Ever since Martin Scorsese originally commented on the subject of Marvel movies more and more from Hollywood have chimed in on the subject, specifically the barrage of superhero movies in general and the debate on whether those films can be or should be called cinema. One of the more divisive statements came from director Francis Ford Coppola, who in his comments used the word despicable, but in a new interview with Deadline the director clarifies those comments, and it seems his original words were mistranslated. According to Coppola the term despicable was not meant to be a description of superhero films, but a description of films made as commerce over art, and he offered up some new comments about the subject as well.
"Personally I don't like the idea of franchises, the notion that you can keep repeating what is essentially the same movie for financial gain — in other words what is a formulaic approach," Coppola said. "I feel that approach is taken to reduce the economic risk of movies and I feel the 'risk factor' is an element that makes movies sometimes be great. Also the formulaic film draws most available resources to them, leaving little for more daring productions, reducing diversity."
"In some ways I think the cinema is like food; certainly you can add things to make it tempting, tasty and enjoyable but it must also be nutritious to qualify as real food," Coppola said.
Deadline also offered up the correct translation of his initial comments, which you can see below.
"You know I'm sure you're extracting from whatever Martin said. The gist of his statement," Coppola said when asked about Scorsese's comments. "If you asked him is there is cinematic talent, cinematic expression, is there great even work in certain Marvel films, he would say yes. But what his point his, is that the concept of the Marvel film which has eaten up all the oxygen, which is to say the resources is not really is more of a theme park ride than what we would call cinema. Yes, I agree with him. (Pause for translation) But also television commercials is cinema – but is it a beautiful form of cinema? No."
He was then asked why there is no new new Hollywood considering the state of things regarding political turmoil.
"Well you know because of the lack of risk in the production. Marty Scorsese says that the Marvel picture is not cinema, he's right because we expect to learn something from cinema, we expect to gain some enlightenment, some knowledge, some inspiration. Arguably, I don't know that anyone gets anything out of seeing the same movie over and over again, which is the Marvel movies. A thing that has no risk to it, I've said before, making a film without risk is like making a baby without sex. Part of it is risk, and that's what make it so interesting, that's why we learn so much when it's made.
Also, there is a philosophy that a person of riches can be just or unjust. It's very important when you talk about it. To gain riches unjustly, just uses up, it doesn't contribute. Wealth is only what is just, what brings more to the society. Cinema is the same way. Real cinema brings something, a wonderful gift to society. It doesn't just take money and make people rich. That's despicable. (Pause for translation) So Martin was kind when he said it's not cinema, he didn't say it's despicable, which I just said it is."
So what do you think of Coppola's comments now, and does this change your mind?