Marvel Studios films have received pointed criticism in recent comments from critically-acclaimed directors. Martin Scorsese said that the films are "not cinema" and Francis Ford Coppola went further, calling the films "despicable." Benedict Cumberbatch plays Doctor Strange for Marvel Studios. Speaking Jenny McCarthy, Cumberbatch explains how lucky actors like himself and Tom Holland — Cumberbatch's co-star in the most recent Avengers movies and the new historical drama The Current War — are to be able to find work in a variety of films. "I know there's been a lot of debate lately with really very fine filmmakers coming to the fore saying that these film franchises are taking over everything, but lucky us actors who get to do both kinds of variety at either polarity of budgeting."
Cumberbatch goes on to say that he agrees with Scorsese as far as making sure films with smaller budgets are still supported in theaters. "And I agree," he says. "We don't want one king to rule it all and have a kind of monopoly and hopefully, that's not the case and we should really look into continuing our filmmakers at every level." But he did defend the artistic merits of the films. "It is a form of artistry. However it's denigrated by some, I think it still requires a hell of a lot of craft at a very high level and the popularity speaks to that as well as whatever else it's about."
Scorsese sparked this discussion with comments about Marvel's success during a recent interview. "I don't see them. I tried, you know? But that's not cinema," he said. "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 doubled down on those comments during an event tied to the release of his latest film, The Irishman. "The value of a film that's like a theme park film, for example, the Marvel type pictures where the theaters become amusement parks, that's a different experience," he said. "As I was saying earlier, it's not cinema, it's something else. Whether you go for that or not, it is something else and we shouldn't be invaded by it. And so that's a big issue, and we need the theater owners to step up for that to allow theaters to show films that are narrative films."
The Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola backed Scorsese, telling journalists in Lyon, France that "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. 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."
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