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James Gunn, More Directors Take Issue With Scorsese Calling Marvel Movies "Not Cinema"

The Oscar-winning filmmaker indicated he wasn't a fan of the comic-book genre in an interview with Empire magazine.
James Gunn (left), Martin Scorsese   |   Steve Granitz/WireImage; Jim Spellman/WireImage
The Oscar-winning filmmaker indicated he wasn't a fan of the comic-book genre in an interview with Empire magazine.

Martin Scorsese's comments to Empire magazine that he regards Marvel movies as "not cinema" generated a swift Twitter backlash, with Marvel directors James Gunn and Joss Whedon among those taking issue with Scorsese's remarks.

After admitting he hasn't seen Marvel films but tried, the Oscar-winning director compared them to "theme parks" and criticized the movies for not reflecting people's emotional and psychological experiences, "as well made as they are."

"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."

Guardians of the Galaxy helmer Gunn was quick to express his disappointment in the comments from one of his "5 favorite living filmmakers."

He went on to clarify that he was upset with anyone "judging things without actually seeing them."

Whedon, who directed the first two Avengers films for Marvel, defended Gunn, saying that Gunn's "heart and guts are packed into GOTG."

Meanwhile, others, like Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse helmer Peter Ramsey and Insidious and Saw writer Leigh Whannell, struck a more conciliatory tone, indicating that both Scorsese's films and Marvel movies can be appreciated.

Scorsese's comments come after the world premiere of his latest film, The Irishman, to rave reviews and immediate awards chatter. The organized-crime drama, starring Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, is set to hit theaters Nov. 1 and arrive on Netflix on Nov. 27.

  • THR Staff
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