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.