October 14, 2019

Scorsese Won't Stop Attacking Marvel Movies

Scorsese Vs. Marvel
The Irishman director won't stop going after the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

We're not sure at this point if some projection is going on or what with Scorsese's continued attack on Marvel. The sticking point is if their movies are considered worthy of (the somewhat amorphous) label of "cinema." Scorsese and Netflix failed to secure The Irishman a wide release in multiplexes, whereas the MCU has no problem doing that. Could that be the source of the anger? It's arguable that there is less blame on Marvel for that, and more on disruptor Netflix and their "have-our-cake-and-eat-it, too" approach to wanting the theatrical experience on their terms -- i.e., streaming for their subscribers as close to day-and-date theatrical release as possible.

Even if that isn't motivating this, and we have no idea what is, Scorsese has not backed away from his earlier comments about Marvel, instead he has doubled down. 

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Scorsese -- alongside Irishman stars Robert De Niro and Al Pacino -- added more fuel to his Marvel comments at a recent press conference for his new film. 

“It’s not cinema, it’s something else,” Scorsese said. “We shouldn’t be invaded by it. We need cinemas to step up and show films that are narrative films.” 

Scorsese also repeated his belief that Marvel movies are like "theme parks." 

Theaters have become amusement parks. That is all fine and good, but don’t invade everything else in that sense. That is fine and good for those who enjoy that type of film and, by the way, knowing what goes into them now, I admire what they do. It’s not my kind of thing, it simply is not. It’s creating another kind of audience that thinks cinema is that.

It's important to note that Scorsese continues to make it clear that he has admiration for what Marvel does. While at the same time, hard not to see a little bit of the old guard being frustrated with the way things are changing. 

Like it or not, Marvel movies dominate the box office and the theatrical experience. They do not set out to achieve the same things that Scorsese's brand does. And that should be ok.

The question becomes what do we think of throwing other filmmakers 'under the bus' so to speak? Are Scorsese's comments about admiring what Marvel does purely lip service? 

On the most obvious level, Marvel and DC, Star Wars or Star Trek -- any franchise or tentpole film is one driven by and designed according to a narrative structure for a visual medium. That's what cinema is... right? Is there any kind of consensus on what the word cinema or cinematic really means? 

There is room in the marketplace for both Martin Scorsese and Marvel to thrive. At least one would hope. 

The Irishman opens in limited release, in select theaters, November 1.      

Your Comment

34 Comments

You alright, mate? Remember to breathe, yeah?

October 14, 2019 at 2:23PM

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Why is this a big deal? Did anybody actually expect Marty to think Thor was good filmmaking to the point that they're shocked/disappointed that he has the opinion he does? I mean, they're palpable and inoffensive for the most part, but they aren't challenging in any way.

I don't understand the need to defend them on this ground that "They're art too!" The mascot on your favorite box of cereal is art. A Cliff Stills painting is art. But it'd be pretty dumb to say the Honey Smacks frog is part of a cultural dialogue.

October 14, 2019 at 3:53PM

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King H
73

The writer, Phil, only posts opinion articles for views. He never has anything meaningful to say anyway.

October 14, 2019 at 4:05PM, Edited October 14, 4:08PM

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honestly, when I read this, "considered worthy of (the pretentious) label of 'cinema,'" I was out. You're a (bad) writer for nofilmschool.com, cinema isn't pretentious, you're just a hurt fanboy.

October 15, 2019 at 5:14PM

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I click on the article, halfway through I feel like I’ve read this terrible whiny writing before, check the name and.... yup, still not fired.

October 14, 2019 at 4:11PM

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Richard
188

Yikes... triggered editorial. The headline says it all.

A few alternative headlines:
"Master of cinema has measured critique of superhero blockbuster over-saturation."
"One of the best living directors calls for de-escalation of rampant fandom dominated box office."
"Martin Scorsese -- you know, the guy that made an indelible mark on the art form known as cinema -- calls out corporate Mickey Mouse Hollywood blockbusters for what they are: popcorn thrill rides. Fandom has collective aneurysm."

The funny thing is that Scorsese STILL gives respect to the immense talents involved in bringing such products to life and STILL attracts the wrath of countless MCU die-hard adults that can't reconcile the characters/worlds/stories they've grown up on as adolescents is actually, in fact, intended for adolescents. It's so damn sad. It's like those mates that can't let go of the fact pro-wrestling isn't actually wrestling, but highly monetized theatrics that BOOM and WOW a rampant audience that enjoys bombastic thrills with larger-than-life characters. There's absolutely no shame in that... as long as you can call it what it is without throwing an e-tantrum.

We've had enough cinematic pizza and burgers -- serve us up something else now, please.

October 14, 2019 at 4:18PM, Edited October 14, 5:15PM

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Braden
402

Thank you! I really don't see why people are making this into such a big deal...

