Martin Scorsese: Marvel movies don’t have ‘mystery or genuine emotional danger’

Los Angeles Premiere Of Netflix's 'The Irishman'

Martin Scorsese directed The Irishman, and Netflix produced, financed and will absolutely be spending major money on the Oscar campaign for the film, for Marty as director, and for the individual acting-Oscar-campaigns for Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci. This was always going to be an issue for Oscar voters, especially the older voters who are terribly afraid of Netflix and what all of these streaming services mean for traditional theatrical releases. Disney is already so concerned about it that they’re…starting their own streaming service and trying to out-do Netflix. That’s all just part of the backstory here, the push-pull of different Oscar campaigns, the Academy’s fears about streaming services posing an existential threat to their business model, etc.

So, it’s fascinating to me that Scorsese has chosen this moment to pick a fight with Disney and Marvel. And to be clear: he is absolutely picking this fight. A few weeks ago, Marty chatted with Empire Magazine about The Irishman, and he ended up saying that Marvel movies are “not cinema,” and those movies “are theme parks.” The reaction was as dumb as you could expect – Marvel fans were like “f–k a Scorsese” and various Marvel actors and directors came out and tried to defend the honor of… Marvel films. It was like… people were really offended that one of the cinema’s great directors didn’t think their big silly superhero movies were all that artsy. Marty didn’t say the the movies sucked or that the people making them should be ashamed. He was just saying: don’t confuse those movies with what I do, which is make real movies. Anyway, Marty has doubled-down. He wrote an op-ed for the New York Times, which you can read here. Here’s part of it:

Many franchise films are made by people of considerable talent and artistry. You can see it on the screen. The fact that the films themselves don’t interest me is a matter of personal taste and temperament. I know that if I were younger, if I’d come of age at a later time, I might have been excited by these pictures and maybe even wanted to make one myself….

… Some say that Hitchcock’s pictures had a sameness to them, and perhaps that’s true — Hitchcock himself wondered about it. But the sameness of today’s franchise pictures is something else again. Many of the elements that define cinema as I know it are there in Marvel pictures. What’s not there is revelation, mystery or genuine emotional danger. Nothing is at risk. The pictures are made to satisfy a specific set of demands, and they are designed as variations on a finite number of themes.

They are sequels in name but they are remakes in spirit, and everything in them is officially sanctioned because it can’t really be any other way. That’s the nature of modern film franchises: market-researched, audience-tested, vetted, modified, revetted and remodified until they’re ready for consumption. Another way of putting it would be that they are everything that the films of Paul Thomas Anderson or Claire Denis or Spike Lee or Ari Aster or Kathryn Bigelow or Wes Anderson are not. When I watch a movie by any of those filmmakers, I know I’m going to see something absolutely new and be taken to unexpected and maybe even unnameable areas of experience. My sense of what is possible in telling stories with moving images and sounds is going to be expanded.

[From The New York Times]

Marty goes on to basically say that he’s picking this particular fight at this particular moment because of the state of movie theaters today and how they’re dominated by all of these franchise films and too few ART films. He also dismisses the idea that franchise films/superhero movies dominate movie theaters endlessly because they’re “what the people want.” Marty writes, “If people are given only one kind of thing and endlessly sold only one kind of thing, of course they’re going to want more of that one kind of thing.” Which I sort of agree with too. His final point is that filmmakers, filmgoers and theater owners all need to take bigger risks. Risks in storytelling, risks in filmmaking, risks in what we will watch in the theater, and what theaters will show. Which I also agree with.

Anyway… Marty is poking the bear, or in this case, the Mouse. And I have to think that there’s some kind of larger strategy at play. We’ll see.

Los Angeles Premiere Of Netflix's 'The Irishman'

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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96 Responses to “Martin Scorsese: Marvel movies don’t have ‘mystery or genuine emotional danger’”

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  1. Leriel says:

    Breaking news: old grandpa can’t stop grumping.

    • Estonian Bot says:

      Ageist ad homein attack.

      It comes down to preference. Character driven films are far more interesting to me than action driven films. Marvel films remind me of the truism that empty vessels make the most noise.

    • horseandhound says:

      he’s old, so what? he is still telling the truth. marvel movies and many other movies nowadays lack depth and emotion. I think hollywood is not in a very productive period right now.

  2. Rapunzel says:

    It’s pretentious of him to act like his films are so much more significant. Methinks he’s pissed he’s not the draw Marvel is.

    • Snazzy says:

      Well exactly. I mean I love his movies but it’s always gangster white guy shit. He really is no better than the movies he complains about

      • Carol says:

        Exactly. I’m trying and failing to remember a film of his that I actually enjoyed watching. On the other hand, I still cry when I see Tony Stark’s death scene and how beautifully that was shot and acted. So I already disagree with his premise.

        If he wants to make a point about the struggles of independent and smaller films, he should make it without feeling the need to tell everyone his stuff is superior to Marvel. Pretentious indeed.

