the film industry, one can’t deny the appeal of the billion-dollar-producing superhero movies. As the head of the franchise, Feige decided to weigh in.

Feige’s response

When asked about Scorsese’s comments in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Feige was delicate in his reply. “I think that’s not true. I think it’s unfortunate,” Feige said when asked about the idea that superhero movies are degrading for cinema. “I think myself and everyone who works on these movies loves cinema, loves movies, loves going to the movies, loves to watch a communal experience in a movie theater full of people.”

Feige also acknowledged Scorsese’s remarks about the supposed lack of risk taking in Marvel films, bringing up more recent titles in the franchise as an example of going in a more edgy direction.

“We did Civil War. We had our two most popular characters get into a very serious theological and physical altercation,” Feige said. “We killed half of our characters at the end of a movie [Avengers: Infinity War]. I think it’s fun for us to take our success and use it to take risks and go in different places.”

The Marvel Studios president maintained that when it comes to film, opinions can greatly vary. “Everybody has a different definition of cinema. Everybody has a different definition of art. Everybody has a different definition of risk,” Feige explained. “Some people don’t think it’s cinema. Everybody is entitled to their opinion. Everyone is entitled to repeat that opinion. Everyone is entitled to write op-eds about that opinion, and I look forward to what will happen next. But in the meantime, we’re going to keep making movies.”

In the works

For now, Feige is looking ahead to the studio’s projects that are currently in production and are, in his opinion, of the riskier ilk. The upcoming Disney+ show WandaVision that stars Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany seems to meet the criteria.

“It is unlike anything we’ve done before. It’s unlike anything this genre has done before,” Feige of WandaVision. “And yes, if you are turned off by the notion of a human having extra abilities, and that means everything in which that happens is lumped into the same category, then they might not be for you. But the truth is, these are all — like all great science-fiction stories — parables.”

Additionally, Feige is developing shows based around Ms. Marvel, who is the studio’s first Muslim hero, as well as She-Hulk and Moon Knight, according to the Hollywood Reporter. He also noted the upcoming superhero move The Eternals, featuring Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, and Kit Harrington, that is designed to kick off MCU’s Phase 4.

“It is a very big movie. It is a very expensive movie. And we are making it because we believe in [Chloé Zhao’s] vision and we believe in what those characters can do and we believe we need to continue to grow and evolve and change and push our genre forward,” Feige said. “That’s a risk if I’ve ever heard one.”

Regardless of the negative comments made by Scorsese, Coppola, or anyone else, there is little doubt that Marvel films will continue to see big box office bucks.