Martin Scorsese Pens NY Times Op-Ed Defending Criticisms of Marvel Movies and Franchise Films
Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto / Getty Images for RFF
There’s been just way too much news in the past month, but one of the biggest pop culture stories has been iconic director Martin Scorsese’s criticisms of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, the backlash he’s gotten as a result, the overall discourse about the state of cinema and the dominance of the superhero genre, et cetera.
To recap, these were Scorsese’s initial comments to Empire Magazine in early October in talking about the Marvel movie franchise:
“I don’t see them. I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema. 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.”
Scorsese’s comments set off a whirlwind of debate — Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn expressed disappointment at his take , while Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola defended Scorsese’s take .
Scorsese, of course, is back in the spotlight with his acclaimed new film The Irishman . But yesterday he penned an op-ed for The New York Times to elaborate on his criticisms of both the Marvel movies and the state of the industry.
“Many franchise films are made by people of considerable talent and artistry. You can see it on the screen. The fact that the films themselves don’t interest me is a matter of personal taste and temperament,” he writes.
Scorsese talks about his growing appreciation for the art that goes into filmmaking and “enlarging the sense of what was possible”:
Many of the elements that define cinema as I know it are there in Marvel pictures. 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.
They are sequels in name but they are remakes in spirit, and everything in them is officially sanctioned because it can’t really be any other way. That’s the nature of modern film franchises: market-researched, audience-tested, vetted, modified, revetted and remodified until they’re ready for consumption.
Scorsese’s issue with franchise films — not limited to the MCU — is: “In many places around this country and around the world, franchise films are now your primary choice if you want to see something on the big screen. It’s a perilous time in film exhibition, and there are fewer independent theaters than ever.”
You can read the full op-ed here .