Why James Gunn Says Martin Scorsese’s Criticism of Marvel Films Is Both 'Cynical' and Partly True (UPDATE)

In a new podcast interview, superhero movie directing veteran James Gunn called Martin Scorsese's Marvel comments both "cynical" but also partly true.

James Gunn at the premiere of 'The Suicide Squad'

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James Gunn at the premiere of 'The Suicide Squad'

UPDATED 8/4, 7:58 p.m. ET: James Gunn took to Twitter to respond to a tweet from Josh Horowitz in which the podcaster and MTV News correspondent  said that he “wasn’t trying to start a war between 2 directors I admire ” when he posted the clip of Gunn addressing Scorsese’s comments about MCU movies.

Gunn reiterated that he respects the legendary director and said that the only thing he disagrees with Scorsese on is his distaste for comic book movies.

“Also for the record, Martin Scorsese is probably the world’s greatest living American filmmaker,” Gunn wrote. “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.”

See original story below.

It’s been awhile since Martin Scorsese shared his thoughts on Marvel movies not being real “cinema.” 

As a brief reminder, because it was nearly two years ago, the Hollywood legend said he doesn’t see MCU movies, adding: “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 drew lots of responses before tapering off, but it’s still a topic that’s bound to come up from time-to-time. 

On that note, James Gunn, who’s got another superhero movie coming out (albeit this time for DC), was asked about Scorsese’s comments as part of an interview for the Happy Sad Confused podcast. Gunn, who has directed two Guardians of the Galaxy films with another on the way, and also helmed the about-to-be-released Suicide Squad sequel, gave his answer as to what he believed motivated Scorsese’s comments, implying that Scorsese found a way to generate interest for his movie The Irishman, which was coming out around the time the Marvel comments were making lots of headlines. 

“I just think it seems awful cynical that he would keep coming out against Marvel and then that is the only thing that would get him press for his movie,” Gunn said. “So 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.”

It would not at all be accurate to say Gunn’s answer was anti-Scorsese, as he added some very nice things and even said there was some truth in Martin’s comments. 

“He’s one of the greatest filmmakers who’s ever existed,” Gunn went on. “I love his movies. I can watch his movies with no problem. And he said a lot of things I agree with. 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. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve talked to film directors before they went and made a big movie, and said, ‘Hey, we’re in this together, let’s do something different with these big movies. Let’s make them something different than everything that has come before them.’ And then see them cater to every single studio whim and be grossed out, frankly.”

Gunn did also note his irritation with Scorsese not seeing the movies he’s critiquing *points to second paragraph*. Check out the comments straight from the source below:

Shortly after Scorsese made his initial comments in October 2019, Gunn came to the defense of superhero films. That reaction, which came via Twitter, echoed the same sentiment expressed above. 

Gunn’s latest foray into comic book movies, The Suicide Squad, is out this Friday. 

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