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

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

  1. davenav

    davenav High Plain Grifter

    Location:
    Brooklyn, USA
    There was no guarantee that Iron Man, Captain America, Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, Captain Marvel, Black Panther, a funny Thor- that any of these films would succeed.

    But, they enthralled, surprised, and amazed their audience with a near constant ability to improve on their source material. They respect their audience and know that being predictable will crash the whole universe. Marvel presented 21 films that stood alone, and were parts of a huge jigsaw at the same time. They left close to zero loose ends, and filmgoers we’re happy to pay for repeat viewings.

    But, Martin Scorcese and others are content to ignorantly stereotype these “comic-book” movies as vapid, predictable, beneath contempt.

    I guess it’s inevitable that *the most successful franchise ever* would eventually fall prey to this kind of snobbish, utterly vacant sort of attack.

    but, it’s distressing to see it come from a top talent like Martin Scorcese, who is clearly jealous, way off base, and has obviously never watched any of this run of films.
     
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  2. This Heat

    This Heat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Or you know he's making an economic argument about the limitations of franchise filmmaking.
     
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  3. davenav

    davenav High Plain Grifter

    Location:
    Brooklyn, USA
    There’s good franchise films and bad ones. He lumped them all together. Whatever his point was, basing it on blanket condemnation, and obvious ignorance only not only fails spectacularly to support him, but it undermines him in a way I never thought I’d see, as one of his fans.

    I love him and his films. But, this broadly stated, and doubled-down upon attack will not serve him well, I’ll wager. I can’t imagine any studio changing their ways because of it. Indeed, they might be less eager to work with him, now.
     
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  4. Spencer R

    Spencer R Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pontotoc, MS
    I agree that Scorsese is under no obligation to write meaningful parts for women. Nor do I think he could do that, even if he wanted to. As forum member @hvbias noted while (I think) attempting to praise The Irishman:

    IMO he is making a movie "for us", for instance among my group of friends we used to love endlessly quoting Goodfellas and Casino when we were younger, there is a certain Seinfeld quality about how much you can quote from them. I think they are incredibly popular movies with males 35 and up.

    I think @hvbias has hit the nail on the head here: Scorsese’s wheelhouse lies in examinations of a certain sort of damaged or emotionally stunted masculinity or warped code of honor, and that this appeals mightily to men, who love to quote lines such as Travis Bickle’s “you talkin’ to me?” to each other ad nauseam. The bro fandom of bros quoting their favorite lines from these movies to their fellow bros is privileged over “chick flicks,” and all other forms of cinema, to the extent that when a comic book movie such as The Joker aims to be taken seriously, it takes the Scorsese picture (Taxi Driver, King of Comedy, etc.) as its model.

    Although I’m a man, I personally find so-called chick flicks (and Jane Austen novels, etc.) far more interesting than Scorsese’s oeuvre that relegates women to the Madonna or whore role in damaged men’s personal psychodramas.
     
  5. This Heat

    This Heat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    You don't seem to have actually read the article since he most certainly did not condemn all franchise filmmaking.
     
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  6. NettleBed

    NettleBed Forum Resident

    Location:
    new york city

    A bunch of unsupportable garbage. Goodfellas was an adaptation. Why would it have black characters in it that weren't in the source material?

    And the analysis of Karen is fairly ham-fisted as well. She had as much of a say in her existence as Henry did. Neither were "free." Henry was mob guy who could never get initiated and he eventually became a slave to drugs. Karen is supposed to be a failed character because she happened to be married to him? She was smart enough to avoid the hit that Jimmy put on her, too.

    There is no double standard whatsoever, and no glass house. He makes real films, not superhero nonsense.
     
  7. the pope ondine

    the pope ondine Forum Resident

    ok, you work there right?
     