    • Mia4s says:

      “ Methinks he’s pissed he’s not the draw Marvel is.”

      Eh, kind of, but not in the way you’re thinking. There is a good argument that independent and more artistic films are missing out on theatrical exhibition because the theaters are obligated contractually to show Thor 8 fifteen times a day or whatever. And no, 15 shows a day are not selling out.

      Marvel movies are fine…really, they are. Really. But he does have a point.

      • Rapunzel says:

        “There is a good argument that independent and more artistic films are missing out on theatrical exhibition because the theaters are obligated contractually to show Thor 8 fifteen times a day or whatever. And no, 15 shows a day are not selling out.”

        Eh…”more artistic” is a matter of debate. And independent films have always struggled.

        Personally, I’d argue the whole concept of movie theaters is outdated. It’s a dying form of film presentation.
        The medium of film has changed over the last few years, and Marty is upset he has to get with the times.

      • M.A.F. says:

        I disagree Rapunzel. The movie theater is not a dying form of presentation especially when certain movies call to be shown in theaters. What has changed is the movie goer. The lack of respect people can show to those around them is that makes it difficult to watch a film.

    • Estonian Bot says:

      Ah yes. It’s all about box office numbers and how much money a film makes. It sounds like something Trump would say.

  3. moco says:

    This is such a dumb fight. I don’t get what he’s gaining out of continuing it.

    Also, he says right up front Marvel movies don’t interest him and it seems clear he’s never actually seen them, which is just annoying. They are more than just explosions and CGI but he probably wouldn’t know.

    • Louisa says:

      They are?

      There just doesn’t seem to be variety in terms of plot though.

      I don’t understand how a lot of people were so invested to see Endgame because they wanted to know who makes it to the end. They’re superheroes, of course they were all (well, almost) going to survive it!

    • msd says:

      He isn’t starting a fight. Nor is he telling people what to do. He’s having a conversation. And he has many good and interesting points to make. People are upset because he’s hit a nerve, clearly.

  4. DS9 says:

    Movie goers have more choices than ever and yet less disposable income. So we have to be more judicious about how we spend our money in the theater.

    I’m tiiiiiiired of arguing the emotional and artistic value of various genres of movies so I’m not going to take that bait.

    But I do want Scorcese to acknowledge that it’s not our desires that have changed as much as the ways in which we can consume media has changed so much that most of us want to take in the kinds of movies he’s blathering about from our coaches.

    And finally, I can’t help but side eye dude decrying sameness while trying to shill his 35th gangster movie with an overlapping cast of dudes from his other gangster movies who became famous making someone else’s ganster movie. And who is responsible for Leo turning in the exact same performance over and over.

    • Lolamd says:

      Completely agree.

    • Rapunzel says:

      “And finally, I can’t help but side eye dude decrying sameness while trying to shill his 35th gangster movie with an overlapping cast of dudes from his other gangster movies who became famous making someone else’s ganster movie. And who is responsible for Leo turning in the exact same performance over and over.”

      THIS x1000000000000

    • Mar says:

      Omg YES. I am NOT a fan of Scorsese. Never have been. I love action movies and adore Marvel, and they pack a GD emotional punch if you care about the characters which a LOT of ppl do.
      Personally, IDGAF about Leo or another white guy saving the day/overcoming adversity/being the bad giy everyone loves to hate/making a “statement”. I want fun and excitement when I spend $10+ per person for two hours. Not sorry, Marty.

    • S808 says:

      you nailed it.

    • Dutch says:

      Strong point on the cost factor. Say what you will about Marvel movies’ artistic, but there’s no denying they take full advantage of the large screen format and sound available at the multiplex, which gives people a sense of more value for their moviegoing dollar.

    • tiredTreaded says:

      Art died the day America hired trump. Let’s face it, when cracker barrel became the rep of our nation, we lost all credentials & are now buried in soviet style “entertainment”. It’s over, and God Bless Scorsese for calling out the schlock of the new.

      • Jane'sWastedTalent says:

        I think it was dying for a little while before that, but otherwise, yes, completely agree.

  5. JoanCallamezzo says:

    It’s a little heartbreaking that Scorsese doesn’t see the brilliance of Marvel movies. He’s entitled to his opinion even though we know he’s wrong.

    • The Recluse says:

      Black Panther was culturally significant for a lot of people. And the last two Avengers films had people in tears. That means something. I don’t remember getting misty eyed in any of his films that I saw…
      I appreciate Scorsese, even more so when he gets out of his comfort zone: Kundun, Last Temptation of Christ…
      Perhaps his criticism will encourage Disney to boost Fox Searchlight productions. That would be a positive.
      He should definitely speak out about how Disney is burying the Fox Studios film archives and making them much more inaccessible to theaters. There is something ominous about that and it will harm independence operators.

