Director Francis Ford Coppola is backing Martin Scorsese’s criticisms of Marvel Studios films. Beyond what Scorsese says, Coppola took and even more aggressive stance. “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,” Coppola told journalists in Lyon, France after receiving the Prix Lumiere award (via Yahoo News). “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.”
Scorsese’s comments about the success of Marvel films during an interview set off this conversation. “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.”
Director Kevin Smith defended Marvel films in an interview. “My feeling is, Martin Scorsese never sat in a movie theater with his dad and watched the movies of Steven Spielberg in the early ’80s or George Lucas in the late ’70s,” Smith continued He didn’t feel that sense of magic and wonder. I can still step into one of those comic book movies, divorce myself of that fact that I do this for a living, release, and my dead dad is back for a minute, for two hours,. And it’s personal for a lot of the audience. You know, and we’re not arguing whether or not it counts as cinema. I guarantee you there’s something he enjoyed with his parents, like a musical — I bet you some cats would say, ‘A musical is not really cinema,’ but Martin Scorsese grew up on musicals, and I bet they mean a lot to him. These [Marvel] movies come from a core. They come from a happy childhood. And they’re reflections of a happy childhood. He’s not wrong, but at the same time, neither are we for loving those movies. And they are cinema.”
What do you think of Coppola’s comments? Let us know in the comments section.
Image via Alain BENAINOUS/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images