Movies & TV

Martin Scorsese Said Marvel Movies Aren't Art And The Internet Is Not Pleased

Everyone from Samuel L. Jackson to James Gunn has weighed in.

While everyone was busy over the weekend debating the Joker's questionable take on incels, the Marvel world was keeping busy with a controversy of its own. The debate: Are Marvel movies… art?

The Irishman director Martin Scorsese kicked this debate off last week, saying in an interview with Empire that not only does he not watch Marvel movies, he thinks that they aren’t cinema.

“I don’t see them. I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema,” Scorsese 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.”

Since about 90 percent of Hollywood is (or has been) involved with the Marvel Cinematic Universe at this point, someone was bound to fire back. On Saturday, Variety caught up with Samuel L. Jackson—who stars as Nick Fury in the MCU—and asked him what he thought about Scorsese’s comments.

“I mean that’s like saying Bugs Bunny ain’t funny. Films are films. Everybody doesn’t like his stuff either,” Jackson said. “Everybody’s got an opinion, so I mean it’s okay. Ain’t going to stop nobody from making movies.”

After Jackson’s comments, the rest of Marvel Twitter ganged up on Scorsese like the Avengers going Thanos-hunting at the beginning of Endgame. Notably, Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn, who you think would be sticking to the social media bench for a little while—saying that even though he's a major Scorsese fan, he was upset about the director's dismissal of the genre.


Guardians of the Galaxy actress Karen Gillian backed up Gunn in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter on Saturday, saying, “There's so much heart and soul [in Marvel films], and it's James' soul in there… He injects so much of his own personality, his sense of humor...that's a very big representation of who he is as a person and therefore it's very cinematic. He's an artist."

Joss Whedon, who directed the first two Avengers team-ups, chimed in on Twitter in favor of Gunn, too.

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For what it’s worth, it’s hard to argue that superhero movies are still stuck in the days of Nic Cage's Ghost Rider and punk rock-scored Fantastic Four movies. At last year’s Academy Awards, Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther won three Oscars—in addition to a Best Picture nomination. That’s all icing for, you know, the shit-tons of money Kevin Feige and co. makes.


What's interesting is Scorsese’s hands aren’t entirely free of comics fare, having been involved with the early production of the Joker, serving as producer alongside Todd Phillips. Eventually, Scorsese’s work on The Irishman prevented him from getting too involved with Joker—something Phillips recently explained to IGN. “[Scorsese] read the script and called me and we had a great 20 minute conversation about the script, but [he] also said, ‘I can't do it because I'm doing [The Irishman],’” Phillips said. “We literally filmed them back to back, meaning he did Irishman and we shot Joker, but he was knee deep in prep for that epic.”

Looks like we can cross Scorsese off the shortlist for a crime-world, noir take on Avengers 5. For now, the take of the weekend might go to Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse director Peter Ramsey.


This story originally appeared on Minor edits have been made by the editors. 

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