      • tiredTreaded says:

        Black Panther is the only Marvel movie I want to see as a feature film; our culture NEEDED this. The rest have more meaning in comic books.

    • Ariela says:

      No emotional danger? I saw Infinity War for the first time last night 🙁

      • The Recluse says:

        Devastating, wasn’t it?
        I sat in a kind shock at the end.

      • Dutch says:

        Everything you ever wanted to see in a superhero movie for two hours and a 20-minute gutpunch at the end.

      • moco says:

        Totally. I was in a daze after Infinity War. And my theater experience during Endgame was once in a lifetime… people were emotionally f-ing invested, I’ll promise you that.

  6. Jillian says:

    Let people enjoy things. We’re doomed anyways

  7. Lightpurple says:

    Dear Marty,

    The Wolf of Wall Street, with the exception of the Qualude scene was three interminable hours of misogyny without art or mystery. So, you’re back to your franchise and predictable formula of mob movies. I will watch, from the comfort of my couch, but I will also line up at the theater for the next Marvel film. I can’t help but notice you carefully don’t mention DC films; could it be because you aligned yourself with them and are just bashing the competition while pretending to care about “art?”

    Disney Plus is going to crush competitors for a while and then it will all settle down.

    • Jerusha says:

      I loathed WOWS, loathed it! The only saving graces were Robbie and DuJardin. I liked Scorsese’s early films-Mean Streets, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull. I got sick of his overstuffed gangster movies and Pesci running around screaming obscenities and pretty much checked out after that. I was snobbish about Marvel movies until I took my then 11 yo grandson to see one and loved it! I went back and caught up on the earlier films and now see them in the theatre the opening week.

  8. S says:

    I agree with him about the type of movies currently being made. Nothing is risky. There isn’t much innovation. But, no one in the industry (in any industry) will put down a billion dollar cash cow to focus on “real” art. It always makes me wonder how much we are missing out on, in terms of creativity and inspiration, by only using money as a barometer.

    • Dutch says:

      It’s called “show business” for a reason. I really don’t think we’re missing out on any art because the bar of entry is so much lower. You can find an audience with a smartphone, some editing skill and a YouTube channel. What we’re missing is that mid-budget studio drama that doesn’t quite clear the “Oscar bait” requirements. It feels like streaming services are going to fill that void.

  9. Valiantly Varnished says:

    Yes Marty, there is so much RISK in telling stories about white men. When has Marty ever taken an ACTUAL creative risk of any kind?? He can miss me with his elitist BS. And I agree that there is a strategy at play: and I think a HUGE part of that strategy is getting his name and film in the press.

    • horseandhound says:

      what’s wrong with stories about white men? you can write a thrilling story about white men and black women and whoever. and you can write a shitty story about anybody too. I don’t like scorsese, but that doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with writing about one group of people.

  10. Algernon says:

    I don’t entirely disagree with him about Marvel movies, but this also sounds like the worst kind of gatekeeping.

  11. Sierra says:

    Martin, the director who predominantly only directs movies with white make, is attacking Marvel, who has started to include people of colour and women…

    Martin doesn’t attack his friends’ movies like Star Wars, Jurassic Park etc.

    He is just upset that this generation is choosing progressive movies and especially movies that are simply fun to watch. Most people have enough problems in their personal lives that they want to lose themselves for a few hours in mindless entertainment.

    • A says:

      Marvel movies are a lot of things, but the one thing they’re not is progressive. Sorry.

      • DS9 says:

        You didn’t see Black Panther?

      • Sierra says:

        Or Captain Marvel?

        With the upcoming Eternals, Black Panther 2, Captain Marvel, Black Widow etc I dare say, yes Marvel is progressive.

      • Christina says:

        Some are progressive, some are dumbed down.

        I’m not a fan of comics, but I get why people love them, and there are many progressive comics being written now that no one is making into movies. Perhaps they will be movies someday.

        Frankly, I find them boring. Black Panther was fascinating to me because it’s a progressive story that fits in places and people I know about in real life (Oakland), and it showed the relationships between the characters in a way that rang true. Scorsese’s points make sense in terms of the lack of variety and depth of some of the films, but he keeps making films that use women as accessories., and I always see Italians and no one else, but he’s of Italian descent, so he cares about those stories. The Harriet Tubman movie is being destroyed by Black folks on Sandra Rose’s blog because her followers, many conservative, are sick of seeing movies that show Black people as slaves even though she is a historical figure. I want to see movies about all sorts of people that aren’t dumbed down, and art isn’t supposed to be about money, but we all share levels of normal narcissism because we want to see ourselves reflected onscreen, so we don’t pay to see people we don’t recognize In film unless we like film and have no other options. The films that do feature diverse experiences or that feature universal experiences acted out by marginalized folks are often panned. Films I can relate to don’t make money. I am Mexican-American, and I loved Fools Rush In. Salma Hayak’s Mexican heritage had a chance to be represented as it frequently is in America for us, and it was funny and reflected universal human emotions and an inter-racial relationship, but it was never going to be taken seriously because people of Mexican and/or South American descent simply aren’t respected in many parts of the U.S. In different countries, everyone doesn’t have Netflix, but the big movie making companies won’t shell out money on all of our stories because we just don’t rise to the level of “they matter” in Hollywood.

