There is no absolute, objective way to measure the merits and worth of any piece of art, whether it be a movie, TV show, book, album, or painting, regardless of what the internet might try to tell you. In recent weeks, fans of comic book films have been ripping themselves in half over comments made by filmmakers like Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola that have dismissed the accomplishments of these films, attempting to discredit the directors based on those opinions. While the box office numbers for the Marvel Cinematic Universe alone confirmed that millions of people love the characters and stories, it’s worth noting that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has celebrated Scorsese more times throughout his career than they have comic book movies.
Again, it’s worth reminding that neither box office totals nor awards from any organization serve as an objective authority on the merits of a piece of art.
With his 24 directing efforts, Scorsese projects have amassed 19 Oscars, from Best Picture to Best Director to various acting accolades. Meanwhile, comic book movie adaptations have only scored 16 Oscars, many of which are in the technical realm, with Black Panther tying Dick Tracy for Oscars, both earning three.
The source of the ire spawns from one off-handed remark that the filmmaker made to Empire Magazine amidst a much longer interview with Scorsese about his career.
“I don’t see them. I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema,” Scorsese admitted. “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.”
One part of this quote that fans have been wilfully misinterpreting is his admission that he tried to enjoy the films, but they weren’t for him. Some fans have taken issue with his claim that he doesn’t like them while noting he doesn’t see them, conflating that comment with the idea that he was basing his opinion on something he never even attempted to enjoy, which would be incorrect.
What we here at ComicBook.com hope to highlight is that, when an opinion is made in good faith, it is just as valid if you have made a film that earned multiple Oscars as if you have made a film that earned billions of dollars. Or, of course, just as valid if you’ve never even made a movie. While filmmakers like James Gunn, Joss Whedon, and Kevin Smith have been quick to defend the merits of superhero cinema, Robert Downey Jr. and Jon Favreau have noted that Scorsese and Coppola have a right to their opinion and their cinematic careers confirm they come from an insightful place. All of these opinions from all of these filmmakers are just as valid as one another and, while movie fans on social media have been taking hard stances on the divide, none of these opinions are objective truths.
Hopefully it’s just a matter of time before another filmmaker makes a comment about comic book movies and allows fans to move on from the subject, understanding they won’t share everyone’s opinion and will just enjoy what they like, regardless of what anyone else has to say about it.
Image courtesy of Steve Granitz/WireImage