Martin Scorsese has had a lot to say about Marvel movies recently. In short, he hasn’t seen them and he doesn’t like them. He thinks they are “not cinema” and that they pose a threat to the movie-going experience by not leaving much room for movies that aren’t sequels.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Marvel chief creative officer Kevin Feige said Scorsese is free to share his opinions on films, but nothing Scorsese says will stop Marvel from making superhero movies.
“Everybody has a different definition of cinema. Everybody has a different definition of art. Everybody has a different definition of risk, I guess” says Feige. “All I know is, I’m surrounded by people 24 hours a day who live and breathe and love cinema. Some people don’t think it’s cinema. Everybody is entitled to their opinion. Everyone is entitled to repeat that opinion.
“Everyone is entitled to write op-eds about that opinion, and I look forward to what will happen next. But in the meantime, we’re going to keep making movies,” he added.
One of Scorsese’s criticisms of Marvel movies is that they do not contain any serious “revelation, mystery, or genuine emotional danger,” adding that “nothing is at risk” for Marvel movies.
Feige responded by saying Marvel does in fact take risks and try new things. One example he mentioned of risk-taking is that Marvel stopped making the bankable standalone Iron Man movies in 2013. Another example of risk-taking and innovative storytelling was the “serious theological and physical altercation” that Iron Man and Captain America had in Captain America: Civil War.
Feige also pointed out how Marvel, temporarily at least, killed half of its characters during Infinity War as an example of risk-taking. “I think it’s fun for us to take our success and use it to take risks and go in different places,” Feiege said.
Finally, Feige said the upcoming Marvel movie The Eternals is a big risk in that it features a group of characters almost no one has heard about, and it’s very expensive.
“[Director Chloe Zhao] is on the Canary Islands with 10 amazing actors shooting The Eternals, a group of characters that nobody has ever heard of outside of a very small group of people. It is a very big movie; it is a very expensive movie. We are making it because we believe in her vision and we believe in what those characters can do, and we believe that we need to continue to grow and evolve and change and push our genre forward. That’s a risk, if I’ve ever heard one.
Scorsese’s original comments inspired other directors to speak out as well. The Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola took things further, saying Marvel movies are “despicable.”
“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,” Coppola said. “He didn’t say it’s despicable, which I just say it is.”