Martin Scorsese may be one of the world’s greatest directors and a human film encyclopedia, but his definition of “cinema” doesn’t include the most popular movies on Earth.
In a recent interview in Empire, the Oscar-winning legend said of Marvel Cinematic Universe films, “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.”
Scorsese’s comments caused a ripple of outrage on Twitter, with some MCU fans calling the director of “Kundun,” “After Hours,” “New York, New York,” “Silence,” “The Aviator” and “The Last Waltz” a one-genre filmmaker, apparently because several of his movies (including the upcoming “The Irishman”) have involved the mob. Others used humor as rejoinders, needling him for appearing as an animated-fish version of himself in “Shark Tale”:
There were cooler-headed responses from filmmakers such as Leigh Whannell (“Saw,” “Upgrade”).
I worship Martin Scorsese. Also, some of the Marvel films fill me with the same action movie bliss I got watching 'RoboCop' as a kid. Also, I wrote a film about an evil ventriloquist puppet who ripped out people's tongues so I have no business commenting on anyone else's films.— Leigh Whannell (@LWhannell) October 5, 2019
And then there were responses from some involved in the MCU. James Gunn (“Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2") tweeted somewhat wistfully:
That said, I will always love Scorsese, be grateful for his contribution to cinema, and can’t wait to see The Irishman.— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) October 4, 2019
“Marvel’s The Avengers” and “Avengers: Age of Ultron” writer-director Joss Whedon evoked a line he wrote for “The Hulk”:
“It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.”— Joss Whedon (@joss) October 4, 2019
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”. https://t.co/Wh3ptU2KBp
Nick Fury himself, Samuel L. Jackson, was asked about the comments while attending the opening of Tyler Perry’s new studio in Atlanta. He said, “That’s like saying, ‘Bugs Bunny ain’t funny.’ ” He added, “Everybody’s got an opinion, so it’s OK. It’s not going to stop anyone from making movies.”