        I’m sorry, comic book movie fans, but I find most of those films boring. My daughter and mother LOVE them.

      • DS9 says:

        That’s not the only or even primary reason Harriet is being trashed. It’s a whole lie of a movie that seeks to “both sides” the discussion, make white people feel better about themselves, and uses lies about Tubman’s life to do it.

      • Christina says:

        DS9, yes, that’s what the commenters said. That White folks like to see themselves saving us. The women who wrote and produced the movie said that she wanted to show Tubman as a person who loved, and she didn’t want to portray the horrors. I saw her, a black woman, and the actress who plays Harriet in an interview (Sunday Morning?), and she said that she wanted to flesh out the feminism of Tubman, her humanity, that she loved a man, was married. But how can a movie like that be made out ourselves don’t fund it? If the White establishment funds it, they don’t want to see themselves as not “helping” the movement. Remember when Ben Affleck asked that his family’s slave owning history be removed from Hen Louis Gates’ Finding You Roots, and they TOOK THAT PART OUT. Ugh.

        In short, I agree DS9, but I don’t see a way out. Every artist has to sell out to have patrons unless they are such beloved rebels (Basquiat, Kehinde Wiley) that people accept their art as it is and are willing to pay for it. If our folks don’t control the money, the narratives can’t be completely ours.

  12. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Omg, I’m so sick of hearing this crap lol. When I hear anyone throw competition under the bus, in any industry, I go elsewhere. It’s juvenile. It’s weak. I don’t go somewhere to conduct business only to hear how inferior everyone else is. Streaming services are here. The talent pool across the industry is widening and deepening. These old fools have dominated for decades, and if they really want to secure their foothold and maintain their business, they need only to continue distributing excellence. Period.

  13. Powermoonchrystal says:

    He is right in that there is a place for Marvel movies, but it should not be the only type of entertainment avaliable in most places. I mean, just as an example, everyone in the US may have Netflix, but this is not the case in other countries. I also agree that the movies are formulaic and with low stakes. The quality of the formula is vastly improved by the specific director’s vision, but the stakes are always the same. I still love a good Marvel movie 🙂

    • Jotis says:

      100% agree with this. I can agree with Martin’s criticism, while simultaneously enjoying Marvel movies for what they are. There ARE low emotional stakes! I knew going into End Game, that the snap would be reversed and maybe someone would die in the end, but it wasn’t like I thought I would be having an emotional revelation while watching it. Marvel movies are spectacular fun, but they are indeed formulaic and not exactly deep. (just my opinion! feel free to disagree)

  14. Powermoonchrystal says:

    He is right in that there is a place for Marvel movies, but it should not be the only type of entertainment avaliable in most places. I mean, just as an example, everyone in the US may have Netflix, but this is not the case in other countries. I also agree that the movies are formulaic and with low stakes. The quality of the formula is vastly improved by the specific director’s vision, but the stakes are always the same. I still love a good Marvel movie 🙂

  15. BlueSky says:

    Scorsese seems to make the same movies over and over again. Marvel movies don’t need defending and they will always make money regardless. There are plenty of people who don’t like superhero movies. There are people who don’t like his movies either. I think he is struggling with the landscape changing. His name and privilege doesn’t automatically mean funding for his movies anymore. His name doesn’t automatically mean box office success. Going to the movies are ridiculously expensive so I’m selective of what movies I spend my money on.

  16. DS9 says:

    Silence is probably the only recent movie of his that I really respected, really saw as art.

  17. bonobochick says:

    Marty needs to get back to me when he can write / direct for women and people of color.

    • Chimney says:

      Can Marvel do this honestly? Aside from black panther I see no proof that Marvel is at all diverse. Disney is certainly not a progressive company by any stretch of the imagination.

      • Dutch says:

        Counterpoint. Disney offered medical benefits to same-sex couples in 1995. It has regularly told conservative groups to take a leap when they protested Pride celebrations at the theme parks. Disney is about as progressive as a giant corporation can get.
        Marvel Studios has been slow to doing more progressive casting because of Ike Perlmutter, the toy baron who bailed out Marvel comics in the 90s. His influence has withered over the last 5-6 years and you can see how much more progressive the stories and casting has been since Kevin Feigie has been given complete control of Marvel Studios.

      • Chimney says:

        @Dutch I’m on Kevin Feige’s imdb page now trying to suss out where this diversity is. Are you counting Scarlett Johansson as a woc?

      • DS9 says:

        Really? You don’t see much diversity except for Black Panther?

