About a month ago, Martin Scorsese made comments that seemed pretty innocuous at the time, but have since kicked off a flurry of rebuttals (and some agreements) from prominent Hollywood names, including: Jordan Peele, Francis Ford Coppola, and Jon Favreau, just to name a few.
They still seem innocuous (at least from over here) but they did cause a big stir. Anyway, don't worry, at some point everyone will have weighed in or been asked about it.
Scorsese's original comment, in case you haven't read anything on this website with his name in the headline over the past month, came during an interview with Empire, in which he stated that Marvel films are better compared to theme parks than cinema.
"I don’t see them," he said of MCU entries. "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."
Most recently he also wrote a New York Times op-ed, which ran on November 4, in which he elaborated upon his position, specifically highlighting that franchise films are pushing out more creative and smaller budgeted pictures from the world's big screens.
"So, you might ask, what’s my problem? Why not just let superhero films and other franchise films be? The reason is simple," Scorsese wrote in the NYT. "In many places around this country and around the world, franchise films are now your primary choice if you want to see something on the big screen. It’s a perilous time in film exhibition, and there are fewer independent theaters than ever. The equation has flipped and streaming has become the primary delivery system. Still, I don’t know a single filmmaker who doesn’t want to design films for the big screen, to be projected before audiences in theaters."
Noticeably absent from sharing his opinion on the matter, at least publicly, was Marvel boss and No. 1 builder of the MCU, Kevin Feige. Or at least that was true until now, when Feige finally addressed the matter while speaking with Scott Feinberg during an Awards Chatter podcast.
Not surprisingly, Feige, who has had his name made and his career defined by these films' run of success, disagreed with Scorsese's take.
"I think that's not true. I think it's unfortunate," he said. "I think myself and everyone who works on these movies loves cinema, loves movies, loves going to the movies, loves to watch a communal experience in a movie theater full of people."
Again, not a huge shock.
Feige also held the position that Marvel Studios has taken more risk with their stable of superheroes than Scorsese had given them credit for. He specifically highlighted Iron Man and Captain America's conflict in Captain America: Civil War, in addition to citing the ending of Avengers: Infinity War, in which the world dropped half its population, superheroes included.
"We did Civil War. We had our two most popular characters get into a very serious theological and physical altercation," argued Feige. "We killed half of our characters at the end of a movie [Avengers: Infinity War]. I think it's fun for us to take our success and use it to take risks and go in different places."
Feige also made an attempt to answer Scorsese's point that Marvel films have thrown art out the window in order to make movies that will generate as much money as they can. As many in the entertainment industry have gone before, Feige went the route of pointing out that art is subjective.
"Everybody has a different definition of cinema. Everybody has a different definition of art. Everybody has a different definition of risk," he said. "Some people don't think it's cinema. Everybody is entitled to their opinion. Everyone is entitled to repeat that opinion. Everyone is entitled to write op-eds about that opinion, and I look forward to what will happen next. But in the meantime, we're going to keep making movies."
In the spirit of continuing to make movies, Feige revealed that a few of the characters in the upcoming series of Disney+ shows will transition over to Marvel films down the road. "Some characters we've announced like She-Hulk, Ms. Marvel, and Moon Knight, you will meet for the first time on a Disney+ show and then they'll go into the movies, but the MCU will now go back and forth," he said.
"We are certainly doing cinematic art-level productions for Disney+. The Falcon and The Winter Solider is currently shooting and just yesterday, I got back from the set of WandaVision, which is shooting," Feige added. "All of those characters will undergo transformative, very-exciting changes in that show and go into our movies, so they'll go back and forth."
Check out the whole interview over here.