11 October 2019 23:48
Director Martin Scorsese's claim to Empire magazine that Marvel films aren't "cinema" is like saying the novel Fifty Shades of Grey isn't "literature." He's technically wrong — but he's culturally right. Scorsese wasn't denigrating Marvel films so much as making a distinction between High Art (an accurate but cringe-worthy term) that we might see in a museum or featured on NPR, and regular everyday art that we might see on our T-shirts and tattoos. High school makes many of us resistant to definitions of High Art. We are forced to read poems, plays and novels we don't understand and then are told there are "hidden meanings" that we're just not smart enough to see. He was making the distinction between melodrama (entertainment) and drama (art): Melodrama emphasizes plot over character, while drama (or cinema for Scorsese) emphasizes character over plot. While it's true that there is much great entertainment within the melodramatic genres of mysteries, thrillers, romances, science fiction and so on, most are just straightforward stories with the main intent of exciting the readers' emotions: fear, joy, love, hate, etc.
Scorsese admitted that he's never seen a Marvel movie all the way through and I feel sorry for him that he hasn't experienced the sheer joy, humor and excitement of these films. Kevin Smith has now weighed in on Martin Scorsese's controversial Marvel Cinematic Universe comments. Scorsese previously said that the MCU movies were not "real cinema." Everybody from James Gunn to Robert Downey Jr. have talked about the situation from the Marvel point of view. There's no question that Smith is a huge fan of superhero movies and comic books, so his remarks should come as no surprise to anybody really. "Martin Scorsese probably doesn't have the emotional attachment to those movies that I do.
The filmmaker and comic book writer responded to Scorsese's recent comments denigrating Marvel films with the observation that, in his book, Scorsese is responsible for the biggest superhero movie ever: 1988's The Last Temptation of Christ. "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," Scorsese said. Well, as perhaps the greatest living film director, Scorsese is certainly entitled to his opinion, a statement that Smith was in full agreement with when asked for his take on the director's remarks. "Martin Scorsese has made such wonderful movies," Smith said. "The Last Temptation of Christ is a superhero movie," Smith said.
"Marvel films have made me laugh, cry, jump, agonize, and almost always leave the theater feeling lighter and more satisfied than when I went in," Abdul-Jabbar notes. I'm sure when Martin Scorsese offhandedly dismissed the idea of comic book movies, he didn't expect the backlash it's gotten in fan communities online. "Martin Scorsese probably doesn't have the emotional attachment to those movies that I do. I would say this, and I'm not countering Mr. Scorsese: Martin Scorsese made perhaps the biggest superhero movie ever made."