Marvel Isn't Cinema: Defending Scorsese

Marvel Isn't Cinema: Defending Scorsese

He's right.


While many Marvel lovers and casual moviegoers immediately struck back against Scorsese and others for their criticism of Marvel, fans vehemently defending the blockbuster properties that they have understandably grown attached to, these individuals seem to be seriously undervaluing the importance of Scorsese's remarks. Internationally acclaimed and vindicated as one of the most influential directors of the past century, Scorsese is no critic to be brushed off or scoffed at. He's not some jealous small time naysayer looking for a taste of the spotlight. His work has fundamentally changed the landscape of modern cinema and a number of his films rank as some of the greatest in Hollywood's living memory.

Therefore, when a director of this caliber finally decides to bridge the silent divide between "blockbusters" and "art cinema" by commenting on the state of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it seems more than a little ridiculous that so many people would snap back at Scorsese for pointing out something that is fundamentally true about one of the biggest franchises in Hollywood today, a company that consistently eclipses other, more independent projects from enjoying wide theatrical releases.

It's true. Marvel makes movies. They do not make cinema. Marvel employs some of the most talented people in the world, backed by shockingly high budgets, to pump out easy, crowd pleasing action-comedy films. Then, as Disney glances through the current political climate, they might occasionally toss in some new elements to their scripts that rake in a larger profit and please audiences with the outward appearance of seemingly more "progressive" stances. They create huge, formulaic summer movies with big names and some easy social commentary, and in turn they make obscene profit margins and rise to a near holy status in pop culture. For the most part, these movies are decent with some occasional mediocrity, but they are certainly not art.

This is what so many of Scorsese's critics seem to be missing. The director is not making some case about "good" or "bad," not leveling some challenge against the characters that we admire and have even grown up with. He is merely offering a bold statement of fact: Marvel does not make cinema. There is no real artistic value in a Marvel movie, as enjoyable and pleasing as the experience may be. There is no attempt at artistry of any significant kind in the line-up of films that we have been presented with so far, because creating a film that seriously deviates from the neat narrative and structural formula that Marvel has mastered puts at risk the single greatest objective of these superhero films: making money.

Please, don't attack this dedicated art director, someone who is actively fighting for Hollywood to put more thought, passion, and creativity into its biggest properties and making these comments for the good of the public, out of some knee jerk reaction to protect a company that is quickly swallowing up every available entertainment property around the globe. As Disney and its most beloved son, Marvel, is eclipsing and bullying itself across the entertainment scene of the entire world, Scorcese is lifting the mask behind these massive companies and asking, for everyone's sake, that they, with their ludicrous budgets and their huge net of talent, give up this pretense of inspiration and representation and start giving us something more.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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