Just when you thought the Martin Scorsese vs. Marvel debate was quieting down after months of seemingly everyone in Hollywood weighing in on the matter, here comes Disney chairman and chief executive officer Bob Iger. The Disney boss was recently named Time’s businessperson of the year and told the magazine that his team and Scorsese’s team are arranging a meeting between the two to discuss the topics presented by Scorsese.
The Scorsese vs. Marvel debate went viral at the beginning of October after “The Irishman” filmmaker was quoted in an interview with Empire magazine comparing Marvel movies to theme parks. “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,” Scorsese said. “It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.”
Scorsese expanded on his critical Marvel views a month later in an op-ed for The New York Times published on November 4. The director explained in the essay that his issue with comic book films is they are overpowering the exhibition space and leaving no room for the type of cinema he values to exist. Scorsese said that comic book franchise films were creating a space in Hollywood that is “brutal and inhospitable to art.”
In his interview with Time magazine, Iger called Scorsese’s comments “nasty” and “not fair to the people who are making the movies.” Time reporter Belinda Luscombe notes that Iger mostly “brushes [the comments] off.” The one Marvel film which has been continually used as a rebuttal to Scorsese’s opinion has been “Black Panther,” the Ryan Coogler-directed tentpole that earned Marvel its first Oscar nomination for Best Picture. Luscombe writes for Time, “Whenever [Bob Iger is] accused of taking no risks, Iger points to ‘Black Panther,’ which he considers one of his top five career achievements.”
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Scorsese is currently dominating awards season with “The Irishman,” which won best film honors from the National Board of Review and the New York Film Critics Circle. Scorsese earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Director this week. Marvel’s big Oscar contender this year is “Avengers: Endgame,” although it will have to settle for crafts contention.