The Raging War Between Martin Scorsese and Marvel Movies

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Gavin Clingham, Staff Writer

In an interview for Martin Scorsese’s latest film, The Irishman (which is now on Netflix and I would highly recommend), he was asked about his opinion on Marvel movies. He responded by saying, “I don’t see them. I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema. 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.” This single comment invited the rage of Marvel enthusiasts, superhero filmmakers, and thousands of Twitter trolls. 

It started with James Gunn, director of Guardians of the Galaxy and Super), was hurt by the comment. Other people who spoke out about it were Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury in The Avengers), Taika Watiti (director of Thor: Ragnarok), Robert Downey Jr (Iron Man in The Avengers), the directors of Avengers: Endgame, and the president of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige. It was no longer Martin Scorsese hating Marvel movies. It was now turning into Martin Scorsese scolding the filmmakers that create the movies. 

And it wasn’t just these celebrities who spoke out. Several people on Twitter went wild over it. Several articles came out about it, and it became a main question for interviews. People all over were wondering, “How could he say this about Marvel movies?” With their popularity and widespread fanbase, it’s understandable why Scorsese would be attacked like this. Several people were quick to mercilessly criticize him before he got the chance to speak.

Now, I’m about to say something that might turn you against me. In some regard, I agree with Scorsese. Now before I get immediate backlash, I’d just like to explain. He actually wrote an explanation article for The New York Times that perfectly defends his case ( I don’t agree with him just because I’m a cinephile and a fan of his movies. With a similar case, when Steven Spielberg was criticized for allegedly saying he didn’t like Netflix, I defended him with a speech for an assignment. I find that I really do like Marvel movies. They’re fun and action-packed and they have everything the general audience wants. However, they’re doing some damage to theaters. In a way, it’s like the habit of throwing your empty coffee cup on the floor. It’s easy to do, but it’ll cause major damage over time. With the millions of people going to see Marvel movies, they’ve done damage to the movie industry. Right now, Marvel movies are so big that they’re sending independent theaters out of business and convincing studios that we don’t want anything but these movies. Many movies are being shut out of theatrical releases and sheltered by Netflix. This may not seem like a bad thing, but Netflix movies tend to be rushed and Netflix plops them onto the service as soon as possible. Scorsese was a victim of this. He tried to sell his film The Irishman to movie studios, but because the cost was too high, the studio didn’t think it could turn a profit. Therefore, Netflix had to come in and take the film. When I think about being a man who has the tools to make a masterpiece and no studio is willing to pay for the tools, I realize that I would be furious and would take my anger out on what caused it. 

Throughout the month of October, Scorsese continued to stand by his statement. Eventually, things started to get out of control. There was, of course, the outrage on the Internet and several weekly articles describing how he’s just the “old man yelling at a cloud.” It was not only causing people to hate the man himself; people were now hating his movies because of this. It’s here where I drew a line. I think it’s unfair to judge a man’s movie by his opinion. He may not like Marvel movies, but that doesn’t mean we should say Goodfellas is the worst film ever made (that was hard to type). Still though, he continued to receive backlash. Then, legendary director Francis Ford Coppola (director of The Godfather) came to his defense. Instead of making arguments for how Scorsese shouldn’t be criticized like this, he said that Marvel films are despicable. He even went above and beyond in criticizing every aspect. It was like reading a review for a bad restaurant; absolutely brutal. 

In the end, an opinion is an opinion. And we’re all allowed to have them. For example, my friend hates Inside Out, and I know some people who absolutely hate Star Wars: The Last Jedi and some people who love it. And my grandparents like Donald Trump. These people may not have commonly agreeable opinions, but they’re not treated like monsters. But this really is the case for Scorsese. It’s kind of like music. I and many other people in the world don’t consider rap real music, but we’re not getting backlash or tweets about how we’re inconsiderate monsters. It’s just his opinion.