Martin Scorsese fans are pointing out a flaw in James Gunn’s clarification of his remarks about the director.
Gunn, who is currently preparing to shoot his third Guardians of the Galaxy film for Marvel, was asked about Scorsese’s views on the comic book studio in a recent interview.
In 2019, Scorsese said he “tried” watching Marvel films, stating: “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.”
After Scorsese’s comments caused a furore, the filmmaker clarified his views in a New York Times essay, writing: “Many of the elements that define cinema as I know it are not there in Marvel pictures. They are sequels in name but they are remakes in spirit, and everything in them is officially sanctioned because it can’t really be any other way.
“That’s the nature of modern film franchises: market-researched, audience-tested, vetted, modified, revetted and remodified until they’re ready for consumption.”
Gunn, who acknowledged that Scorsese “said a lot of things that I agree with”, told Happy Sad Confused podcast he thought the director was mentioning Marvel to “get attention” ahead of releasing his new film. Scorsese made his comments during the press tour for The Irishman.
“So he’s creating his movie in the shadow of the Marvel films, and so he uses that to get attention for something that he wasn’t getting as much attention as he wanted for it,” Gunn said.
After his words were shared on social media, Gunn clarified his stance, stating: “Also for the record, Martin Scorsese is probably the world’s greatest living American filmmaker. 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.”
However, people were quick to point out that Scorsese actually does like certain comic book movies – he was merely commenting on the Marvel formula of filmmaking, which requires directors to tick certain boxes provided by the studio’s bosses in order to set up future films.
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“He didn’t say that though,” one person responded to Gunn. “He speaks highly of Raimi’s first two Spider-Man films in the Decade Under The Influence doc and he references [Tim] Burton’s Batman on the Criterion commentary of Taxi Driver.”
Another person added: “Is his point really that all comic book movies aren’t cinema or just Marvel’s formula for them?”
Gunn’s latest film, The Suicide Squad, is in cinemas now.