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Martin Scorsese says Marvel films are "not cinema" and compares them to theme parks


Martin Scorsese, never shy to express his opinion, has offered up his thoughts on the ever-expanding influence the Marvel Universe is having on the film industry.

The iconic director, who is famed for his work on pictures such as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Goodfellas, has again found himself at the centre of widespread acclaim as he releases his latest film The Irishman.

Given yet more success for Scorsese, the filmmaker was drawn into a conversation about contemporary cinema as a spurt of superhero films continue to dominate box office sales. The rise in superhero film popularity was compounded last year when Avengers: Endgame, the Disney backed project produced by Marvel Studios, became the highest grossing film in history when it came close to reaching $3billion at box office.

Asked if he has been swept away in the surge of Marvel films, Scorsese 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.”

Scorsese is not the first Hollywood A-lister to express this point of view on the Marvel Universe, his words echoing that of actor Ethan Hawke who said: “Now we have the problem that they tell us ‘Logan’ is a great movie,” in an interview with Film Stage last year. “Well, it’s a great superhero movie. It still involves people in tights with metal coming out of their hands. It’s not Bresson. It’s not Bergman. But they talk about it like it is. I went to see ‘Logan’ ‘cause everyone was like, ‘This is a great movie’ and I was like, ‘Really? No, this is a fine superhero movie.’

“There’s a difference, but big business doesn’t think there’s a difference. Big business wants you to think that this is a great film because they wanna make money off of it.”

[MORE] – Martin Scorsese lists his 12 favourite films of all time