Francis Ford Coppola has leapt to the defence of Martin Scorsese and added his heavy criticism of the Marvel Cinematic Universe which continues to dominate box office sales.
Scorsese, a cinephile with traditional tastes, has been left bewildered by the relentless success Marvel continues to enjoy with every passing release. Having been drawn into a conversation about the rise of Marvel, Scorsese was asked if he had been swept away in the surge of recent films, to which he replied: “I tried, you know?” in an interview with Esquire Magazine. “But that’s not cinema.”
He added: “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.” His comments, quite predictably, were met with instant refutal by members of the Marvel elite and, despite the furore around his criticism, Scorsese again doubled down on his opinion by adding: “The value of a film that is like a theme park film, for example, the Marvel pictures, where the theatres become amusement parks. That’s a different experience. It’s not cinema. It’s something else. Whether you go for it or not, it is something else. We shouldn’t be invaded by it,” he said after the premiere of his recent three-and-a-half-hour film.
“And so, that’s a big issue. We need the theatre owners to step up for that. To allow theatres to show films that are narrative films. A narrative film can be one long take for three hours, you know? It doesn’t have to be a conventional beginning, middle, and end,” he added.
While some major Hollywood names have come forward to criticise Scorsese, acclaimed director Francis Ford Coppola has gone the other way and backed his colleague: “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,” he said according to report in Agence France-Presse.
“I don’t know that anyone gets anything out of seeing the same movie over and over again.”
He continued, “Martin was kind when he said it’s not cinema. He didn’t say it’s despicable, which I just say it is.”
While Coppola has agreed with Scorsese on the matter, a handful of well-known names within the industry have laughed off criticism. James Gunn, who is closely affiliated to the Marvel Universe, directed Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014 before returning to helm its sequel, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, three years later lead the way when he stated: “Martin Scorsese is one of my top favourite living filmmakers,” in a post on Twitter. “I was outraged when people picketed The Last Temptation of Christ without having seen the film.
Gunn added: “I’m saddened that he’s now judging my films in the same way.”
In the same light, Samuel L. Jackson commented: “I mean that’s like saying Bugs Bunny ain’t funny. Films are films. Everybody doesn’t like his stuff either,” in an interview with Variety while appearing on the red carpet as part of the grand opening of Tyler Perry’s new studio in Atlanta. “Everybody’s got an opinion, so I mean it’s okay. Ain’t going to stop nobody from making movies,” he added.