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  1. #1

    Default Scorsese explains why he thinks Marvel movies aren't cinema

    Scorsese has an op-ed in the New York Times where he elaborates on his comments that Marvel movies are not cinema. He does not back down.

    Many franchise films are made by people of considerable talent and artistry. You can see it on the screen. The fact that the films themselves don’t interest me is a matter of personal taste and temperament. I know that if I were younger, if I’d come of age at a later time, I might have been excited by these pictures and maybe even wanted to make one myself. But I grew up when I did and I developed a sense of movies — of what they were and what they could be — that was as far from the Marvel universe as we on Earth are from Alpha Centauri.

    For me, for the filmmakers I came to love and respect, for my friends who started making movies around the same time that I did, cinema was about revelation — aesthetic, emotional and spiritual revelation. It was about characters — the complexity of people and their contradictory and sometimes paradoxical natures, the way they can hurt one another and love one another and suddenly come face to face with themselves.

    It was about confronting the unexpected on the screen and in the life it dramatized and interpreted, and enlarging the sense of what was possible in the art form.
    Some say that Hitchcock’s pictures had a sameness to them, and perhaps that’s true — Hitchcock himself wondered about it. But the sameness of today’s franchise pictures is something else again. Many of the elements that define cinema as I know it are there in Marvel pictures. What’s not there is revelation, mystery or genuine emotional danger. Nothing is at risk. The pictures are made to satisfy a specific set of demands, and they are designed as variations on a finite number of themes.

    They are sequels in name but they are remakes in spirit, and everything in them is officially sanctioned because it can’t really be any other way. That’s the nature of modern film franchises: market-researched, audience-tested, vetted, modified, revetted and remodified until they’re ready for consumption.

    Another way of putting it would be that they are everything that the films of Paul Thomas Anderson or Claire Denis or Spike Lee or Ari Aster or Kathryn Bigelow or Wes Anderson are not. When I watch a movie by any of those filmmakers, I know I’m going to see something absolutely new and be taken to unexpected and maybe even unnameable areas of experience. My sense of what is possible in telling stories with moving images and sounds is going to be expanded.

    So, you might ask, what’s my problem? Why not just let superhero films and other franchise films be? The reason is simple. In many places around this country and around the world, franchise films are now your primary choice if you want to see something on the big screen. It’s a perilous time in film exhibition, and there are fewer independent theaters than ever. The equation has flipped and streaming has become the primary delivery system. Still, I don’t know a single filmmaker who doesn’t want to design films for the big screen, to be projected before audiences in theaters.
    I think his general concern about the lack of opportunities to see a variety of films on the big screen is right, but he's wrong about Marvel films lacking variety or character complexity, at least relative to typical Hollywood blockbusters.

  2. #2
    Extraordinary Member Kirby101's Avatar
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    I love Scorsese, but he is wrong. In bigger cities there is plenty of variety, smaller towns always only had big blockbusters for the most part.

    But his golden era of "true cinema" had multple Tarzan and Universal Monster and Hopalong Cassady and so on. The 50s and 60s didn't have these type of franchises because they moved to TV. Some of his contemporaries like Lucas and Spielberg gave us great franchises.

    And of course these are good movies in the very way he describes. I mean did anyone see Tony Stark...you know.
    There came a time when the Old Gods died! The Brave died with the Cunning! The Noble perished locked in battle with unleashed Evil! It was the last day for them! An ancient era was passing in fiery holocaust!

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    All I'll say is he's being extremely disrespectful towards his peers in the film industry.

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    I enjoy Scorsese movies, but it's a bit hypocritical for him to condemn Marvel for relying on similar themes. Rarely do I find much "new" in one of his films at all.

    If movies like the ones he wants are being squeezed out of theaters I understand that...but what is squeezing me out as a viewer is the price of seeing a movie. If I'm going to get taken to the cleaners to see a movie on the big screen, I want the style of movie the is best viewed in that format. I can wait a few months to see a Scorsese movie on my home TV and pay a fraction of the cost.

