Pow! More celebrities are clapping back at The Irishman director Martin Scorsese after he likened Marvel films to amusement parks – while admitting he’d never seen any.
“I don’t see them. I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema,” the 76-year-old told Empire magazine of the billion-dollar film franchise.
“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.”
Scorsese, who has previously said he’s not a fan of Rocky films or some Steven Spielberg offerings, added that the films lack people “trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being”.
Nine-time MCU heavy hitter Samuel L Jackson (Nick Fury), responded bluntly to the director’s smear.
“I mean that’s like saying Bugs Bunny ain’t funny. Films are films,” Jackson told Variety at the opening of Tyler Perry’s new studio in Atlanta, Georgia.
“Everybody doesn’t like his stuff either.
“Everybody’s got an opinion, so I mean it’s OK. Ain’t going to stop nobody from making movies.”
Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn said in a Twitter thread he’s “saddened” by the Goodfellas director’s take on Marvel projects.
“Martin Scorsese is one of my 5 favorite living filmmakers. I was outraged when people picketed The Last Temptation of Christ without having seen the film,” wrote Gunn.
“I’m saddened that he’s now judging my films in the same way.”
Martin Scorsese is one of my 5 favorite living filmmakers. I was outraged when people picketed The Last Temptation of Christ without having seen the film. I’m saddened that he’s now judging my films in the same way. https://t.co/hzHp8x4Aj8
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) October 4, 2019
In a different tweet, Gunn added, What I’m saying is I’m not fond of people judging things without actually seeing them, whether it’s a movie about Jesus or a genre.”
Filmmaker Joss Whedon, a frequent MCU collaborator, took to Twitter to highlight Gunn’s “hearts and guts” contributions to pop culture movies.
“I revere Marty, and I do see his point, but … well, there’s a reason why ‘I’m always angry’.”
Director Peter Ramsey (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) used the stick and carrot approach in responding to Scorsese. First calling him “a god”, he added, “Marvel movies are fun and good. Chill”.
Australian screenwriter Leigh Whannell (Saw, Dead Silence) was similarly conciliatory.
I worship Martin Scorsese. Also, some of the Marvel films fill me with the same action movie bliss I got watching 'RoboCop' as a kid. Also, I wrote a film about an evil ventriloquist puppet who ripped out people's tongues so I have no business commenting on anyone else's films.
— Leigh Whannell (@LWhannell) October 5, 2019
Marvel star Karen Gillan, who plays Nebula in the Guardians of the Galaxy series, had her own crack at the fabled director, lecturing him on the definition of cinema.
“I would absolutely say that Marvel movies are cinema,” Gillan told The Hollywood Reporter at the 10th anniversary Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic Los Angeles on October 5.
“Cinema is storytelling with visuals.”
Other movie fans jumped into the debate, many in support of Marvel.
“It’s like saying The Iliad and The Odyssey, Beowulf or The Epic of Gilgamesh are not literature. They are just as arguable in the super hero genre,” tweeted one.
Rotten Tomatoes writer Scott Weinberg tweeted he did not think Scorsese insulted superhero movies by comparing them to a Disneyland experience.
“I think what Scorsese is describing is the difference between ‘serious’ films and ‘fun’ escapism. Nothing more,” he said on Twitter.
The debate between "high" art and "low" art has been argued for centuries.
Arthouse limited release = high art
Blockbuster hit fart comedy = low art
I don't think Scorsese actually insulted superhero movies by calling them theme park rides. At least not intentionally.
— Scott WeinBorg (@scottEweinberg) October 4, 2019
The Irishman, which will be available for streaming on Netflix on November 27, has a rare Rotten Tomatoes rating of 100 per cent before its official release.
The MCU’s latest cinematic release Spider-Man: Far From Home has a rating of 90 per cent. The highest-rated Marvel film is 2018’s Black Panther with 97 per cent.
It took $US1 billion in worldwide takings after four weeks, won the top prize at the Screen Actors Guild Awards and was nominated for best picture at this year’s Oscars.
Avengers: Endgame has a rating of 94 per cent.
In July, Endgame broke the record held by James Cameron’s Avatar to become the highest-grossing film of all time. Its global box office is over $4.1 billion.
According to BoxOfficeMojo, Scorsese’s top-earning movie is 2013’s The Wolf of Wall Street, with $580 million, followed by Shutter Island (2010, $435 million) and The Departed (2006, $431 million.)