Martin Scorsese says the Marvel movies are “not cinema”

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

marvel, scorsese, ciname

This year’s AVENGERS: ENDGAME broke almost every box office record under the sun, with seemingly everyone and their mothers heading out to the theaters opening weekend. However, one of those people who didn’t go to see the Marvel gargantuan – perhaps opting to stay home and doing anything else – is director Martin Scorsese. The iconic filmmaker was recently asked if had seen any of the films from Marvel, but said they’re more on par with roller coasters than films that can truly be called “cinema”.


 “I don’t see them. I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema,” Scorsese told Empire while on the press tour for his new movie, THE IRISHMAN (via The Guardian). “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.”

This reflects what Scorsese said back in 2016 while promoting SILENCE about not really watching many of the new movies that hit theaters nowadays. “I must say a lot of the films that I’m aware of and I don’t see that many new ones over the past two or three years, I stopped because the images don’t mean anything,” he said.

ENDGAME ended its run at the box office as the highest-grossing movie of all time, making just a tad under $2.8 billion at the global box office. The movie was also been praised by critics, and Disney has now launched its official Oscar campaign for it (a campaign currently lacking one Robert Downey Jr.). Scorsese is also experiencing some of the best reviews he has in years, with THE IRISHMAN getting rave reviews and shooting to the frontrunners section of the Oscar race, with nominations likely in the acting, directing and Best Picture categories.


Scorsese is hardly the first filmmaker to say he's not all that interested in comic book movies, or that they perhaps shouldn't be considered great alongside true cinema classics. Ethan Hawke shared similar views last year when talking about LOGAN, saying, "I went to see ‘Logan’ ‘cause everyone was like, ‘This is a great movie’ and I was like, ‘Really? No, this is a fine superhero movie.’ There’s a difference, but big business doesn’t think there’s a difference. Big business wants you to think that this is a great film because they wanna make money off of it.” 

Hawke did clarify his comments with Collider, though, saying "I'm a comic book geek; I've seen all those…the idea that I'm the one criticizing them is a joke." He continued, "I was talking about a much more nuanced point about money in America and what our obsession with the accumulation of wealth is."

Scorsese is, like anyone, entitled to their own opinion about movies and anything else, and I don't think he's trashing on comic book flicks. But the very best comic book movies do all the same things to viewers around the world as some of the classics have no doubt done to Scorsese — namely, inspire, excite, and maybe even bring to tears. "Cinema" has become such a specific, virtually elitist word to describe a certain type of movie, and it can't help but seem a little arrogant. At the end of the day, movies are movies, and in throwing around phrases like "cinema" you can't help but seem like you're kicking down movies you don't think rise to a certain quality. Soon, you start to lose sight of the fact there is a massive world of movies out there, and they can all connect with people on a multitude of levels, which is what makes them so undeniably special. 

THE IRISHMAN is in theaters November 1 and then on Netflix November 27. 

Source: The Guardian

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