When Martin Scorsese said Marvel movies were "not cinema," the legendary director incited a lot of rage online. "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," the almost-77-year-old Scorsese said. "It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being."
At the premiere of his new film, Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, Kevin Smith defended comic book movies while also taking time to praise Scorsese's work. "Martin Scorsese is a genius. But to be fair, my entire film career—even prior to my film career—he's been pretty much saying the same thing about action movies," he told The Hollywood Reporter. He added that Scorsese "practically invented [modern] cinema," so he respected his opinion while fundamentally disagreeing with it.
"For my money, I think Martin Scorsese made the biggest superhero movie ever, which was The Last Temptation of Christ," Smith continued. "Don't get much bigger of a superhero than Jesus. He beats Superman and [Robert] Downey [Jr.] every time, so maybe Martin is bending on that territory."
Smith isn't eager to get into an argument with Scorsese over his comments, but he did suggest that the director never had an emotional connection to comic books in general. "My feeling is, Martin Scorsese never sat in a movie theater with his dad and watched the movies of Steven Spielberg in the early '80s or George Lucas in the late '70s," he said. "He didn't feel that sense of magic and wonder."
When pressed for further comments on Marvel movies recently, Scorsese said that theaters should "step up and show films that are narrative films." Scorsese also argued that Marvel movies are simply "amusement parks," and suggested their omnipresence in theaters is leading audiences to believe that is how all films should be.
Smith added, "I guarantee you there's something he enjoyed with his parents, like a musical—I bet you some cats would say, 'A musical is not really cinema,' but Martin Scorsese grew up on musicals, and I bet they mean a lot to him." The writer-director-actor also said Scorsese isn't wrong, but he firmly believes there's as much space for Marvel movies as there are more mature and artful films.
"These movies come from a core. They come from a happy childhood. And they're reflections of a happy childhood," he said. "He's not wrong, but at the same time, neither are we for loving those movies. And they are cinema."