Martin Scorsese Marvel
Martin Scorsese Marvel

Legendary director Martin Scorsese has doubled down on his criticism of Marvel movies, just when the debate over his initial comments appeared to be fading.

Scorsese sat on a panel discussing the future of cinema for the closing night screening of his latest feature, The Irishman, at the British Film Institute’s London Film Festival. He repeated a previous statement comparing Marvel movies to theme parks and went on to say that theaters shouldn’t be invaded by such films. “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,” he said. “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.”

Scorsese’s comments at the event echo his previous comments about the success of Marvel films. “I don’t see them. I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema,” he said. “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 notable that each time Scorsese comments on the subject, he loses more nuance. Fundamentally, whether or not he’s entirely accurate in his assessment of Marvel movies or entirely off the mark, as Kevin Smith argues, it would be more surprising if the famed auteur was an Avengers fan. He’s more than knowledgeable enough to know what he’d like, and, to his credit, he tried to get on board with the genre. He shouldn’t be criticized for having differing tastes.

Several actors and filmmakers connected to Marvel Studios responded to Scorsese’s comments, including Samuel L. Jackson, who plays Marvel’s Nick Fury. “That’s kind of like saying Bugs Bunny ain’t funny,” Jackson said. “Films are films. You know, everybody doesn’t like his stuff either. I mean, we happen to, but everybody doesn’t. There are a lot of Italian-Americans that don’t think he should be making films about them like that. Everybody’s got an opinion, so it’s okay. It’s not going to stop anyone from making movies.”

What do you think of Scorsese’s latest comments about Marvel movies? Let us know in the comments.

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