Martin Scorsese Says Invasion of Marvel Movies “Shouldn’t Become What Our Young People Believe Is Cinema”

Goodfellas and The Irishman filmmaker Martin Scorsese, who decried Marvel movies when he said such films are “not cinema,” has expanded on comments that stirred online fury and prompted responses from filmmakers James Gunn and Francis Ford Coppola. When promoting his latest gangster epic, Scorsese said comic book-inspired movies are “taking over the theaters” before expressing beliefs “amusement park” films “shouldn’t become what our young people believe is cinema.” Scorsese’s pushback against the comic book genre comes after a report claimed Scorsese once eyed Warner Bros.’ DC Comics-inspired Joker, which has since emerged as one of the successful movies of the year, as a directing vehicle.

“The key that I’m hoping for is for theaters to continue to support narrative cinema of this kind,” Scorsese said of The Irishman Monday during Rome Film Fest, where Scorsese extolled the works of filmmakers Noah Baumbach, Wes Anderson and Paul Thomas Anderson, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Scorsese characterized his film as an exploration of the “mortality and the unraveling of a life” and “the immediate human experience” before adding The Irishman, to receive a limited theatrical release ahead of its streaming premiere on Netflix, is part of a class of films Scorsese hopes are supported by theaters.

“But right now the theaters seem to be mainly supporting the theme park, amusement park, comic book films. They’re taking over the theaters,” Scorsese said. “I think they can have those films; it’s fine. It’s just that that shouldn’t become what our young people believe is cinema. It just shouldn’t.”

Scorsese then expressed his concerns that someone as well-known as Jimmy Hoffa, played in The Irishman by Al Pacino, could be “wiped away” by time.

“This is the world we live in. Our children are, I don’t know what they’re doing with those devices. They perceive reality differently. They perceive even the concept of what history is supposed to be [differently],” he said. “How are they going to know about WWII? How are they going to know about Vietnam? What do they think of Afghanistan? What do they think of all of this? They’re perceiving it in bits and pieces. There seems to be no continuity of history.”

The director previously told Empire Magazine he doesn’t watch Marvel movies because they’re “not cinema.”

“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,” he said. “It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.”

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Coppola, famed director behind The Godfather and Apocalypse Now, supported Scorsese’s comments and furthered them when he labeled Marvel movies “despicable.”

“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,” Coppola told press in Lyon, France. “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.”