        Marvel can do better at centering POC without a doubt but pretending as if it’s not there at all and in spaces is erasure.

        Sam L Jackson, Anthony Mackie, Terrance Howard, Don Cheadle, Michael Pena, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Benedict Wong, etc.

        There’s also a decent amount of diversity in the Marvel tv shows and movies coming that are centering diverse characters and diverse cultures.

      • Dutch says:

        @Chimney: Are Zoe Saldana, Gemma Chan, Tessa Thompson, Salma Hayek, Chloe Zhao and Akwafina colorful enough for you?
        Should the list be longer? Sure. But look at the cast of The Eternals, that’s more representative of the diverse direction Marvel is going.

    • msd says:

      Serious question: why? Him making the films he wants to make about the stories he feels connected to is fine. The system is the problem, not individual directors. As I said elsewhere, if established white, male directors tell more stories about women and poc that will only have the effect of reducing opportunities for filmmakers interested in those stories. It’s really the last thing anything serious about diversity should want.

      (Scorsese has made films about women and poc, btw. Not many but he has)

  18. A says:

    I have my issues with Scorsese, just like I have my issues w/ pretty much every other male director of his type. However, he’s not wrong here. He is quite right. The Marvel movies are manufactured to hell and back and made on a formula that is intended to make them blockbusters. And this is absolutely bad. There are much bigger avenues for people who want to make good movies to showcase them, and the barriers for people who have historically been left out of movie-making have lessened and they are provided platforms they weren’t ten, twenty years ago when all of the best stuff was in cinema. And television has become a juggernaut and a wonderful vehicle for art and story telling in its own right. All of this is also good. But, it’s come at the expense of one particular medium being exclusively used to make a profit rather than explore good art.

    And don’t get me wrong–I absolutely think that superhero movies can be art as well. But how many fcking Marvel movies have we had in the past few years? The best ones were the ones that strove to break convention–Thor Ragnarok, Captain America: Winter Soldier, Wonder Woman (not Marvel, I know, but still good), BLACK PANTHER. So there’s a lot of space for these movies to be much more varied, much less manufactured than they already are. But Marvel has less incentive to take chances because they’ve got a proven formula that works to make them a profit, and they won’t deviate from it. And given how Disney is monopolizing the movie business these days, we should absolutely be raising the alarm bells.

  19. Chaine says:

    It’s not wrong, other than Logan I’ve never sat through a superhero movie where I had feelings of shock, or surprise, or anger, or happiness. They are kind of junk food to me, what you watch if you don’t want to have to think much or engage much, or if you need to pick something to amuse children.

    • Jotis says:

      Yes, totally. Even Infinity War which had Thanos “win” at the end. I never worried that it would stay that way in Endgame. I was basically like, they will reverse it somehow and maybe someone will actually die, but prob only one of Thor, Tony, or Cap. It’s still great fun, but yep. Not high brow by any means though.

  20. Case says:

    He’s right – many Marvel films are formulaic, much like the onslaught of remakes and sequels we’ve gotten recently, and definitely not taking any risks. They’re there for fun entertainment. And I think his argument is well presented. He’s saying that the people involved are very talented and that perhaps if he were younger they’d excite him as well, but he’s not interested due to personal preference. Nothing he’s saying here is wrong, honestly, and he’s not discounting anyone’s love for these movies. As a Marvel fan (and a Scorsese fan!) I’m not upset at all by his observations. He’s totally correct. There’s a place for the superhero films that have risen in the past 10 years – art in their own right – and a place for “true cinema.” People can love both. I love artsy films that challenge me. I will also say without reservation that Star Wars is my favorite film series of all time, I’ve recently developed a huge love of old horror films, and I go see most Marvel movies opening weekend. We contain multitudes.

    • SummerSky says:

      I agree with Scorsese, and I think he presented his opinions eloquently in his NYT piece. You may not like his movies, but to dismiss him as old, inconsequential, and risk-averse is baffling to me, given that the guy is revered by other directors, by actors, by critics, and, yes, by many, many film lovers. Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Goodfellas – all of these films caused a sensation when released and endure as classics for a reason. To suggest he only churns out “gangster shit” fails to take into account his entire body of work, which includes Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, Silence, Hugo, Last Temptation of Christ, Age of Innocence, Kundun, etc. Can he do better with respect to diversity in his films? No question. But he’s also helped aspiring filmmakers around the world, including many women, who couldn’t find support elsewhere. And let’s not forget that few have done more for film preservation than Marty. So you can enjoy the MCU while still giving dude his due.

      • DS9 says:

        Please read further.

        One, I never said gangster movies is all he makes. I said his current project, the one he’s selling while blathering on about sameness can be seen as a rather been there, donde that effort from a director who literally has been there, done that several times over WITH the same actors who been there, done that for him and for other directors.