October 14, 2019 at 6:46PM

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Oliver Milne
Director/Cinematographer
167

Exactly -- it's not a big deal whatsoever. Actually, it's not 'a deal' at all. It's nothing. A non-issue.

If living in this day and age has taught me anything, it's that sharing a personal, dissenting opinion near a vocal minority will most certainly result in an overblown outcry of infantile proportions.

Why, just the other day someone made mention of their distaste for donair kebabs around me and my Donair Enthusiasts of Canada associates, local West Coast Chapter 231. Suffice it to say the man paid with his life for expressing his blasphemous views in our presence. But that's how the world works these days; conform or die.

**DEC, WCC231 for life**

October 14, 2019 at 11:42PM, Edited October 14, 11:44PM

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Braden
402

Well said.

October 14, 2019 at 8:16PM

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Joseph Moore
Creative Director
215

Opinions are like buttholes, everyone has one and most of them stink.
Except for Mr. Scorsese's. His opinion smells so fresh and so clean, clean.
Mr. Pirrello on the other hand, needs a good wiping.
Of course, that's just my own stink of an opinion and really, who cares?

October 14, 2019 at 4:18PM

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Taylor Morgan
Contract Filmmaker
31

I don't know what pathetic, your comment or this whole section.

October 15, 2019 at 1:33PM

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Jwalker
155

How is this chap still writing for NFS? Such an impressively shallow perspective.

October 14, 2019 at 4:49PM

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Luke Covert
Director/Editor
262

God, what idiot is letting this philistine continue to write for NFS?
Martin Scorsese never "attacked" Marvel movies. He says they aren't true cinema which is completely true. This whole situation is so incredibly immature and naive.

I love Taco Bell, Taco Bell is freaking delicious...but Taco Bell is not fine dining and any person who considers it fine dining needs to get their head checked. Taco Bell is food, but not fine dining. In the same way that Marvel movies are movies, but not true cinema.

October 14, 2019 at 5:07PM, Edited October 14, 5:13PM

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Sam Mizrahi-Powell
Writer / Director
252

HOW DARE YOU SAY SUCH THINGS ABOUT TACO BELL.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to rant about your inexcusable comments on my blog.

October 14, 2019 at 11:03PM

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Rob Hardy
Founder of Filmmaker Freedom
5332

That was quite the hissy fit. Big Marvel fan I take it?

October 14, 2019 at 6:09PM

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I hate comic book films "Mostly" i'm with Scorsese.

October 14, 2019 at 7:27PM

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I can't believe I'm actually falling for this, but what the hell...

Getting incredibly defensive about Martin Scorsese not wanting to lavish praise on great film moments like "Chris Pratt turns into a CGI Pac-Man while fighting his planet Dad" is such thin-skinned defensiveness that it practically raises it to the level of art form.

I enjoy Marvel movies, most of the time, I also have what amounts to basic human perspective and realise that absolutely all my own tastes do not need to be rubber stamped by other artists I like in order to feel validated.

I don't want Martin Scorsese to feel like he has to bend the knee to a multi-billion dollar franchise that will no doubt still be cranking out blockbusters long after the 76 year old will have left us. Why should he? He's giving his opinion, it's actually more annoying that he was even asked.

He has after all, got a point, the MCU is almost a breed apart, and that isn't to denigrate it. The only way to guarantee a box office hit now is to have Marvel Studios sit in front of the opening credits, they share much of the same DNA as long running episodic television and yes theme park rides too, they are near ubiquitous, they ARE different.

It is possible to take genuine criticism of something you enjoy and see it for what it is, a worthwhile contribution to the conversation. Screw all this "oh I respect my fellow film making brethren and of course I'd love to do an MCU movie" crap, he doesn't like them, he's given his reasons and they're perfectly valid ones.

Take this Screen Junkies "Movie fights" nonsense, roll it up in a "I survived the snap!" T-Shirt and hurl it off a cliff. Scorsese isn't going to stop one frame of an MCU movie being shot/created and I doubt he'd even want to, he's showed more deference to the studio that brought you Dr Strange than you have shown to the man that gave us Mean Streets.

This weekend a film (ironically a comic book movie) that lifts wholesale from Taxi Driver and King of Comedy is on top of the box office for the second week running, most filmmakers could only dream of a tiny fraction of that level of influence, to still be paid homage to over 40 years later.

This is a good website, but honestly articles like this make its name sound very accurate indeed.

October 14, 2019 at 8:08PM

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Publishing a Hissy fit? Phil don't get your Spiderman panties in a bunch and hear out one of the undisputed masters of cinema

October 14, 2019 at 8:09PM

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Damn Phil. It's starting to feel like you're on a mission to alienate filmmakers instead of help them. In a two week stretch, you've somehow driven several nails into the coffin of a once-reputable site. Enjoy your temporary spike in traffic. It won't last.

