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Martin Scorsese explains Marvel movies aren't cinema comment

The legendary director laments the loss of "risk" in cinema due to the popularity of big franchises.

Martin Scorsese attends The Irishman red carpet during the 14th Rome Film Festival in Rome, Italy.
Photo by Elisabetta A. Villa/Getty Images

Martin Scorsese's comments on Marvel movies not qualifying as cinema were met with the ire of Marvel fans, directors and actors. A month later, the legendary director of Taxi Driver and Raging Bull has followed up that succinct appraisal with an in-depth opinion piece on where he was coming from.

"Some people seem to have seized on the last part of my answer as insulting, or as evidence of hatred for Marvel on my part," Scorsese wrote in the piece, published in the New York Times on Monday.

Scorsese explained that Marvel movies simply aren't to his personal taste and that he was inspired by different types of movies growing up.

He said his beef with Marvel movies is to do with their apparent formulaic nature and lack of risk. "That's the nature of modern film franchises: market-researched, audience-tested, vetted, modified, revetted and remodified until they're ready for consumption."

The dominance of franchise films in theaters, Scorsese argued, has led to the minimized presence of auteurs. The filmmaker suffered a lack of interest from studios with his latest movie The Irishman, which took funding from Netflix to support its extensive use of de-aging CGI, and received only a limited release in theaters.

Scorsese's comments about Marvel came up during a press conference when he was promoting The Irishman in early October. "Theaters have become amusement parks," he said. "It's not cinema, it's something else."

While Scorsese's comments were met with disappointment from MCU directors Joss Whedon and James Gunn as well as Disney CEO Bob Iger, fellow directing legend Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather) emphatically supported the criticism.

Read Scorsese's entire piece at the New York Times.