        Two, I already mentioned Silence as being a fantastic movie. It’s evocative, thought provoking, the cinematography is gorgeous and ties into the themes of the movie, as does the use of sound and the score. I watch it regularly and have new thoughts each time.

        And since you mentioned Hugo, I don’t understand how the man that made that movie can say what he has. My son’s love of film and desire to study it has developed from superhero movies among others. He has reams to say about the use of color or music to convey tone, theme, and emotion.

  21. Nic919 says:

    Most of the Marvel movies aren’t that good and they are predictable. Infinity war did nothing for me because I knew there was another one coming so I expected a reset. Superhero movies can be good and we have seen examples over time but the Marvel movies are mostly made by committee and it’s obvious. Taika Watiti did something more interesting with his Thor movie, but otherwise I always felt that most of the movies were a “the gang meets up to fight a big baddie” and there are very few emotional consequences to it. Black Panther was another one that was more interesting than the rest. The rest basically would be aired on television as a series except I guess if you care about seeing the special effects. But even then you know the CGI is there so it’s like when George Lucas went crazy with it in his Star Wars prequels.

    Sure not all Scorsese movies are great, but he usually has tried to make something with character development.

  22. Allergy says:

    If you close your eyes, they all sound the same. They must use the same sound effects track, and the same massive “heavenly choir” that just goes like aaAAAAaaaaAAAAaaaaaAAAaaaa.

    • Esme says:

      The Carl Orff school of movie soundtracks 😉
      It’s probably a byproduct of the “designed by central committee” production strategy: the same sounds are familiar and easy to the audience, and help maintain the feeling of an unified brand.
      At least they’re consistent, right?

  23. Chimney says:

    He’s right about everything from top to bottom even if people don’t like what he has to say. We should be wary of the sameness of Marvel movies. We should also be wary of the stronghold Disney has in entertainment these days. All they want to do is churn out the same blandly feel-good, focus tested schlock over and over because they know we will go see it anyway because of the characters or cultural discussions. It’s an emperor has no clothes situation.

    I have never felt good, satisfied, or uplifting after seeing a Marvel movie. I’ve felt entertained. To the people calling marvel movies art, how can you? Just because you like something and think it is fun doesn’t make it art. Art moves you and stays with you and makes you ask big questions. I’m begging you watch more movies. Some have deeper questions than are Iron Man and the Hulk in love ffs.

    • Case says:

      Well, even if it’s low-brow, it’s still art that writers, directors, editors, and actors put their hearts into. Art is subjective and I don’t think we can have any gatekeeping on that. I don’t think Marvel movies are exactly super intelligent or emotionally moving, but they have a place in film and culture, much like slasher films, science fiction, and monster movies, etc. They’re not provocative dramas, but they do have meaning nonetheless.

      • Chimney says:

        @Case Just because someone worked hard on something it doesn’t make it art or even worthy of consideration. It’s not gatekeeping to say some movies are better than others. Let’s not pretend that Marvel movies are little underdog films fighting for existence. They exist and do well at the expense of deeper more impactful movies. And I don’t just mean heavy handed dramas. There is art in all genres, but that’s not what Marvel wants to make. They want to make money not art.

      • Valiantly Varnished says:

        @Chimney. No one person is the arbiter of what is or isnt art or what qualifies to be called art. Period.

    • Katherine says:

      Well I’m so glad we have the official arbiter of art in our midst! If you really knew what art was as you proclaim to, you’d know it’s about far more than emotions and big picture questions. What a ridiculous and pretentious take. Sometimes it’s about the understated and mundane, sometimes it’s about… wait for it… a comic book. It’s subjective and means different things to different people. I define art as first and foremost the individuals experience and relationship to it. That’s what makes it special. And I agree professionals work hard on every type of art. This gatekeeping is gross.

      • Katherine says:

        @chimney AGAIN just because it’s not deeper or more impactful to YOU doesn’t make it not art. I sat next to an older teenager sobbing when Peter Parker turned to dust. It meant something to him and the artistic portrayal was important to him. I agree there’s good art and bad art but yeah, you’re still gatekeeping and it’s pretentious and gross.

      • Chimney says:

        @Katherine It may be pretentious but it’s disingenuous to pretend all movies are worthy of being called art just because someone put effort into them. Disney/Marvel are attempting to redefine cinema to their purposes and they have nothing to do with art or creativity and everything to do with fandom and marketing. I do not understand your last point, is making a teen cry supposed to convince me that that movie had some deeper meaning? I disagree

      • Katherine says:

        @chimney no it’s supposed to convince you that even though it didn’t have a deeper meaning to YOU, it did to someone. And your original pretentious point was that art has to be impactful and have meaning and make us ask big questions. And I’m saying Comic book depictions do that for a lot of people. Many would argue that the top tier marvel movies were culturally significant with an artistic point of view (not all of them Were good on this I’ll agree). You may not have felt that way but it remains unclear to me who made you the final decider here. I reject your premise that art and entertainment are mutually exclusive and I maintain as I’ve said 3 times that you’re gatekeeping and it’s a gross look.

