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Scorcese says Marvel films are essentially 'theme parks', 'not cinema'

Revolutionary

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With over a half a century of filmmaking to his credit, Scorsese has undeniably taken his place as one of the greatest directors in the history of cinema. A cinephile in the truest sense, Scorsese has loved movies his entire life, and the influence of the vast cinematic experiences he’s collected over the years is deeply felt in the work he produces.
...
While Scorsese’s opinion about cinema has frequently been sought by entertainment journalists and filmmakers alike, it’s more common to hear the famed director speak about the films (old or new) that he likes than those he doesn’t. Most recently during an interview with Empire, however, Scorsese revealed his opinions about one of the biggest moneymakers going in Hollywood today – comic book movies, or more specifically in this case, Marvel movies. When the subject of the Marvel Cinematic Universe came up, Scorsese had the following to say:
“I don’t see them. I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema. 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.”


As expected, MCU fans and shills on Twitter are freaking out, even going as far as to call him jealous :messenger_tears_of_joy:

Edit: I misspelled Scorsese's name in the title. Apologies to Mr. Scorsese
 
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Miku Miku

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Ridiculous statement. There's no way to really rationalize anything he's saying without sounding like a complete snob.

It's cinema. And he doesn't like, and that's fine. And he doesn't like that audiences only like these now, and that's also fine. But it's still cinema.
 

Birdo

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I can kind of see what he means. They are "Movie of The Week". A big deal today, forgotten tomorrow.

I tried watching Guardians of The Galaxy again the other day. Couldn't get through it. I loved it back then, but the buzz is gone.....
 

TheCockatrice

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As expected, MCU fans and shills on Twitter are freaking out, even going as far as to call him jealous
Freaking out? Is that what you call rational opinions these days? Because his opinion is as dumb as it can get. To say that Marvel movies don't convey emotion is pretty much jealousy or complete stupidity. You may dislike the movies but don't tell someone they should not get emotional when watching these movies.
 
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Miku Miku

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I can kind of see what he means. They are "Movie of The Week". A big deal today, forgotten tomorrow.

I tried watching Guardians of The Galaxy again the other day. Couldn't get through it. I loved it back then, but the buzz is gone.....
Same for comedies, or action movies, or or tons of stuff. It's still movies.
 

YukiOnna

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Movies are movies, if you weren't able to enjoy them then it ends there. Could be dogshit XYZ tier, but it's something you sit down and watch.
 

ROMhack

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Well, the main issue I have with the Marvel films is that they aren't good if you don't like superhero stuff. I can sit through popcorn fluff like Detective Pikablue and The Speedy Furious and have an okay time but Marvel films bore me rigid. They're just so completely obvious about themselves and seem to rely on people being #HYPED about seeing comic book heroes on screen.

I said it in the other thread but I can totally see why Scorsese, who himself is an ardent fan of slower more methodical films and not a comic book guy, might find it difficult to like them.

Edit: I mean that first paragraph in a non-judgmental way. Like, I know people are hype about that shit and it's cool.
 
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crowbrow

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Well it's cinema but it's brainless, shit cinema. It's like saying Mac and Cheese is italian food. Technically correct but no. I had fun with some of those movies but after a while they started looking like clones of each other and got tired of the same brainless crap. I think the last one I watched was Dr. Strange.
 

Revolutionary

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Ridiculous statement. There's no way to really rationalize anything he's saying without sounding like a complete snob.

It's cinema. And he doesn't like, and that's fine. And he doesn't like that audiences only like these now, and that's also fine. But it's still cinema.
It's theme park cinema :)

Seriously though, he's clearly generalizing because there are a handful of Marvel movies that break the mold, but most are little more than theme parks. Most of them even have the same third act, filled with CG fighting that makes me want to fall asleep.

Freaking out? Is that what you call rational opinions these days? Because his opinion is as dumb as it can get. To say that Marvel movies don't convey emotion is pretty much jealousy or complete stupidity. You may dislike the movies but don't tell someone they should not get emotional when watching these movies.
Again with the jealousy claim. The director of Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, etc. is totes jealous of Captain Marvel! 🤷‍♀️ Come on, dude. That is in no way a rational thought.

As for getting emotional while watching these films: yes - that's what they are designed to do at those specific moments when the music swells and there is forced sentimentality for character A B or C. Didn't your heart swell when Captain Marvel's mentor guy died? I don't even remember his name but it was oh so sad.
 