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  8. the pope ondine

    the pope ondine Forum Resident

    shes living my dream life
     
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  9. hvbias

    hvbias Forum Resident

    Location:
    Northeast
    None of us do this anymore. I'm not sure I was ever a bro, or what you're saying is even accurate, but much of your posts have greatly lacked any form of nuance in this thread and are quite reductive, even condescending. Catchy one liners can come from any genre of TV or film. In my earlier post I specifically mentioned Seinfeld as another great one, hardly a "bro" show, but feel free to leave that out and cherry pick what I said to shape your one sided myopic argument. So please don't drag me into what you've just deduced by saying "I hit the nail on the head", because that is absolutely not what I meant, the reason I replied to this post is I don't want anyone misconstruing what I wrote, not because I want to get dragged into some long conversation here.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2019
  10. the pope ondine

    the pope ondine Forum Resident

  11. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident

    The part that is remarkable is how cheap it is.

    AMC Stubs A*List = $21.95 a month
    Regal Unlimited = $23.50 a month
    Gene Siskel Film Center = $50 a year for half price movies
    Music Box Theater = $50 a year for half price movies

    She spends far less than most people spend on cable or an internet connection plus a couple of streaming services and can see pretty much any film.
     
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  12. NettleBed

    NettleBed Forum Resident

    Location:
    new york city
    Just a random observation here - this has somehow become a "great high art" vs. pulp entertainment dichotomy and people are therefore using the argument that since not all of Scorsese's film are generally regarded as great high art, that his statements ring hollow. But that's not really what he was saying, and anyway nobody makes great high art every time out. Frankly, to do it once or twice in a career is a pretty admirable achievement, and IMO Scorsese has done that.

    The actual distinction he was making was "the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being" vs. superhero movies. The rebuttals I'm reading here don't really claim that Scorsese's career hasn't been about that, but that he has made some films that aren't regarded as being really good, and that he (like all directors) has limitations in his scope. Claiming that he generally doesn't have well-developed female characters, for example, does not in the slightest way rebut the assertion that his films convey emotional psychological experiences between the human beings that he *does* portray.

    Plenty of films attempt to convey the emotions and psychological experiences of humanity but do it in a *bad* way - over-reliance on cliche, for example, or just not very interesting stories. Presumably, Scorsese would rather see films that try this and fail, than to be part of a thrilling theme park ride which has an emphasis on other things. I know I've already given my pass to Scorsese on this upthread, but I think it's worth reiterating that, when looked at objectively and with the actual words that he said, his comments are not really unfair. Nobody has to stop liking the Marvel films if they already do, just because Scorsese doesn't care for their aesthetic. But wouldn't more *good* films that attempt to do the things that he values be good for cinema? I get that there can certainly be a place for things like Marvel films, but franchises such as these, which are based on the suits that the characters are wearing and special effects and are produced by rotating teams of writers and directors because no single one of them is all that important... if they suck all the screens and dollars away from other fare, especially in the summer, then the future of better cinema *is* at risk.
     
  13. Larry Mc

    Larry Mc Forum Dude

    Blind lead the blind, they both fall into a ditch. :)
     
  14. Graham

    Graham Forum Resident

    Location:
    London, UK
    Right, not to mention the Best Actress Oscars for Ellen Burstyn and Sharon Stone. Or the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Cate Blanchett. Or the Best Supporting Actress nominations for Diane Ladd, Jodie Foster, Cathy Moriarty, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Lorraine Bracco, Juliette Lewis and Wynona Ryder.
     
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  15. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR! Thread Starter

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    I agree with you to a point, but I don't think that Scorsese is so much jealous but angry that "serious" films are very, very difficult to get financed these days, while big blockbuster action films have a much better chance of getting made. I think he has a point, and he's not completely wrong, but I also think he's wrong to lump all Marvel films in the same "theme park" classification.

    Actually, I read Scorsese's statement in the NY Times twice, and I think that's exactly what he said.

    I agree 100% with @davenay here.
     
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  16. NettleBed

    NettleBed Forum Resident

    Location:
    new york city
    I quoted it. It's not.
     
  17. Holerbot6000

    Holerbot6000 Forum Resident

    Location:
    California
    I can appreciate his frustration at being crowded out of movie theaters, but I think where he goes astray is in attacking these movies specifically and implying that auterism is not evident in these films, something I vehemently disagree with. James Gunn, Peyton Reed, Taika Waitit, the Russo's etc., have all put their individual stamps on these pictures, just as Scorsese, Coppola, Jonathan Demme, Jack Hill and Paul Bartel all did in the Corman years. That stuff wasn't exactly Shakespeare either, but it had it's place. Fundamentally, I think all he is saying is that there should be room at the table for everyone, and there should, but the way he is couching his argument feels a bit disingenuous at times. I'm sure there were beleaguered film makers decrying the proliferation of Drive-In crap in the 70's too. Twas ever thus.
     
