Black Panther Star Chadwick Boseman Disputes Martin Scorsese’s Claim There's Nothing at Risk in Marvel Movies

Black Panther and Avengers: Endgame star Chadwick Boseman disagrees with filmmaker Martin Scorsese’s stance that Marvel movies don’t take risks after Scorsese said Marvel movies are “not cinema” when promoting latest gangster epic The Irishman. Expanding on his comments in an op-ed published by The New York Times, Scorsese wrote, “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.”

“It’s not bearing on me. I’m not trying to, in any way, talk [bad] about Scorsese. I’m only responding to the question because he initiated the conversation,” Boseman said on BUILD Series when promoting new movie 21 Bridges. “Scorsese is one of the greatest directors we’ve had in the history of film, and I haven’t seen his new movie, but I cannot wait.”

Boseman then admitted he doesn’t feel the need to argue for the Ryan Coogler-directed Black Panther “because I know what we did.”

“I know that if I look at what his criteria is for cinema, well, that’s what we did. Even down to not just the risk of the film, but the risk of the characters. You’re watching our movie — now I’m defending it — but when you watch our movie, you think I’m dead. You think my character is dead,” the star said, referring to a critical point in Black Panther when Boseman’s newly crowned Wakandan king T’Challa is seemingly killed by cousin Erik ‘Killmonger’ Stevens (Michael B. Jordan), who usurps the throne.

“We don’t know what happens to the Heart-Shaped Herb. The culture is at risk. Will there even be any more Black Panthers at a certain point? That’s part of the end of the movie. So the whole foundation of our culture is at risk,” Boseman said. “That’s one of his points. So I look at it and I say, well, maybe he didn’t watch my movie. I’m not pointing any blame to anyone, maybe he didn’t watch it. And I would even say that’s sort of normal.”

In a previous conversation with BBC Radio, Boseman said he suspected Scorsese’s anti-Marvel comments were a means of promoting the Netflix-backed Irishman.

“It’s an in-house conversation. He’s basically campaigning for an award, right?” Boseman told BUILD. “And as he talks about his movie, he’s talking about the state of film right now, the state of making movies, and he has a right to do that. But at the same time, movies change. Everything is about fusion, creativity is about fusing things together.”

Boseman then cited Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man, Thor and Black Panther, saying those films are different from what used to be standard superhero fare.

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“That’s not the way superhero movies were made years ago. That’s creativity, that’s art, that’s us finding ways to make movies that you didn’t think of, and that’s why it works,” he said. “But he’s a bad man, and you have to listen to what he’s saying at the same time, because his wealth of knowledge about film, and what he’s seeing happening to movies, it also is telling us what we need to do to make sure that things stay the same. There’s like a sanctity of going to the theater and enjoying that while we’re in this age where you can just download it or just stream it, and that’s important, too. So there’s a balance there. I’m talking about both sides because both sides are actually necessary in order for us to really enjoy movies, the best ways.”

Boseman next returns as King T’Challa in Black Panther II, in theaters May 6, 2022.