Do you remember when Ricky Gervais was doing interviews about Special Correspondents and decided to lecture everyone about what comedy is? And then it turned out to be dreadful? Yeah, pretty awkward. Well, this week director Martin Scorsese has decided to use an interview discussing the release of his film The Irishman to deride comic book movies. Actually, he didn’t even do that. He simply dismissed them. In an interview with Empire magazine, Scorsese told them he didn’t bother watching Marvel movies: “I don’t see them. I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema”. Now, of course, Scorsese is in a much stronger position than Gervais was to tell people what’s what but that’s not to say he deserves the final say on what is and isn’t cinema. After all, what is cinema? According to Google, “the production of films as an art or industry.” The MCU sounds like it’s the exact definition of cinema.
This is the kind of nonsense that pretentious cinephiles always like to come out with every time a Marvel film makes huge waves at the box office. There’s something about a film that manages to please audiences, make a lot of money, and be a lot of fun that really upsets a certain type of person. You’ll so often see those indie types desperate to tell the world that they are above such things. Like the thousands of people who, at the start of every new season of Game of Thrones, would tweet something like “am I the only one who has never seen an episode of Game of Thrones?”. No, and that’s not the reason that you’re a fucking twat.
Now, I get the idea that there are different levels of films. I kind of get what he’s trying to say. These films are made by Disney and are, ultimately, about making the most cash. There’s a reason that these films are nominated for all the top awards. Not because they’re bad but because they’re different. They’re made for different purposes. But they’re still films. There are good films and bad films. There are artistic films and there are less artistic films. But to suggest that something doesn’t even rate as cinema is ridiculous. In his interview, Scorsese went further by saying he could only compare Marvel films to theme parks.
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.
I mean, seriously? These films don’t show “human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being”? You see films like Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor Ragnarok and all you see are their directors. Those two films, in particular, convey the feelings, heart, and soul of the men who made them. And in the DC realm, Wonder Woman was pure Patty Jenkins. Yes, they may be silly and made-up and feature a lot of CGI monsters. But, to say these films aren’t ultimately human is insane. These films sum up what it is to be a human being just a well as a de-aged Robert DeNiro can. The amount I’ve cried whilst watching Endgame should be proof of that.
Now, you obviously can’t compare Marvel films to Scorsese films but that doesn’t mean you can simply renounce one. It’s stupid and childish. It makes Scorsese, one of the greatest film directors of all time, look like a fucking idiot. And what was his *ahem* endgame in all of this? Did he think he was suddenly going to stop one of the biggest film companies ever? To shame their fans into not watching them any more? Or was he just trying to make himself feel more important? Fair enough, you didn’t like them. I get it. But for a man who has been making films for so long to dismiss the hard work of so many people in such a horrible way; it’s unnecessary.
People are allowed to have a difference of opinion. I get that. Believe me. I live in a world where I’m one of only a handful of people who hated Mama Mia. But why should we care that Scorsese doesn’t like them? It’s not as if anyone thought he was spending his evenings watching the Iron Man trilogy on repeat. Just like I’m pretty sure he’s also not watching endless teen movies or those Netflix Christmas films. We can tell what Scorsese’s tastes will be by the films he makes and that’s fine. Each to their own. What we don’t need, is him going all grumpy grandad on us and telling us things were better in his day. That makes him look like a snob. And he’s better than that. He’s Martin fucking Scorsese.
But, I can’t rant and rave all night. What do I think of his argument? Well, to borrow Marty’s own words:
I don’t see it. I tried, you know? But it’s not right. Honestly, the closest I can think of it, as respected as his, is nonsense. It isn’t the words of a human being trying to convey sense or truth to another human being.