Martin Scorsese Compares Marvel Superhero Films to "Theme Park Rides"

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Vidiot, Oct 5, 2019.

  1. bopdd

    bopdd Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR
    I'm not really arguing the idea that Marvel's take on The Hulk isn't authentic, emotional, clever, or even unworthy of analysis. But Scorsese's work has been thrown wildly out of context and nothing highlights that more than the discussion of "emotional arcs" or the idea that we need to compare The Hulk to Joe Pesci's character in "Goodfellas." Don't confuse Scorsese's mention of emotion to mean anything about emotional arcs, as the two things are very separate entities.
     
  2. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident

    I've seen nearly every film Scorsese has done, as well as every film in the MCU, so I believe I can make reasonable comparisons between the two. Feel free to point out how Joe Pesci's Tommy wasn't a half-insane rage monster.
     
  3. Oatsdad

    Oatsdad Oat, Biscuits and Abbie: Best Dogs Ever

    Location:
    Alexandria VA
    I love "GoodFellas" and think it's Scorsese's best by a mile, but I can't claim to feel any emotional engagement with the leads. When Henry's lifestyle goes into a tailspin, it's totally entertaining but not something that makes me feel any real emotions...

    ...beyond thrill ride, honestly. "GoodFellas" isn't as far from flashy comic book movies as some would claim. It's a fast-paced, slick feature...
     
  4. bopdd

    bopdd Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR
    One movie is based on a true story about mid-level gangsters. It grapples with explicit themes of violence, impulse, greed, faith, family, lineage, insularity, law, fidelity, and loyalty. The other takes place all over space and peppers emotional segments and characteristics into otherwise spectacle-laden action sequences. Your comparisons are dead on arrival, regardless of whatever similarities these characters might have on the most superficial of levels.
     
  5. Oatsdad

    Oatsdad Oat, Biscuits and Abbie: Best Dogs Ever

    Location:
    Alexandria VA
    As Chris showed, there aren't buckets of comic book movies out at every given time.

    Right now, it's pretty much just "Joker", and that's not a superhero movie in the traditional sense.

    Because comic book movies are so popular, people feel we get more of them than we do.

    I guess it's the same with "Star Wars" movies, as we've not gotten a glut of those. The release dates of "Last Jedi" (12/17) and "Solo" (5/18) were the closest we've come to "market overload" - until then, we got one a year from 2015-17...
     
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  6. bopdd

    bopdd Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR
    One movie is based on a true story about mid-level gangsters. It grapples with explicit themes of violence, impulse, greed, faith, family, lineage, insularity, law, fidelity, tradition, and loyalty. The other takes place all over space and peppers emotional segments and characteristics into otherwise spectacle-laden action sequences. Your comparisons are dead on arrival, regardless of whatever similarities these characters might have on the most superficial of levels. Bear in mind I'm not saying Marvel movies don't grapple with similar themes, but the execution couldn't be more different in terms of how it's generated and what it aims to achieve.

    It is indeed fast-paced and slick, but to say that somehow makes it similar to comic book fare is to cast quite a wide net.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2019
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  7. Oatsdad

    Oatsdad Oat, Biscuits and Abbie: Best Dogs Ever

    Location:
    Alexandria VA
    Newman was good in "Color of Money", but the role was so underwritten that he was making chicken salad out of chicken... poop.

    Agree he should've won for "Verdict" - or any of the other excellent performances he gave.

    "Gandhi" is more than competent but it's overrated Oscar-bait, IMO, and not a movie that deserved all the awards it won...
     
  8. malcolm reynolds

    malcolm reynolds Handsome, Humble, Genius

    Location:
    Oklahoma
    I haven't seen any of the Marvel films past the first Ant Man but they can't possibly be any worse than any of Scorsese's DiCaprio films, can they?
     
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  9. Oatsdad

    Oatsdad Oat, Biscuits and Abbie: Best Dogs Ever

    Location:
    Alexandria VA
    1? 2? 10?

    And which ones?

    I'm guessing "not many" and "ones from a long time ago"...
     
  10. Oatsdad

    Oatsdad Oat, Biscuits and Abbie: Best Dogs Ever

    Location:
    Alexandria VA
    Yup. "GoodFellas" is a tremendously entertaining movie, but it's not one that allows you to invest emotionally in the characters.

    I loved to watch the adventures of Henry and company, but I didn't feel for them, and I could rarely identify with them.

    Karen's the closest to a sympathetic character, but she makes so many bad choices that she falls into "got what she deserved" territory...
     
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  11. Oatsdad

    Oatsdad Oat, Biscuits and Abbie: Best Dogs Ever

    Location:
    Alexandria VA
    To be fair, Phoenix has had a lot more time to make an impact as an actor.

    Ledger was still in his 20s when he died and just starting to emerge from his "teen idol" phase. He was starting to establish himself as a "real actor" when he died, so we have no idea where he would've gone from there!
     
  12. bopdd

    bopdd Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Your interpretation assumes Scorsese is referring to the emotional connection between his audience and his characters, and not between the characters themselves.
     
  13. Oatsdad

    Oatsdad Oat, Biscuits and Abbie: Best Dogs Ever

    Location:
    Alexandria VA
    My point is that Scorsese's films often tend more toward "popcorn fare" than he'd like us to believe, and also that the MCU flicks and other comic book-based movies have more substance.

    "GoodFellas" is great largely because it's so fast-paced and entertaining. But I don't think it's a terrific psychological portrait of its characters - it's a wild ride that seems unlikely to generate a whole lot of discussion or debate about narrative or characters.