Fbh

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Just sounds like his way of saying they are dumb movies designed to have fun for a couple of hours which is pretty much what they are..... you know...like Shutter Island
 
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TheCockatrice

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It's theme park cinema :)

Seriously though, he's clearly generalizing because there are a handful of Marvel movies that break the mold, but most are little more than theme parks. Most of them even have the same third act, filled with CG fighting that makes me want to fall asleep.


Again with the jealousy claim. The director of Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, etc. is totes jealous of Captain Marvel! 🤷‍♀️ Come on, dude. That is in no way a rational thought.

As for getting emotional while watching these films: yes - that's what they are designed to do at those specific moments when the music swells and there is forced sentimentality for character A B or C. Didn't your heart swell when Captain Marvel's mentor guy died? I don't even remember his name but it was oh so sad.
Ah you're one of those guys. Hillarious how you picked one of the worst movies in the entire universe just to make a stupid point. Heres the thing, some people enjoyed Captain Marvel. Who are you to say they are wrong or lying if they got emotional? Gtfo.
 
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dan76

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I think he's right, they're all garbage. It's ok to like garbage, as long as you know... it's garbage. I'm embarrassed for the actors in them, you can just see the dollar signs in their eyes.
 
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#Phonepunk#

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the man speaks the truth. he has worked in the craft for his entire life, he's not bs-ing around. his "cinema" is specifically in the traditional film framework, he is talking in relation to the history of the medium.

almost all comic movies are dumb as fuck. everyone wants to be Joseph Campbell without doing any of the homework and it shows. plotwise and theming wise, it is mostly just jumping from one setpiece to another, much like a theme park. there is no deep dive into anything of substance, it's largely a commercial for itself.

but it is ok to like dumb movies. people loved stupid 50s flying saucer movies, now they love stupid flying superhuman movies. there is nothing wrong with enjoying trash. i would say at least 50s trash movies had something to say about atomic energy and the cold war, whereas nowadays our trash films comment on nothing much at all.
 
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Skyr

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"not cinema". Just call it by it's name and say that they are mass market tailored artistic trash.

I don't blame people for enjoying them. Each to their own.
What really boggles my mind is how well these movies are reviewed by critics in a consistent manner.
 
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Clear

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Scorcese is unequivocally, absolutely, correct.

They are Disneyland; artfully crafted, expertly engineered, and utterly soulless. Which isn't any reflection on their essential quality as product, just that like all things built as merchandising vehicles, their shelf-life is pretty limited.

Consider the number of comic-book movies released since the turn of the century, how many from the first decade do people still talk about? The exact same thing is going to be true of recent offerings in the future. They are disposable by design.
 

Revolutionary

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Ah you're one of those guys. Hillarious how you picked one of the worst movies in the entire universe just to make a stupid point. Heres the thing, some people enjoyed Captain Marvel. Who are you to say they are wrong or lying if they got emotional? Gtfo.
Dude, I can literally play Mad Libs with my post and it's still valid.

Again with the jealousy claim. The director of Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, etc. is totes jealous of Endgame! 🤷‍♀️ Come on, dude. That is in no way a rational thought.

As for getting emotional while watching these films: yes - that's what they are designed to do at those specific moments when the music swells and there is forced sentimentality for character A B or C. Didn't your heart swell when Hawkeye's wife died? I don't even remember her name but it was oh so sad.
And to be clear, I never said anything negative about people who enjoy MCU. It's fine if you do, no one cares.
I just thought some of the Twitter reactions were hilarious, that's all! :)
 

Miku Miku

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Scorcese is unequivocally, absolutely, correct.

They are Disneyland; artfully crafted, expertly engineered, and utterly soulless. Which isn't any reflection on their essential quality as product, just that like all things built as merchandising vehicles, their shelf-life is pretty limited.

Consider the number of comic-book movies released since the turn of the century, how many from the first decade do people still talk about? The exact same thing is going to be true of recent offerings in the future. They are disposable by design.
He's not correct though. It's fine to not like a movie, but to try and gatekeep to that extent that you claim it's not "cinema" is absurd.

Roger Ebert stood out to me as a critic because he could navigate art house cinema, and mainstream audience cinema equally skillfully. While most people would shit on martial arts movies and look down on them, he consistently compared Jackie Chan to Charlie Chaplin and praised him as one of the greatest living talents in the medium.

Superhero movies still do some stuff well, like world building, and creating this web of continuous storylines. Some have some good comedy. Some have some good special effects. A handful actually have fantastic action sequences, like Winter Soldier and Civil War.

