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Robert Downey Jr. Accepts Martin Scorsese’s Marvel Insult, Even If It ‘Makes No Sense’

The Iron Man actor is well-aware Marvel Studios has disrupted the art of cinema.

Robert Downey Jr.'Captain America: Civil War' film screening, New York, America - 04 May 2016

Robert Downey Jr.

Andrew H Walker/Variety/Shutter/Shutterstock

Given Martin Scorsese’s controversial critique of Marvel movies last week, it was only a matter of time before Robert Downey Jr., the godfather of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, weighed in on the matter. The “Iron Man” actor was asked by Howard Stern to comment on Scorsese’s opinion that Marvel movies are more like theme parks than actual cinema. Downey welcomed Scorsese’s opinion, making it clear that he is well aware Marvel has become Hollywood’s most powerful force. As Downey put it for comic book fans, “It is this very large, multi-headed Hydra at this point.”

Stern asked Downey point blank if Marvel movies were “cinema,” to which the actor replied, “I mean it plays in theaters. I appreciate [Scorsese’s] opinion. I think it’s like anything where we need all of the different perspectives so we can come to center and move on.” Downey may welcome Scorsese’s opinion, but it appears he doesn’t so readily agree. Asked if Scorsese insulted him, Downey answered, “No. It’d be like saying Howard Stern isn’t radio. It makes no sense to say it.”

Downey added, “Of course he’s not jealous of the success. He’s Martin Scorsese. By the way, there is a lot to be said for how these genre movies, and I was happy to be part of the “problem,” if there is one, but how they have denigrated the era, the art form of cinema. When you come in like a stomping beast and you eliminate the competition in such a demonstrative way, it’s phenomenal.”

Scorsese’s original comment was given to Empire magazine. “I don’t see them. I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema,” Scorsese said when asked about Marvel movies. “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.”

Scorsese’s critique has launched an endless wave of reactions from filmmakers and actors who have contributed to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn said he was “saddened” by Scorsese’s thoughts, while Samuel L. Jackson snapped back that not “everybody loves [Scorsese’s] movies either.”

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