October 14, 2019 at 8:30PM

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Rob Hardy
Founder of Filmmaker Freedom
5332

Time to change your tampon, Phil.

October 14, 2019 at 10:06PM

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Cooper
107

Oh man.....it's this Pirrello guy again. :(

October 14, 2019 at 11:51PM

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Ian Mora
Writer, Director, Editor, Camera Operator
426

Did a fifteen year old wrote the article?

Saying your opinion on whether something is art (mostly meaning "good art") or not, is part of the reason of being an artist.

For those just doing it for the business "everything is art" (meaning any old crap they can sell).

For those concerned with cinema, some things are more worthy of the title than others.

And that's not "get off my lawn" (implying some senile old man).

Even a very young Scorsese was vocal about the movies he liked. Like tons of other young directors do. Sorry, classifying art works regarding to perceived quality or importance is not an age thing. Tons of young filmmakers are also vocal about which movies they consider commercial crap and which not.

God forbid, anybody insults the wisdom of Joe Average, and his "right" to watch Avenger movies. It's a free country, anybody can still watch whatever they like, and Scorsese (and many others) can still NOT consider it worthy.

When did "superhero in spandex" movies became the epitome of cinema, so much that people are not allowed to consider unworthy?

If some artist (e.g. Radiohead) called "Spice Girls" or "Boys 2 Men" or whatever, and "not music", would you also protest? Or Marvel movies get some special exemption from being criticized because they're popular? Milli Vanilli and Vanilla Ice were also popular...

October 15, 2019 at 10:58AM

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My God. The comment section is just pathetic. Bunch of self proclaim assholes with their heads up their asses. No wonder people can't take this website seriously. Because of people like you.

I'm never bothering with you people. I'm only going to take what I can get from the topics and that's it.

I'm leaving this shit show you people love to wallow in before I start to vomit.

Fuck you NFS commenters. You are useless.

October 15, 2019 at 1:40PM

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Jwalker
155

Why do we subjugate ourselves to this bottom-of-the-barrel opinion blogpost trash?

October 15, 2019 at 11:36AM

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What a stupid article.
Marvel is pure american propaganda. Nothing to do with cinema. And yes, it look more like a theme park attraction. You don't gain anything, it's just "fun".
Marvel manipulates people and keep them as dumb as possible by making films so simple that they look like being written by 5 years old kids with colorful crayons. Cinema should elevate people, at least a bit. And you can make entertainment cinema that's not completely dumb (Spielberg is a good exemple). So yes, Marvel's by fr the worst thing that ever happens to cinema. It's killing it.

October 15, 2019 at 1:10PM

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Vincent Galiano
Filmmaker / Screenwriter / Photographer
436

Oh, shut up.

People can like whatever they want. Take your whinny pretentious opinions someplace else.

October 15, 2019 at 1:36PM

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Jwalker
155

The majority of Marvel movies are Social Justice Liberal Warrior garbage made for the Chinese government who kills and takes the rights away from it's people like in Hong Kong which liberals love.

October 15, 2019 at 1:12PM

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You are a pathetic person.

October 15, 2019 at 1:34PM

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Jwalker
155

Meanwhile Kevin Smith defends Marvel Movies from Martin Scorsese

October 16, 2019 at 3:18AM

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laksmideva
Copywriter
88

Menarik jika membahas tentang MCU ini, karena pasti akan banyak perbedaan sudut pandang. Scorsese tentu punya "penglihatan" sendiri karena dia juga director, sah-sah saja menurut saya. Cuma memang semua memiliki pasar masing-masing, dan MCU untuk saat ini memang menguasai pasar IMHO

October 16, 2019 at 3:56AM

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I'm with you 100%, Marty
But what about cartoon movies like Toy Story, The Incredibles, etc. Aren't they 'cinema'?

October 16, 2019 at 10:40AM

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Lee Albright
Owner-Albright Films
243

It's spectacle vs. non-spectacle. Everything's tilted towards spectacle right now. It's not to say that it isn't cinema, but is more like an amusement park rather than exploring the human condition.

October 16, 2019 at 12:28PM

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A lot of that is down to advancements in home cinema.

A decent sized tv is within the price range for most people, then a subscription to Netflix is more than enough for a household, a lot of films don’t need to be on Huge screens, but massive blockbusters do benefit from it, hence the tilt towards big event pictures.

However a welcome development is TV is being arguably the biggest platform for auteurs now. The technology (And budgets allow for it.

There are other considerations, such as action doing better on the international market as opposed to comedy, which has to overcome more cultural barriers.

But ultimately I don’t think it’s all doom and gloom, you’ve never had more access to film and TV, and the quality is there in spades. Things are Not that bad y’know.

October 16, 2019 at 9:01PM

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Dear sir,
Scorsese, Al Pacino e Robert De Niro, are of Italian origin.
Not Irish!

October 19, 2019 at 1:03PM

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