Noted cinephile and acclaimed director Martin Scorsese doesn’t consider Marvel movies “cinema.”
In an interview with Empire, the beloved filmmaker was asked for his opinions about the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While he said he doesn’t personally like the movies, he refrained from wholly slamming them. Instead, Scorsese simply said he thinks comic book movies should be categorized as something other than traditional “cinema.” He suggested they’re more like “theme parks” because they don’t have the “emotional, psychological experiences” reserved for real cinematic endeavors.
“I don’t see them,” commented Scorsese. “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.” (Editor’s Note: Tell that to the tears I shed when Old Cap handed Sam the shield.)
Update: James Gunn, director of the Guardians of the Galaxy series and the upcoming The Suicide Squad, has responded in defense of the genre, saying he was “saddened” by Scorsese’s opinion.
Update – October 14th: During a panel for The Irishman, Scorsese doubled down on his comments, calling on theater owners to “step up” so we aren’t “invaded by” superhero blockbusters instead of narrative films.
The type of films he thinks are worthy of being called cinematic masterpieces are probably more in line with The Irishman, his upcoming crime drama starring de-aged Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, and Joe Pesci. Then again, his movie won’t get a wide theatrical release, while Avengers: Endgame is the highest-grossing movie of all time. So while there may be an argument to be made about the value of cinema versus cinematic thrill rides, it’s hard to deny the appeal of the latter.