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Martin Scorsese Kept Bashing Marvel Movies to ‘Get Press’ for ‘The Irishman,’ Says James Gunn

"That’s the only thing that would get him press for his movie," Gunn said.

James Gunn and Martin Scorsese

James Gunn and Martin Scorsese

AP Images

James Gunn brought Martin Scorsese’s viral comments on Marvel movies back into the spotlight during an appearance this week on MTV’s “Happy Sad Confused” podcast. Gunn said that Scorsese kept slamming Marvel movies in 2019 as a way to boost the press around his own new movie release, which was, at the time, the Netflix gangster drama “The Irishman.”

“It just seems awfully cynical that he kept coming out against Marvel, and that’s the only thing that would get him press for his movie, so then he just kept coming out against Marvel so that he could get press for his movie,” Gunn said (via Insider). “He’s creating his movie in the shadow of the Marvel films, and so he uses that to get attention for something he wasn’t getting as much attention as he wanted for it.”

Gunn called Scorsese “one of the greatest filmmakers who’s ever existed” and noted that Scorsese “said a lot of things” about Marvel movies “that I agree with.”

“There [are] a lot of things that are true about what he said,” Gunn continued. “There are a lot of heartless, soulless spectacle films out there that don’t reflect what should be happening. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve talked to film directors before they went and made a big movie, and said, ‘Hey, we’re in this together, let’s do something different with these big movies. Let’s make them something different than everything that has come before them.’ And then see them cater to every single studio whim and be grossed out, frankly.”

Scorsese first came forward to criticize Marvel movies in October 2019, about a month before Netflix started the release for “The Irishman.” An interview Scorsese gave to Empire magazine went viral after the Oscar winner said of watching Marvel movies, “I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema. 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.”

In a November 2019 essay for The New York Times, Scorsese elaborated on his stance by writing that he was critical of Marvel movies and franchise films creating only one kind of blockbuster that exhibition prefers (thus drowning out the indies) and not actually critical of the movies themselves. As Scorsese noted, “Many franchise films are made by people of considerable talent and artistry. You can see it on the screen. The fact that the films themselves don’t interest me is a matter of personal taste and temperament.”

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