Well, that didn't take long. Also, this isn't going away. Not anytime soon.
After Martin Scorsese's opinions about Marvel Studios' films became public, where he compared them to "theme parks" and said they are not cinema, two of Marvel's most high-profile directors took to Twitter to challenge the Goodfellas director's judgments.
James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy, Vols. 1 and 2), praised one of Scorsese's most infamous (and controversial) films in his valid (and classy) criticism of Scorsese's comments:
Gunn went on to say: "That said, I will always love Scorsese, be grateful for his contribution to cinema, and can’t wait to see The Irishman. And I’m not saying religious zealotry is the same as not liking my movies, or in the same category. What I’m saying is I’m not fond of people judging things without actually seeing them, whether it’s a movie about Jesus or a genre."
Joss Whedon quoted his own script, and The Avengers' Bruce Banner, in his tweet:
“It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.” I first think of @JamesGunn, how his heart & guts are packed into GOTG. I revere Marty, & I do see his point, but... Well there’s a reason why 'I’m always angry.'"
Peter Ramsey, the co-director of 2018's Oscar-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, also chimed in -- very succinctly -- with: "Martin Scorsese is a god. Marvel movies are fun and good. Chill."
Credit: MarvelWhether it is on Film Twitter or not, for a director as revered and learned as Scorsese to judge the majority of a studio's output that he hasn't seen as not being of value to the medium he and those he is critiquing have dedicated their careers to is... it's not a good look. At best.
Just because the Marvel movies do not tackle the same subjects like Goodfellas or Mean Streets with the same type of style and approach does not disqualify them from being "cinema" -- which is such a pretentious word on its own, outside of this pretentious argument. Marvel movies, despite their spectacle, are driven by characters. There are emotional stakes. Even though they make billions of dollars and sell backpacks and bumper stickers and toys, they are about something.
Take away all the kick-punching, the impressive set-pieces, and the reason why the MCU is so successful, the reason why this debate is even happening -- why we keep coming back to Marvel movies -- is because of the characters. You can't get their dynamic or these performances anywhere else.
Audiences are invested for the long haul of three Phases and over 20 movies because of the likes of Nat, Tony, Rhodey, Steve, and Groot. Every conflict they face or victory they earn feels like one of our own. Because Marvel makes audiences care about their heroes; there is a certain level of investment there that goes beyond whether or not, visually, the movies have theme park-friendly components.
You'd hope a veteran like Scorsese would appreciate that. And just because he seems not to, that doesn't mean you shouldn't.