Guardians of the Galaxy's Karen Gillan: It’s Not a Bad Thing If Marvel Movies Are like “Theme Park Rides”

Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers star Karen Gillan says it’s “certainly no bad thing” if Marvel Studios' movies are like theme park rides, a phrase used by Martin Scorsese when the filmmaker said Marvel movies are “not cinema.” Scorsese made the comments when promoting The Irishman, telling Empire, “I don’t see them. I tried, you know? But that’s 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. It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.”

“I would say that there’s just different types of cinema, and I respect his type of cinema so much. He’s one of my favorite directors of all time,” Gillan said when asked to respond to Scorsese’s comments on Larry King Now. “But I do think there’s room for all types of movies. And the ones that he describes as theme park rides, I would say that that’s certainly no bad thing. I think people love going to the cinema to escape and have a communal experience and something otherworldly, so I think there’s room for everything.”

On the topic of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where Gillan plays scorned cyborg Nebula — the adopted daughter of Avengers: Endgame villain Thanos (Josh Brolin) — Gillan says Marvel films are also “quite emotionally satisfying.”

“Certainly my character,” she said. “I get to play this really interesting character who has suffered abuse from her father, and so I got to explore all the ways in which that affected her character.”

Gillan added of villain-turned-hero Nebula, “I love [her]. I don’t know if you have to like your characters, but I think you have to understand where they’re coming from. I feel like her lawyer. I’m the person that’s gonna justify why she does what she does.”

Marvel Studios president and producer Kevin Feige echoed Gillan's comments in a November appearance on The Hollywood Reporter's Awards Chatter podcast, where Feige broke silence on an op-ed penned by Scorsese, in which the director said Marvel movies don't take risks.

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“I think that's not true. I think it's unfortunate,” Feige said. “I think myself and everybody that works on these movies loves cinema, loves movies, loves going to the movies, loves to watch a communal experience in a movie theater full of people... I think it's fun for us to take our success and use it to take risks and go in different places.”

He continued, “Everybody has a different definition of cinema. Everybody has a different definition of art. Everybody has a different definition of risk. Some people don't think it's cinema. Everybody is entitled to their opinion. Everyone is entitled to repeat that opinion. Everyone is entitled to write op-eds about that opinion. And I look forward to what will happen next. But in the meantime, we're going to keep making movies.”

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