    • Case says:

      @Chimney I am a huge fan of cinema. Watching movies and studying film is one of my greatest passions so yes, I understand there is art in all genres. Including action films! Movies are an art form, period. Movies, music, books, etc. are all forms of art. Art is subjective and means different things to all of us. Please don’t disregard what people feel about certain types of movies. People love what they love. What I respect about what Scorsese’s argument is that while these movies go against his personal preferences, he’s not dismissive or condescending about it.

      • Chimney says:

        Movies being an art form doesn’t mean that every movie is a piece of art. I’m also not saying people can’t like Marvel movies. I understand wanting to be entertained at the movies, Disney gives those people what they want. I just don’t agree with the idea that everything has to be considered art. Some things are better than others. If art is subjective like you say then it shouldn’t bother you that for some Marvel movies rank near the bottom.

    • Nic919 says:

      Some superhero movies have quality stories while others are obvious designed by committee. When companies like Disney mass produce non stop Star Wars and Marvel films it isn’t so much art as a production line. The films may be fun to watch, but they aren’t innovative for the most part. Some like Black Panther went beyond the usual scope, but for the most part the movies are bland. It’s like the multiple Star Wars films happening or the endless Star Treks. The originals were creative, but things start to get repetitive after a while.

  24. Ally says:

    Agree with Scorsese. The issue is not just the content and quality of the movies, but the monopolistic practices used to enforce their domination in studio slates and movie theatres.

    Here’s an article from this week about how, post-merger, Disney is withholding classic Fox films from art house movie theatres to keep screens open for their crappy franchise films:

    As is often the case we discuss something as a cultural issue that is actually an economic/financial issue. Frankly, Disney has gotten too big, is engaging in monopolistic practices and should be broken up so that American cinema doesn’t become one indistinguishable slurry designed to sell toys and theme park rides.

    • Esme says:

      It’s also sad to see that most of the creative forces in American cinema for this generation – scenographers, costume designers, lights and sounds engineer – will likely spend their best years working in formulaic “industrial” Disneyfied products. It’s a waste of talent and creativity – and a generation of filmgoers experiencing nothing much other than Disney/Marvel might end up with a very basic and limited film grammar.
      But luckily other countries have vibrant and creative film industries, and the future of cinema does not rest with the US.

    • Chimney says:

      This is exactly why I don’t trust Disney. Too much power under one umbrella

  25. DS9 says:

    I find “what is art” conversations rather infuriating.

    Why should anyone be the arbiter of what is art to another?

    I think of paintings when I read this debate. Liking Monet doesn’t mean Pollack isn’t art. Your personal inability to relate or feel uplifted by multicolored soup cans doesn’t make it not art.

    Some movies may not appeal to you personally but to say they can’t be art is such a narrow, simplistic, and bland take as to be infuriating.

    Marvel isn’t for everyone but yes, I’ve been uplifted by it. I don’t have the words to express how uplifted I was to see everything that went into the crafting of the Black Panther scenes where M’Baku challenged T’Challa for the throne. The rich color palette, the echo of African art, themes, and color put into the different tribes of Wakanda, the brilliance of turning the “otherism” of the usual Nat Geo depictions of rich African cultural references and using it as beauty and grace and not weird and barbaric….

    And then to take how special that is and use it to convey the differences in how T’Challa and Kilmonger felt about Wakanda’s place in the world…

    And I’d be remiss if I mentioned Black Panther but didn’t touch on the beauty and devastation of Kilmonger’s final scene, awash in that gorgeous light, the beauty of what our people and nations should have been, sliding away under the weight of the transatlantic slave trade.

    That’s not art to everyone but it was art to me.

    • Christina says:

      DS9, you are correct. Shakespeare is challenging kids today in English class, but those stories were trashy soap operas when they were first performed.

    • Ally says:

      Because it’s not art; it’s primarily a product or worse yet, a marketing tool designed to sell other more profitable tie-in products.

      No one is saying it’s wrong for the audience to enjoy superhero movies. They’re saying that superhero movies and their ilk should not be the only game in town.

      I think a few years ago, for instance, 90% of American releases were prequels, sequels, remakes or based on existing intellectual properties. That is not creative. It’s just churning out familiar product.

      I can’t fathom people getting mad at movie buffs wanting something more new and creative from modern films.

      • Esme says:

        “I can’t fathom people getting mad at movie buffs wanting something more new and creative from modern films.”

        To be fair, Marvel has spent a lot of money over the years to market their movies as valid artistic efforts (there are a lot of conversations about them getting an Oscar and such), so I think Marvel fans are simply responding to that marketing strategy. And a lot of film critics give rave reviews to Marvel movies. So it’s understandable that many people feel invested in this conversation.