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  18. ampmods

    ampmods Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston, MA, USA
    I would like to hear a specific review by Scorsese of any of the Marvel movies made... but specifically I'd like him to watch Captain America: The First Avenger and Captain America: The Winter Soldier and see what he thinks. I think he would like those movies especially and appreciate them as art and as story, etc.

    I honestly think he is basing his critique blindly on their success. And he may be making his assumptions of what these movies are based on having viewed Superman: The Motion Picture in 1978 and Batman in 1989. I really don't think he's seen more than a trailer on these new movies.
     
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  19. GregM

    GregM Ready to cross that fine line

    Location:
    Daddyland, CA
    As Christopher Moltisante says, "Kundun! I liked it." Seriously, I agree with you that the writer/screenplay is responsible for setting up the characters and story, but Scorsese is responsible for choosing what to make into a film. And he consistently chooses these types of characters. It is the mark of a great writer to be able to realistically portray a character of the opposite sex or different ethnicities. It's not easy. Few can do it and fewer can do it well. I have not quite seen a female character in a popular Scorsese film come to life in this way of embracing free will. They are generally little more than props for the male characters. The Karen role is certainly ample material for a great supporting performance, and Bracco delivers. But it is only supporting. I'm not even saying it's a bad thing or worthy of criticizing Scorsese, but it is just a general feature of his films and one would think he'd understand his own limitations enough to stay out of these types of slippery slopes.

    You're missing my point. It's about Scorsese's work overall. He's in a glass house regarding a great many things that *could* be heavily criticized if you want to go that route. When he criticizes other films, he invites that kind of criticism of his own films. Goodfellas and the rest of Scorsese's work show a clear pattern in the kind of characters and stories he feels comfortable bringing to life on screen, and it generally isn't favorable to certain demographics. Not that I care, but the pattern is there to be plainly seen and one would think he'd recognize it before he starts criticizing others.

    GMAFB. Any self-respecting, strong woman would have left HH almost immediately upon getting to know him, as the character voiceover for Karen said very clearly when Henry first handed her a gun to hide. Yet she didn't, even after getting a good understanding of the crime, cheating and other problems.

    See? That's inviting criticism. When you call hugely successful, beloved films "nonsense" and then claim the films you like are "real"...you're on a slippery slope. What's real about them? The kind of violence? The portrayal of women or criminals? Nothing you see in movies is real. Not in Scorsese's movies any more than in Marvel's movies. They're pure entertainment, as Scorsese himself made the thesis statement in Raging Bull. "Give me a stage..." The only thing real about it is that De Niro gained a ton of weight and won a bunch of awards for eating like a pig and portraying a pig that could fight.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2019
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  20. This Heat

    This Heat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    This thread certainly proves that most people didn't even read beyond the headline of the Scorsese article .
     
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  21. GregM

    GregM Ready to cross that fine line

    Location:
    Daddyland, CA
    Scorsese wouldn't say he had sour grapes about Irishman, but that is what the entire issue is about.
     
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  22. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident

    I don't think that has happened. There are plenty of screens and plenty of periods of time when there are no superhero films in the theater. AMC would love to show The Irishman, but they know they are in a fight for their life with NetFlix. If they would offer a reasonable period of exclusivity, it could be on a couple of thousand screens tomorrow.
     
  23. This Heat

    This Heat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Yes that is it. Nothing at all to do with specifically Marvel and Disney and the economic limits of franchise filmmaking.

    I am going to start a thread now defending Universal for burning all of their master tapes! Corporations need to be defended from individual artists!
     
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  24. This Heat

    This Heat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    That deal almost happened but Netflix has silly demands.
     
  25. Holerbot6000

    Holerbot6000 Forum Resident

    Location:
    California
    I defer to your greater knowledge Chris. I have become a home theater sluggabed who is only roused to action by Marvel and Star Wars movies - exactly the kind of person Marty is complaining about. Sorry Marty! :crazy:
     
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