Martin Scorsese Compares Marvel Movies to Theme Parks: ‘That’s Not Cinema’

As expected, Martin Scorsese will never direct a Marvel movie.
Martin Scorsese
THE BAND WAGON, Fred Astaire, Nanette Fabray, Jack Buchanan, 1953
CAPE FEAR, from second left, Robert Mitchum, Martin Balsam, Gregory Peck, 1962
IKIRU, Takashi Shimura (right), 1952
Martin Scorsese: Marvel Movies Are Theme Parks and 'Not Cinema'
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Don’t ask Martin Scorsese his thoughts on the record-breaking “Avengers: Endgame” because he hasn’t seen it, nor will he ever see it. The legendary filmmaker recently dismissed the Marvel Cinematic Universe during an interview with Empire magazine, saying that Marvel movies do not possess the traits that make cinema truly special.

“I don’t see them. I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema,” Scorsese told Empire. “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 is fresh off universal praise for his new drama “The Irishman,” which debuted on opening night of the 2019 New York Film Festival. The gangster epic, starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci, debuted to instant Oscar buzz and is considered a top contender to land nominations for its actors, plus Best Picture and Best Director bids, among others. Disney and Marvel Studios is also launching an Oscar campaign for “Avengers: Endgame,” which grossed over $2.7 billion worldwide this year to become the highest-grossing movie in history (unadjusted for inflation).

Scorsese’s thoughts on Marvel movies recall a similar opinion shared by Ethan Hawke in August 2018. The “First Reformed” actor told Film Stage that moviegoers were treating superhero movies as if they were great works of art, which is not the case.

“Now we have the problem that they tell us ‘Logan’ is a great movie,” Hawke said. “Well, it’s a great superhero movie. It still involves people in tights with metal coming out of their hands. It’s not Bresson. It’s not Bergman. But they talk about it like it is. I went to see ‘Logan’ ‘cause everyone was like, ‘This is a great movie’ and I was like, ‘Really? No, this is a fine superhero movie.’ There’s a difference, but big business doesn’t think there’s a difference. Big business wants you to think that this is a great film because they wanna make money off of it.”

Scorsese’s “The Irishman” opens in theaters November 1 before making its Netflix debut November 27.

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