The Marvel Cinematic Universe has spanned over a decade, dominated the cultural conversation and, thanks to Black Panther, even won an Oscar. But according to Martin Scorsese, the 23 and counting entries in Marvel’s epic superhero canon don’t count as real films. It’s safe to say he is not a fan: the director made some pretty disparaging remarks about the MCU during a recent interview with Empire, in which he discussed his new movie The Irishman.
“I don’t see them,” he said. “I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema… It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.” (Such a comment could only have been made by somebody who hadn’t witnessed the “on your left” scene from Endgame.)
He went on to say that the action-packed adventure of Marvel movies have more in common with a fairground attraction: “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.”
While the MCU machine is certainly well-oiled at this point, churning out an ever-multiplying array of new team-ups, sequels and TV shows, sneeringly dismissing the sheer wealth of creative talent that goes into telling these stories reeks of snobbery.
Of course, Scorsese might be inclined to look a little more favorably on DC movies, given that the recently released Joker has been described by critics as a slavish homage to two of Scorsese’s most famous films, Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy. According to director Todd Phillips, Scorsese very nearly came on board that movie as an executive producer — so maybe he only considers something “cinema” if it has his name on it.