October 4, 2019

James Gunn, Joss Whedon React to Scorsese's Marvel Comments

The directors of Guardians of the Galaxy and The Avengers take on Martin Scorsese and his view that Marvel movies aren't cinema. This outta be good.

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: Marvel

Whether 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.     

Your Comment

17 Comments

Scorsese is right. I’m not denying that people don’t Iove Marvel movies. And the craftsmanship required to create the VFX is off the charts - but - they aren’t cinema. No need to cry about it, Whedon - just count your millions.

October 4, 2019 at 9:45PM

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"No need to cry about it, Whedon"

Well to that point we could also say "No need to stir shit up Scorsese"

Marvel films are just a part of the vast landscape that is cinema. There's no need to get elitist about it. No one is claiming Marvel films are art house films or auteur films. Just because Scorsese doesn't care for or connect with the movies doesn't make them 'not cinema'.

This whole thing is so dumb.

October 8, 2019 at 2:32PM

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Alex Everingham
Video Editor
696

Scorcese isRIGHT!!!!
And you Phil Pirrelo are just a silly ass woke-tard who has no business talking movies. F!ck you for your Joker review.

October 4, 2019 at 11:53PM

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Vincent Gortho
none
1019

I signed in just to down-vote this comment.

October 5, 2019 at 2:26AM

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geoff webb
Director, Producer, DOP, Editor
285

You havent done it yet. Do it

October 5, 2019 at 4:49AM

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Vincent Gortho
none
1019

I logged in just to like this comment! However it doesn't seem to work... I understand, it's that kind of shit (among non filmmakers writing articles about filmmaking) that have turned NFS into a joke...

October 5, 2019 at 9:42AM

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Pol
205

I kind of agree with Scorsese to a point. What's funny is I am most looking forward to seeing Joker tomorrow because it's NOT a super hero movie. It's a tired genre that's been bled dry and proven to be undeniably formulaic. Of course they are not all the same but for the most part, it's fandom eye candy and not much else. Just watched the newest Spiderman the other night and it was unbearably bad. Just an "insert villian here, save people blah blah blah." When you're a director as big as Scorsese and see that nearly all studio films are now these flat formulaic super hero movies you'd probably be pretty upset about it too. I know I for one, as a filmmaker (who was never into comics) am just waiting for this phase to die out.

October 5, 2019 at 2:34AM, Edited October 5, 2:34AM

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Stephen Herron
Writer/Director
1880

He's right.

October 5, 2019 at 4:57AM

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Adam Fletcher
Producer/Director
192

What a BS nothing story looking for offence....all from when Scorcese simply expressed an 'opinion'...... that is hardly even controversial

Are we seriously going to prioritise politeness and hurt feelings over all else.... and at the expense of something as simple and as subjective as an 'individual opinion'?

FFS When are we sending Marty to pedophile island with all the others we don't agree with and would like to just 'go away'.

Gunn's response is mental, he compares the situation to Last Temptation (a completely DIFFERENT issue) then says it's not the same......so why make the comparison in the first place ya defensive/distractive wanker?

I think folks are just going to have to accept that some other folks simply think the Marvel films are un-inspired despite having the best talent and the most money available to them.

October 5, 2019 at 6:00AM

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"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."

You're saying, you can't get 'their', meaning the characters, dynamic anywhere else... You are seriously writing that you CAN NOT get the 'lofty' level of character dynamic that you get in Marvel movies??? Have you seen other films???

And - not being able to get the performaces, which I assume you mean by the actors (not the characters), anywhere else. Well... I guess the performance of Joaquin in Joker pales in comparison to 15 hours of Johansson's face without a single expression.

NFS - Why is a guy who can barely string sentences together, writing fan-boy trash and crazy opinion pieces on here? I once thought this site was a decent resource! What a joke it's become.

October 5, 2019 at 10:35AM

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I mean... theme parks make a lot of money, too.

I agree with Scorsese. There’s a place for Marvel films, but they don’t replace good, solid cinema.

October 5, 2019 at 11:55AM

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Marty Marty Marty...All you had to say was that If your movie follows on to pimp action hero figurines in Happy Meals...It's not a Cinematic work.. On the other hand, an unboxed pristine conditioned Iron Man could fetch a pretty penny in a decade or so, and that would make it an irrefutable "classic" .

October 5, 2019 at 2:05PM

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Mike Reps
I do all kindsa stuff
70

This is absurd. Movies are cinema. Marvel films may just be bad cinema to some people. But it's still cinema. This reminds me of when people say "That isn't REAL hip-hop, or that's NOT rap". No, it's still hip-hop, just not the kind you like.

October 5, 2019 at 3:26PM

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Scorsese is right. And the Marvel criticism applies to almost everything that "Hollywood" produces nowadays.

October 6, 2019 at 2:27AM

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Ludicrous
1366

Asking how a marvel film is, is a lot like asking me how a quarter pounder was that i ate from McDonald's last week.
"Really? Who gives a shit."

October 6, 2019 at 8:08PM

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Vincent Gortho
none
1019

Another low level opinion article from Phil?

Is there an ability to downvote articles, NoFilmSchool?

October 7, 2019 at 10:41AM

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He's (Scorsese) entitled to his opinion. I think I'll go watch Boxcar Bertha again.

October 7, 2019 at 7:00PM

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Marc Strong
Producer
201