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Chadwick Boseman Questions the Timing of Martin Scorsese’s Marvel Criticism

"He’s saying it when he’s possibly campaigning for an award," the "Black Panther" actor tells BBC 5 Live.

Chadwick BosemanVanity Fair Oscar Party, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 24 Feb 2019

Chadwick Boseman

Matt Baron/Shutterstock

Chadwick Boseman is making the press rounds to promote his upcoming crime thriller “21 Bridges,” but the omnipresence of Martin Scorsese’s critical Marvel movie comments meant it was only a matter of time before the “Black Panther” actor was asked to comment. Speaking to BBC 5 Live (via The Independent), Boseman said he must respect Scorsese’s opinion because “he’s a genius at what he does.” The actor then questioned the timing of Scorsese’s Marvel dig. Boseman suggested the legendary filmmaker might have spoken out against Marvel “to get eyes” on his new film “The Irishman” and generate headlines for himself in the thick of Oscar season.

“You’ve got to think about when he’s saying it,” Boseman said. “He’s saying it when he’s possibly campaigning for an award. He’s saying it at a time when he’s making a Netflix movie, so that’s how eyes get on his film, and it’s not going to be in the cinemas – it’s not going to be seen the best way.”

Boseman added that the values Martin Scorsese thinks are essential for cinema are a central part of “Black Panther.” As the actor said, “The mystery that Scorsese is talking about is in ‘Black Panther.’ If he saw it, he didn’t get that there was this feeling of not knowing what was going to happen that black people felt. We thought, you know, ‘White people will kill us off, so it’s a possibility that we could be gone.’ We felt that angst. We felt that thing you would feel from cinema when we watched it. That’s cultural. Maybe it’s generational.”

Scorsese’s first anti-Marvel comments were published in an interview with Empire magazine that went viral at the beginning of October. Since then, the entire industry has been weighing in on the value of Marvel films as both a cinematic art form and an exhibition threat. Scorsese most recently wrote an op-ed for The New York Times in which he doubled down on the threat Marvel films are posing in the exhibition space.

Boseman will return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe with “Black Panther 2,” which has yet to land an official release date. The actor’s new project, “21 Bridges,” opens nationwide November 22 from STX Entertainment.

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