        But for the film buff there’s plenty, Jia Zhangke is probably the greatest filmmaker alive, Iranian cinema is thriving, European cinema can still produce absolute pearls. I think the focus on Marvel movies makes people lose sight of all the great work out there.

      • Case says:

        Movie buff here. I’ve challenged myself to watch 100 movies I’ve never seen before for the past two years and have no problem finding a wealth of beautiful, moving, challenging films, both new and old.

        I don’t see anyone getting mad that film lovers want new and innovative films to watch. They just don’t want to be talked down to for loving Marvel films. As someone who loves all kind of movies, I totally agree.

    • Nic919 says:

      I think Black Panther was the exception to the rule of most Marvel films. There was definitely something creative there. But the rest of them just are not anything special.

      • Louisa says:

        Is it because of the POC cast that you think it’s different? Because the plot and themes are still very much the same as other Marvel films.

        I adore Taika Waititi and his somewhat different take on Thor but his film still followed the same Marvel formula.

  26. DS9 says:

    And Into the Spider-Verse, that’s not art?

    • Louisa says:

      It’s well-made but still low-brow and made-for-the-masses art.

      Are you a Marvel PR by any chance? You seem so keen on defending their films on this post.

  27. CK says:

    Eh, a lot of his artistic complaints about Marvel movies have permeated every single genre. Yeah, a family drama might be evocative if it’s the only one that you watch in a year, but try watching the 6-7 that try and fail to get awards attention every year. It’s the same formulaic, emotionally barren sh*t. Marvel, at least, has spectacle which has always been an important part of film. They just use theirs to greater effect than say spending 160 million to make Robert De’Niro look like a video game character.

    There’s also just the fact that T.V. has improved and often covers the topics that movies used to over the span of 6 or more episodes. I can get deep, emotional art on my couch every single week. I’m not spending 20+ to get that in a darkened room.

    I also take a bit of umbrage at the notion that Marvel movies are some of only movies shown elsewhere. Many countries have thriving film industries, a fact that Marty should know given his remake of “The Departed”. He’s also just ignoring the fact that maybe films based in such a Western culture/sensibility aren’t what foreign audiences want to see. You think audiences in China want to watch a drama about a bunch of WASPs. No. You don’t have to have a cultural connection to get superheroes films. You do have to have one for the yearly fat white man biopic.

  28. Veronica S says:

    I mean, sure, but “Wolf of Wall Street” was hardly a cinematic achievement that contributed anything meaningful or original to the industry either lol. Not sure if he’s one to talk.

  29. Wilma says:

    I don’t think movies have changed that much over the last forty years. Wasn’t Star Wars the box office juggernaut of its time? Or the Indiana Jones films? All made by his buddies. We still get a good mix. I love that a film like Moonlight got made and won at the Oscars. But going to the movies has become pretty expensive and its not something I’m willing to spend that much money on if I’m not sure I’m going to have a really good time. Movies like Shutter Island were so disappointing to watch in the theatre and I used to go to the theatre for every Scorcese, bu t they’re just not that good that they’re worth the expense of a babysitter, tickets, popcorn, parking etc. I know Marvel is going to entertain me silly and I watch the more serious fare at home where I can cry with abandon, discuss at length, pause and rewind, not have to deal with annoying people behind me who didn’t think about what kind of movie they were going to watch and are complaining. I think that’s the case for a lot of people, so the future probably will hold more and more direct to streaming.

  30. LOL says:

    LOL at all of this. Marvel movies and all things DIsney are in fact HUGELY popular. I like them a lot. But I do find it hilarious when someone criticizes them, even in a polite way like in the above comments from Scorsese, and people lose their minds with almost personal offense. It’s alright, deep breaths. His comments were fine, and if you don’t agree its fine. Sometimes things get so hairy so fast out here in the internet! I find myself agreeing with Scorsese AND being able to enjoy Marvel. And don’t worry, these comments aren’t going to do anything to the Disney machine, they will keep making the Marvel movies and the $$ whether you tune in or not.

  31. Lucy says:

    I actually don’t really disagree with him…? I mean, I don’t feel like he’s telling me “do NOT watch these movies anymore” or something. That doesn’t change the fact that I very much enjoy superhero/fantasy franchises. It’s not that deep imo.

  32. whybother says:

    I have limited resources and in need of entertainment, Will I pick another white gangster movie with one lone hero or a fun movie with ‘colorful’ casts that may or may not look like me, slit eyes and everything?
    fyi, there are a lot of artsy and poignant modern films out there but some people are just lazy at reading subtitles~

  33. A says:

    Marty needs to go to some open space and yell “Get off my lawn” as much as he wants. Poor guy is seething and its not good for his health. I don’t consider Marvel movies to be high brow or life changing but this old fool has no authority to tell anyone what they should or shouldn’t consider as art. I only watch superheroes movies for entertainment. If its entertaining and lets me escape into the world of fantasy for few hours then idc about anything else.