Waaay back in 2019 — before we had ever heard of COVID-19 or had to lock ourselves in our homes while it killed millions of our friends and family members — Martin Scorsese had a few gruff words for Marvel movies. And Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn is still annoyed about it.
For those who can’t remember anything before 2020, in an interview with Empire magazine, Marty — Oscar-winning living legend and walking film school — admitted that:
“I don’t see them. 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.”
That’s when people went apesh*t. So Marty, sweet septuagenarian that he is, penned an op-ed for The New York Times in which he attempted to contextualize his comments by explaining his definition of “cinema” and how it’s an “art form” and that the MCU is not that. While he acknowledged that “Many of the elements that define cinema as I know it are there in Marvel pictures,” he followed that up with: “What’s not there is revelation, mystery or genuine emotional danger. Nothing is at risk.”
So here we are, two years and one pandemic later, and people are still pissed. Including Gunn, who kicked the hornet’s nest when he brought up Scorsese’s comments again earlier this week while appearing on the “Happy Sad Confused” podcast, according to IndieWire. And he kind of went for the jugular:
“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. 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 did, however, call Scorsese “one of the greatest filmmakers who’s ever existed” and admit that “there [are] a lot of things that are true about what he said. There are a lot of heartless, soulless spectacle films out there that don’t reflect what should be happening.” Gunn just doesn’t happen to think that singling out the MCU was the way to go. Which then ignited yet another war between MCU diehards and people who refer to themselves as cineastes. Which forced Gunn to send out a quick clarification on Wednesday evening, in which he stated:
“Also for the record, Martin Scorsese is probably the world’s greatest living American filmmaker. I love & study his films & will continue to love & study his films. I disagree with him solely on one point: That films based on comic books are innately not cinema, that’s all.”
Also for the record, Martin Scorsese is probably the world’s greatest living American filmmaker. I love & study his films & will continue to love & study his films. I disagree with him solely on one point: That films based on comic books are innately not cinema, that’s all. https://t.co/By9IBe8HAm
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) August 4, 2021
That’s probably not all. But we’re with whoever casts Brendan Fraser, so ball’s in Gunn’s court now.