There's really no criteria you can think of to exclude these from "cinema," without excluding thousands and thousands of other movies. Pretty much all comedies. All action movies. All martial arts movies. Probably a decent chunk of horror movies. All so you can sit on your high horse and act like the only thing cinema can be is oscar-bait.
 

Miku Miku

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And I think the only reason the "jealousy" charge sounds more and more accurate to me, is that this kind of criticism only started once the MCU became as successful as it is now.

No one said Superman isn't cinema. No one said Tim Burton's Batman isn't cinema. No one said the Nolan trilogy isn't cinema. No one said Blade isn't cinema.

But now that the MCU is super financially successful, and Scorsese is on Netflix, it's suddenly not cinema. What a coincidence. And the MCU movies are light years better than all the previous superhero movies, but they get more criticism? That makes zero sense. The only thing that changed other than the quality drastically increasing, is the financial situation changed. Now MCU movies are phenomenally successful, and Scorsese isn't even in the theater.

But sure, he's not at all jealous.

And this is the same guy gatekeeping the oscars too, along with Spielberg, claiming it can't even be counted as a motion picture if it comes out on Netflix like Roma did, and has to be in the theaters. They also think digital distribution makes a movie not a movie anymore. Sound logical to you? Do video games become "not videogames" if they are released digitally only and not in the stores or arcades?
 
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strange headache

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He's right. Most of these superhero movies are basically a bunch of set pieces and action scenes strung together by a loose narrative thread. Sure, they can be fun to watch for the spectacle, but they are a far cry from cinematic artistry. The first couple of movies were entertaining, but the more movies Marvel/DC are pumping out, the more I'm losing interest.

The fact that movies like Black Panther are lauded as some kind of masterpieces is absolutely bewildering since they offer almost no narrative substance. Now, I'm not arguing that every movie needs to be an artsy European indie flick, but in the end, there's just not a whole lot to take away from these movies except colorful effects and explosions. That's fine, I enjoy my silly 90s action flicks too, but I'd never consider them anything more than a guilty pleasure.

I don't understand how people can take these movies seriously with an almost fanatic reverence. Marvel superhero movies pale in comparison to stuff like Taxi Driver, Gangs of New York, The Departed or Boardwalk Empire. It's alright to enjoy silly stuff, but one should never treat is as anything more than vacuous entertainment. The people who are pissed at Scorsese for saying this are the very same ones who like to put their superhero movies on a pedestal as some kind of meaningful movie-making. It's not, that's fine, but don't be lying to yourselves.
 
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ruvikx

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I don't understand how people can take these movies seriously with an almost fanatic reverence.
This, basically.

I wouldn't mind or even bother commenting if people were honest Michael Bay-esque fans of the spectacle on display & just wanted to have a good time (with popcorn, jokes & explosions). But no, we get inspection, introspection & millions of internet pages/youtube videos featuring dissection of a mind numbingly non-existent "expanded universe" superhero plot in movies made for kiddies.

It's like the kids who obsessed over the plots of Saturday morning cartoons (Gargoyles, Batman etc.) never grew up & still take this stuff seriously when they're adults. That wouldn't even be so bad (hey, each to their own), but Marvel fans insist on spreading their stuff & shoving it in our face like it's the Jesus Christ of the seventh art. Goddamn. It's just freaks in costumes with superpowers. Whoop-dee-doo.
 

ROMhack

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the man speaks the truth. he has worked in the craft for his entire life, he's not bs-ing around. his "cinema" is specifically in the traditional film framework, he is talking in relation to the history of the medium.

almost all comic movies are dumb as fuck. everyone wants to be Joseph Campbell without doing any of the homework and it shows. plotwise and theming wise, it is mostly just jumping from one setpiece to another, much like a theme park. there is no deep dive into anything of substance, it's largely a commercial for itself.

but it is ok to like dumb movies. people loved stupid 50s flying saucer movies, now they love stupid flying superhuman movies. there is nothing wrong with enjoying trash. i would say at least 50s trash movies had something to say about atomic energy and the cold war, whereas nowadays our trash films comment on nothing much at all.
They comment on the hollowness at the soul of man and for that we shall be forever indebted.
 

Miku Miku

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Fucking based. They're popcorn action movies for children. People need to stop being so insecure of what they like. They are flicks. Not cinema, not movies, not kino, and not pictures.
Definition of cinema

1a: MOTION PICTURE —usually used attributively
b: a motion-picture theater
2a: MOVIESespecially : the film industry
b: the art or technique of making motion pictures

Everyone can say they don't like a movie. There are bad movies, childish movies, shitty movies, bland movies, derivative movies. But to smugly claim it's not even a movie is ridiculous. I can't believe people go along with that. It has nothing to do with "taking the movies seriously." It's literally just asking for the absolute bare minimum recognition that it's a movie. I guess movies are only movies if they deal with mobsters or complex psychology. You guys have no idea how many movies this disqualifies.
 