  5. #5
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    well, Scorsese SHOULD just let it be.... because there's absolutely nothing he can do about it either way.

    maybe he walks into a movie theater expecting the film to deliver some sort of lofty pseudo-religious experience. that's not why most people watch films. get over it and move on. films are, at the end of the day, non-essential 'luxury items' anyways. you don't NEED films to survive. if you're a normal person with an average job then you enjoy them in your spare time. you don't try to elevate it to the highest form of artistic expression known to humanity.

    cinema is basically just the 'Art' of the motion picture. hooray.

    there's always going to be blend of ambitious 'Art Cinema', 'Mainstream Cinema', and 'Exploitation Cinema'. for every "Koyaanisqatsi" you'll have a "Gandhi", "Tootsie", "the Sword in the Stone", "Lampoon's Vacation", "Videodrome", "Plague Dogs", "Scarface", "Microwave Massacre", and "Sleepaway Camp".

    he's just experiencing the typical cultural disconnect that happens to pretty much everybody when they get "old" and society keeps evolving. it happens. I saw it with my grandparents when I was young. I saw it with my parents. I'm experiencing it right now. what I don't have patience for is how he can draw that line in the sand and act like him and his peeps are better... blah blah blah. hey, you got to pursue a career as a film maker and are, by all accounts, very good at it. so films you like are getting overlooked in favor of stuff you don't like. that's just part of life.

    but his complaint seems ridiculous and elitist at the moment-- because most people have more options for watching films now than they have ever had before. with the advent of digital streaming services, a long tradition of films being available on DVD, it's not like people are forced to only watch MCU-style blockbusters. they don't even have to go visit a theater to watch a film.

    besides, the craftsmanship is still there to be seen in MCU films. it's not as bold, or as risky, as some of the stuff that Scorsese has done (and likes)... but the craft can still be seen. even Scorsese admits as much.

    this is the guy that worked with Roger Corman, of all people, and gave us "Boxcar Bertha" long before he gave us "the Godfather"! so, maybe he should chill out a little bit. some of these franchise work-horses could end up becoming cinematic thoroughbreds later. and, even if they don't, it's not a problem. some artists will paint the Sistine Chapel and other artists will make really nicely done window curtains. it's okay. they can still show a love for their work, and a dedication to their craft either way.

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    Scorsese: These Marvel movies are all the same !
    Also Scorsese : Hey wanna see my 500th Gangster movie !

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    Incredible Member Beaddle's Avatar
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    There are a few things I would want to say about how Scorsese is mostly right. but I could get banned again because there is a blurred line here between Marvel hate bashing and honestly criticising marvel.

    All I would say is this story is nothing new, Bryan Singer already said the same thing about comic movies in 2000. Reasoned he Unusual suspected the living shit out of his xmen movies. Anyone who grew up with comic movies in the 2000s would probably understand why Scorsese thinks Marvel movies don't necessarily work today as Cinema.. Many directors who have lived in the bubble of comic films said the same thing almost 14-20 years and managed to stirred the boat away for a while but looks like comic films are back to the way the genre was in Batman and Robin or even worse.
    Last edited by Conn Seanery; 11-09-2019 at 08:52 AM. Reason: whining about temp-ban

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    Astonishing Member Vegan Daddy's Avatar
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    He needs to stop fetishizing theaters. There’s more variety and quality content than ever before thanks to streaming. In the coming months I’ll be renting 2019 art films like Parasite, The Lighthouse, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, A Hidden Life, and The Farewell. The best part is that I won’t have to sit in a theater next to some bloated corpse shoveling popcorn down his throat or some idiot’s screeching goblin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vegan Daddy View Post
    He needs to stop fetishizing theaters. There’s more variety and quality content than ever before thanks to streaming. In the coming months I’ll be renting 2019 art films like Parasite, The Lighthouse, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, A Hidden Life, and The Farewell. The best part is that I won’t have to sit in a theater next to some bloated corpse shoveling popcorn down his throat or some idiot’s screeching goblin.
    Quote for truth.

