Hollywood keeps churning out superhero movies, which means tons of people happily pay money to see that slop. I’ve never understood how anyone over the age of twelve could find “The Avengers” interesting. Nor can I find any of these people: everyone I know agrees that Marvel movies are essentially for children and have no artistic or cultural value at all. They’re about as silly as, if not sillier than, the beach party movies from the ‘60s—but at least those were made on a shoestring budget, appealed only to kids, and never featured at the Academy Awards.
Anyway, it’s nice to know that my views are shared by one of cinema’s most hallowed artists. In a recent interview with Empire Magazine, Martin Scorsese was asked whether he was a fan of the Marvel series.
“I tried, you know?” the Goodfellas director said. “But that’s not cinema.”
He went on to liken them to theme parks:
“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 is predictably taking a lot of flak from the comic book club. Expressing opinions these days, even when asked to do so, is a surefire way to land yourself in hot water. Fortunately Scorsese is old enough not to care.
While many are angry at his comments, one Marvel director is “saddened” by them. James Gunn, who directed “Guardians of the Galaxy,” expressed his displeasure via Twitter:
“Martin Scorsese is one of my 5 favorite living filmmakers. I was outraged when people picketed The Last Temptation of Christ without having seen the film. I’m saddened that he’s now judging my films in the same way. That said, I will always love Scorsese, be grateful for his contribution to cinema, and can’t wait to see The Irishman.”
Scorsese isn’t the only prominent Hollywood figure to speak frankly about the merits of the Marvel franchise. Last year Ethan Hawke made a distinction between great films and great superhero films which he said belong in a separate category.
“Now we have the problem that they tell us ‘Logan’ is a great movie,” Hawke said. “Well, it’s a great superhero movie. It still involves people in tights with metal coming out of their hands. It’s not Bresson. It’s not Bergman. But they talk about it like it is. 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.”
If you’re in the mood for a great film, give Taxi Driver a try. Or Goodfellas. Or Raging Bull. Or The Departed. Or, if early reviews are any indication, The Irishman