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ROMhack

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This, basically.

I wouldn't mind or even bother commenting if people were honest Michael Bay-esque fans of the spectacle on display & just wanted to have a good time (with popcorn, jokes & explosions). But no, we get inspection, introspection & millions of internet pages/youtube videos featuring dissection of a mind numbingly non-existent "expanded universe" superhero plot in movies made for kiddies.

It's like the kids who obsessed over the plots of Saturday morning cartoons (Gargoyles, Batman etc.) never grew up & still take this stuff seriously when they're adults. That wouldn't even be so bad (hey, each to their own), but Marvel fans insist on spreading their stuff & shoving it in our face like it's the Jesus Christ of the seventh art. Goddamn. It's just freaks in costumes with superpowers. Whoop-dee-doo.
Michael Bay is a good comparison. His movies are universally regarded as silly fun and most Marvel movies are similar (the same??) yet treated with reverence. It's a weird world.

Some may even say a clown world.
 
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brap

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Definition of cinema

1a: MOTION PICTURE —usually used attributively
b: a motion-picture theater
2a: MOVIESespecially : the film industry
b: the art or technique of making motion pictures

Everyone can say they don't like a movie. There are bad movies, childish movies, shitty movies, bland movies, derivative movies. But to smugly claim it's not even a movie is ridiculous. I can't believe people go along with that. It has nothing to do with "taking the movies seriously." It's literally just asking for the absolute bare minimum recognition that it's a movie. I guess movies are only movies if they deal with mobsters or complex psychology. You guys have no idea how many movies this disqualifies.
They aren't motion pictures either. They're focused tested assembly line flicks made for the lowest common denominator.
 

Miku Miku

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Michael Bay is a good comparison. His movies are universally regarded as silly fun and most Marvel movies are similar (the same??) yet treated with reverence. It's a weird world.

Some may even say a clown world.
Is Enter the Dragon a movie?
 
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strange headache

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Definition of cinema

1a: MOTION PICTURE —usually used attributively
b: a motion-picture theater
2a: MOVIESespecially : the film industry
b: the art or technique of making motion pictures
You're being disingenuous because you're using a definition that is not meant by Scorsese, try this instead:

art film
(redirected from Art Cinema)
art film
n.
A film intended to be a serious artistic work, often experimental and not designed for mass appeal.
n.
a motion picture made primarily for aesthetic reasons rather than commercial profit.
[1925–30]

I wouldn't mind or even bother commenting if people were honest Michael Bay-esque fans of the spectacle on display & just wanted to have a good time (with popcorn, jokes & explosions).
I think people are so narcissistic, they are having a hard time admitting that their tastes are just not that elaborate. Marvel movies are lowest-common denominator entertainment, but fans just don't want to admit that because they want to feel special.
 

Miku Miku

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You're being disingenuous because you're using a definition that is not meant by Scorsese, try this instead:

art film
(redirected from Art Cinema)
art film
n.
A film intended to be a serious artistic work, often experimental and not designed for mass appeal.
n.
a motion picture made primarily for aesthetic reasons rather than commercial profit.
[1925–30]



I think people are so narcissistic, they are having a hard time admitting that their tastes are just not that elaborate. Marvel movies are lowest-common denominator entertainment, but fans just don't want to admit that because they want to feel special.
Yeah, obviously they're not art films. No one thinks they are. That's also not what he said.
 
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ROMhack

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Is Enter the Dragon a movie?
The Bruce Lee one? I'm unsure why you'd mention that but sure, it's a cheesy b-movie packed with lots of martial arts moves, interesting from a cultural perspective insofar as popularizing that aspect of Eastern culture style to a western audience. It's also a good comparison because whilst those moves were real - albeit added by camerawork - the CGI in most Marvel movies is not.

In order to advertise the film, the studio offered free Karate classes, produced thousands of illustrated flip books, comic books, posters, photographs, and organized dozens of news releases, interviews, and public appearances for the stars.

Again, pretty cool from a cultural perspective.
 
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strange headache

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Yeah, obviously they're not art films. No one thinks they are. That's also not what he said.
That is exactly what he said. You wouldn't consider McDonald's fine cuisine would you? Fast food is to culinary art what Marvel movies are to cinema.
 

