Recently, Martin Scorsese made a few remarks about Marvel movies that did not sit well with the comic book community, both within Hollywood and among fans. Comparing the MCU to theme park rides, Scorsese dismissed the notion that the franchise produces actual cinematic content. Despite meeting with a strong backlash for his remarks, Scorsese stands by his beliefs, elaborating on his earlier comments at the British Film Institutet's London Film Festival for the closing night screening of his latest film, The Irishman.
"The value of a film that's like a theme park film, for example, the Marvel type pictures where the theaters become amusement parks, that's a different experience. As I was saying earlier, it's not cinema, it's something else. Whether you go for that or not, it is something else and we shouldn't be invaded by it. And so that's a big issue, and we need the theater owners to step up for that to allow theaters to show films that are narrative films."
The statement is only going to further infuriate the masses of MCU fans who have been boiling over with indignation ever since Scorsese issued his original remarks about the MCU formula. One has to wonder what exactly Scorsese thinks is preventing Marvel movies from being true cinema? Not enough tracking shots? Not enough stories about morally repugnant protagonists working for the mob before eventually meeting a sticky end? Or is this the old 'Superheroes are for children and thus unworthy of serious adult consideration' argument?
In a lot of ways, Scorsese's Marvel remarks are the final frontier that comic book movies need to breach to achieve that mythical 'mainstream acceptability'. For the longest time, superhero films were considered b-movies at best, useful for studios to earn millions off of die-hard fans through theater tickets and merchandise sale, but not something the 'auteurs' of cinema ever wasted time on.
But with the advent of films like The Dark Knight, Logan, and, Joker, superhero films are increasingly demanding a place at the grown-ups table in film criticism circles. Naturally, the old guard that was tasked with raising the bar of Hollywood cinema in the '70s with gritty, realistic takes on ordinary life, of which Scorsese may very well be called the vanguard, is going to have a problem giving credence to the idea that you can make an intellectually stimulating and aesthetically boundary-pushing piece of cinema about a guy getting spider-powers from a radioactive spider-bite and swinging around the city wearing red and blue lycra battling a guy with six metal tentacle arms.
No matter what Scorsese feels personally, superhero films are too big now to be affected by his perception of them. Theater owners buy films with a desire to make money rather than out of a love for cinema. It is a tall order to expect them to suffer a loss so film's that adhere to Scorsese's personal definition of cinema flourish. In any case, the future of small, non-flashy characters study type of movies is on streaming platforms, not theaters, as proven by the success of The Irishman, produced by Netflix. There is no reason why every type of content, 'filmy-worthy' or not, cannot flourish and find an audience today. This news comes from ComicBook.com.