    Even the Irishman, I'll catch on Netflix.
    "Obviously not all conservatives are racists/bigots but all racists/bigots claim to be conservative"- Unknown

  10. #10
    Genesis of A Nemesis Things Fall Apart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vegan Daddy View Post
    He needs to stop fetishizing theaters. There’s more variety and quality content than ever before thanks to streaming. In the coming months I’ll be renting 2019 art films like Parasite, The Lighthouse, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, A Hidden Life, and The Farewell. The best part is that I won’t have to sit in a theater next to some bloated corpse shoveling popcorn down his throat or some idiot’s screeching goblin.
    I saw The Lighthouse this weekend and I would very much suggest you see it in the theater unless you've got a really top rate sound system. Sound design is crucial to the tone of the movie.

    I will say that I'm looking forward to seeing it again with subtitles when it's released though. I had to focus extremely hard to parse out some of Willem Defoe's lines.
    Pull List:

    Marvel Comics: Black Panther, Captain America, Invaders, X-Men, New Mutants.
    DC Comics: The Green Lantern, Legion of Super-Heroes, Far Sector.

  11. #11
    Fantastic Member Marvelgirl's Avatar
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    Coppola supports Martin, calls Marvel despicable.

    "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 said. "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."
    Ken Loach calls Marvel cynical

    I find them boring. They’re made as commodities … like hamburgers … It’s about making a commodity which will make profit for a big corporation – they’re a cynical exercise. They’re a market exercise and it has nothing to do with the art of cinema.”
    Marvel are more diet sodas Ken.

  12. #12
    Mighty Member thwhtGuardian's Avatar
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    From a certain point of view, Scorsese is right. There is a huge gulf of difference between the auteur style of film making that he espouses as true cinema and the studio driven model of the Marvel films...but he goes way off base in trying to paint a picture where his preferred style was once the norm and that the rise of films like the Marvel movies have irrevocably changed the landscape on cinema for the worse and is some brand new threat to the art that is the motion picture.

    The picture he paints is pure fiction and has been since nearly the birth of film as a creative medium. There's never been a time when the types of films he waxes poetically on have been the majority of the output in theatres...they've always been the minority and always will by their very nature. There are only so many people with the skills to write, direct and produce the kinds of films he admires, and because that number is small and the year is long that means they will always be out numbered by other types of films.

    It all comes to a lot of unnecessary hand wringing in my mind, lamenting the loss of the good old days...that never actually existed.

  13. #13
    Astonishing Member j9ac9k's Avatar
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    Some of the first moving images were porn and porn is still watched by more people than a million Marvel movies, so they need to get over themselves.

  14. #14
    Savior of the Universe Flash Gordon's Avatar
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    He's not wrong. You have to look beyond theatres for quality flicks though, tons of material on streaming.
    Follow your inner moonlight, do not hide the madness. -Ginsberg

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    Incredible Member Beaddle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Mets View Post
    Scorsese has an op-ed in the New York Times where he elaborates on his comments that Marvel movies are not cinema. He does not back down.





    I think his general concern about the lack of opportunities to see a variety of films on the big screen is right, but he's wrong about Marvel films lacking variety or character complexity, at least relative to typical Hollywood blockbusters.


    Marvel films do lack variety and character complexity. No need to rehash old thread, I will keep it in short references. Thor, Iron Man and Spiderman are stripped of any character complexity. Most MCU movies because they are light hearted and CGI driven has never offered any complexity with the story or their characters.

    That much was transparent last time and it still is now, I mean really you're trying compare the comic book movies that come out today with Batman and Robin?
    Except I was saying comic book movies have suffered a lot with their reputation from Superman 1978, Batman and Robin was one of the worst point for comic movies. With all the comic movie and marvel heavy backlash , we are kind of back to the Batman and Robin era when comic films are not even considered a real genre. Arguably it could be worse than the batman and Robin era because not many people like Scorsese never cared enough to talk about Batman and Robin.
    Last edited by Conn Seanery; 11-09-2019 at 08:59 AM.

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