When I first heard the comment made by Martin Scorsese it was hard to not let my mind immediately think marketing tactic. His friend, Todd Philips, just made a controversial comic book film, JOKER, which is unlike many of the superhero genre films of today. So, to me it made sense for him to say something like this to help bolster ticket sales of a movie, that in my opinion, was unnecessary.
No longer are the more intimate and personal films being backed or made like they used to be. Its about large Tent-pole films that can lead to overarching franchises.
Since Scorsese’s comment other notable filmmakers have decided to throw their two cents in and take a jab at one of the most profitable film franchises to ever exist. I can only assume its due to some sort of bitterness with how the landscape of cinema has changed over the years.
Why is this? It’s simple, money talks
If you haven’t seen or heard the quotes, see below.
“I don’t see them. I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema,” Scorsese said. “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
A few days later Francis Ford Coppola came out in support of his fellow filmmaker and said this.
“When Martin Scorsese says that the Marvel pictures are not cinema, he’s right because we expect to learn something from cinema, we expect to gain something, some enlightenment, some knowledge, some inspiration…I don’t know that anyone gets anything out of seeing the same movie over and over again. Martin was kind when he said it’s not cinema. He didn’t say it’s despicable, which I just say it is.”– Coppola
British director Ken Loach also chimed in.
‘I find them (Marvel films) boring. They’re made as commodities … like hamburgers … It’s about making a commodity which will make profit for a big corporation – they’re a cynical exercise.’-Loach
Whether you agree with them or not we have to be honest here. The cinematic experience is not simply about gaining enlightenment or inspiration from film. In today’s world, even back in the time of the Nickelodeons and silent films, movies were an escape from reality.
This isn’t to say films cannot be, or are not, inspirational. But when you get down to it most people go to the theater, buy that blu-ray or stream a movie for one reason. To take a few hours break from the world.
The notion by these men that these “Marvel” films are not cinema is just absurd. Where would film making be if not for one of the first big Tent-pole blockbusters in 1977’s Star Wars? That film pushed Cinema to where it is now and changed the landscape of cinema forever. Would Coppola say this to his friend George Lucas?
What irks me the most is that out of these three men only one has done anything worth recognition recently. Martin Scorsese. Every few years he finds himself releasing a film that does well. But the lack of financial success with some of his films isn’t all his fault, nor the fault of the cinematic experience. Rather it’s what the movie goers want.
Hes actually has begun moving in the right direction with his newest film, The Irishman, and made a deal with Netflix to release it. He understands the scope of cinema has changed and there are other avenues in which the more character driven personal films can live on.
The fact that Coppola and Loach threw in their own views is completely irrelevant and as I said earlier…. Absurd.
Marvel movies are not despicable and they aren’t simple commodities. If you really think about it Scorsese was right when comparing to theme parks. Marvel films, or films like them, should be fun and entertaining like theme parks. Otherwise your escape from reality would be pretty bland.