    I mean, they're all as transparent as can be - there's no complicated character like Michael Corleone in there.

    Again, this isn't to disparage "GoodFellas", which I love, but I don't pretend it's some deep experience...
     
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  14. Oatsdad

    Oatsdad Oat, Biscuits and Abbie: Best Dogs Ever

    Location:
    Alexandria VA

    Honestly, I don't see a lot of room for other ways to view this statement:

    "It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.”

    1st "human beings" means filmmakers, 2nd "human being" means audience member.

    If you wanna view that as "emotional connection between characters", go for it, but I think that's a real stretch. The use of "human beings" and then "human being" singular strongly implies "filmmakers" to "viewer"...
     
  15. bopdd

    bopdd Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR
    He's aiming to "convey emotional, psychological experiences" to the audience. That doesn't mean he's invoking a sympathetic response, it means he's portraying emotional experiences. It's not even a little stretch to assume that the statement refers to what he's portraying and not how he intends for it to land.

    I would also add that even if and when the intent is to convey an emotional or psychological experience directly onto the audience, that again doesn't mean he's eliciting sympathy. Any sort of visceral reaction to the material makes it both emotional and psychological, even if you're repulsed or merely intrigued by what you see.

    "Goodfellas" is completely rooted in the culture it aims to portray, which is a human culture with thousands of years behind it. Furthermore, the movie works in large part because of the chemistry between its characters. Last but not least, the style is uniquely the vision of its creator, representing a culmination of both his influences and his personal artistic sensibilities.

    The idea that both movies are remotely similar just because they're both thrilling is grounded in the thinnest of arguments. Scorsese is an auteur, plain and simple. His idea of "cinema" pertains primarily to the work of other auteurs. This really isn't all that hard to grasp.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2019
  16. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    It's a movie. I don't think about meeting the characters in real-life. I sit back and enjoy. There's very little redeemable about Joe Pesci's character. Great performance, though. I was invested insofar as Henry Hill being the character through which the movie flows and everything happens to and around him.

    Doesn't matter to me who likes what and for what reason. For me, a CGI monster flailing around onscreen won't ever be as compelling as an actor with actual chops delivering a terrific performance. But that's me. Plus, the idea is quite old. Jekyll & Hyde in green, really.

    There are different levels in everything. I wouldn't consider a radio jingle to be in the same stratosphere as The Beatles, for instance, but I'm sure someone somewhere would argue that they have or should have equal artistic value. It's kind of like that with superhero movies for me.
     
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  17. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident

    I don't see this any different than a talented actor voicing an animated character. Andy Serkis was able to deliver a compelling performance as Gollum in the Lord of the Rings films, yet he actually acted while wearing a motion-capture suit. No matter what, at some point there has to be an actor providing movement, speech or both. CGI monsters don't generally flail in a vacuum.
     
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  18. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident

    Just curious, have you seen as many Marvel films as I've seen Scorsese films?
     
  19. bopdd

    bopdd Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Yes or close to it, though from the sound of it, you've seen more Scorsese films than I have. It really has nothing to do with anything. Watching movies makes someone a cinephile as much as listening to music makes someone an audiophile.

    I think you're taking my comments as knocks against Marvel, which they're not. The studio does what it does quite well. But if you think these films are culling from the auteurist tradition, you'd be misguided. Similarly, if you think Scorsese should concern himself with "emotional arcs," then I'm not sure you understand how auteurism works in general.

    PS. Among Marvel films, "Iron Man," "Infinity War," and "Civil War" are probably my faves--I still have to see "Endgame."
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2019
  20. Knox Harrington

    Knox Harrington Well-Known Member

    For the most part, these comic book films are made for thirteen year old boys--children. Even the new Joker movie was essentially what a thirteen year old boy would think is "edgy," "dark," or "complex" while being none of those things.

    I love Star Wars. But, I also understand that it is a movie for children.
     
  21. bopdd

    bopdd Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Were this 1999 and not 2019, you'd be dead on. But I'm not sure there's an adult moviegoing audience out there to speak of, by this point. Also, it should read 13-year-old boys and the global marketplace.
     
  22. Knox Harrington

    Knox Harrington Well-Known Member

    The global marketplace of 13-year-old boys!
     
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  23. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident

    In this case, the "auteur" is the series producer Kevin Feige who has managed to guide a collection of directors, writers, actors and technicians to create series of films unlike anything Hollywood has previously seen. Though some were comedies, some SF, some pure action - they all held together remarkably well, enough so that the entire 22 film series was shown as one marathon. Which my wife attended. She is not a 13 year old boy, last I checked.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2019
  24. Knox Harrington

    Knox Harrington Well-Known Member

    None of this refutes the point that these are films for children. Its ok for adults (such as your wife) to enjoy children's films. I enjoy them to.

    Here's a test: put a ten-year old in front of any of these 22 films. It is likely that they will get engrossed, follow along and derive enjoyment out of the experience. This man is green and angry. That woman can fly.

    Now put the same ten-year old in from of a Scorsese film. With rare exception, I am guessing that the child will lose interest after awhile.

    Why? Because the former is made for children, the latter for adults. Whether they succeed or fail is another thing (or have an "emotional arc"), but the point still stands. I would guess that Scorsese is defining cinema as addressing adult concerns in an adult way.
     
  25. Frangelico

    Frangelico Forum Resident

    I think Scorsese’s films do a poor job of conveying emotions - they do so on the surface, but with a lack of granularity. Scorsese is a bravado filmmaker - that’s his signature, it’s overetched, sort of a hyper-stylized version of reality.
     
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