Miku Miku

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That is exactly what he said. You wouldn't consider McDonald's fine cuisine would you? Fast food is to culinary art what Marvel movies are to cinema.
No, it's not. And he specifically tried to push it out of the word "cinema." He didn't say "art cinema." He also has tried to push other movies out of oscar consideration. He chose his words on purpose. You have to use an entirely different word from what he said to argue in favor of it. I used the word he said, and showed the definition. You did not.

The Bruce Lee one? I'm unsure why you'd mention that but sure, it's a cheesy b-movie packed with lots of martial arts moves, interesting from a cultural perspective insofar as popularizing that aspect of Eastern culture style to a western audience. It's also a good comparison because whilst those moves were real - albeit added by camerawork - the CGI in most Marvel movies is not.

In order to advertise the film, the studio offered free Karate classes, produced thousands of illustrated flip books, comic books, posters, photographs, and organized dozens of news releases, interviews, and public appearances for the stars.

Again, pretty cool from a cultural perspective.
A cheesy b-movie packed with martial arts action.

Does it explore the human condition or complex psychology? How it is a movie then and MCU stuff is not?
 
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strange headache

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No, it's not. And he specifically tried to push it out of the word "cinema." He didn't say "art cinema." He also has tried to push other movies out of oscar consideration. He chose his words on purpose. You have to use an entirely different word from what he said to argue in favor of it. I used the word he said, and showed the definition. You did not.
Stop sidestepping my argument. He's clearly referring to cinema as an art-form.
Asking Scorsese about Marvel movies is like asking Joël Robuchon about Burger King. What other answer did you expect?
 

Miku Miku

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Stop sidestepping my argument. He's clearly referring to cinema as an art-form.
Asking Scorsese about Marvel movies is like asking Joël Robuchon about Burger King. What other answer did you expect?
They're shitty, shallow movies and I don't like them. A fine opinion for anyone to have.
 
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Miku Miku

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Which is exactly what Scorsese said, although in a more elaborate manner.
Yeah, I can read what he said. Words have meanings, and he used different words than I did. And that's why it's a headline that people find inflammatory.

I don't think anyone would lose any sleep over him saying he doesn't like the movies and finds them shallow. But instead he says they are not cinema, meaning, they are not movies. That's what the sentence means in reality, when referencing a dictionary. And he then compares it to a theme park, which is also not a movie. The meaning is pretty clear to me.
 
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Trojita

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Scorcese said:
It isn't the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being
Imagine him saying something like this about the original Ghostbusters lol.
 
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ROMhack

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A cheesy b-movie packed with martial arts action.

Does it explore the human condition or complex psychology? How it is a movie then and MCU stuff is not?
No and you aren't going to get me to defend the film. I'm happy to put it in the same popcorn flick bracket.

Edit:

Maybe that doesn't sum up my feelings very well. I personally believe Scorsese is wrong to insist on elitist thinking but cutting to the core of his point, he's probably right in implying these films don't have much going for them outside of the fun 'thrill ride' aspect. However, that might be less true for kids who could watch these movies and could take something from them.

For example, two of my favourite films as a kid were Rocky and Indiana Jones. Now, I don't really love either movie as much these days but they were invaluable in instilling a strong love of cinema and hence did play a pretty valuable role in my upbringing. The fact I spent time watching those over and over really changed my view on film, albeit in embyro (if you will).

So yeah, as an adult now, which Scorsese also is because he's a old frigging geezer, I do get his point (I think) which is to say that these films aren't for the discerning gentlemen of this world.
 
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brap

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A cheesy b-movie packed with martial arts action.

Does it explore the human condition or complex psychology? How it is a movie then and MCU stuff is not?
What exactly is Enter The Dragon though? Was it some made by committee movie for the lowest common denominator or just some random low budget movie people wanted to make? I have a hell of a lot more respect for b-movies made by some passionate filmmaker like Tommy Wiseau or Neil Breen than some Marvel movie made by 382 people in front of a greenscreen and focus tested just enough to make sure it offends nobody and can sell the most toys.
 

Miku Miku

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What exactly is Enter The Dragon though? Was it some made by committee movie for the lowest common denominator or just some random low budget movie people wanted to make? I have a hell of a lot more respect for b-movies made by some passionate filmmaker like Tommy Wiseau or Neil Breen than some Marvel movie made by 382 people in front of a greenscreen and focus tested just enough to make sure it offends nobody and can sell the most toys.
It's just a movie. You can like it or not. That's all it is.