Jacobin: ‘Scorsese Versus Superheroes’ Misses the Point

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Martin Scorsese attends the SFFILM premiere of "The Irishman" at the Castro Theatre on November 5, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Kimberly White/Getty Images)

Reprinted from Jacobin by Eileen Jones on November 25, 2019.

“When Martin Scorsese stirred up controversy recently by saying that Marvel superhero movies ‘aren’t cinema,’ I groaned inwardly,” writes Eileen Jones in Jacobin. “Superhero movies aren’t my favorite genre, but I’ve liked a few of them, and they continue to make my godsons happy. At any rate, I recognized the storm of stupid overstatements we were headed into. Here’s how it went down, according to Indiewire:

“Don’t ask Martin Scorsese his thoughts on the record-breaking Avengers: Endgame because he hasn’t seen it, nor will he ever see it. The legendary filmmaker recently dismissed the Marvel Cinematic Universe during an interview with Empire magazine, saying that Marvel movies do not possess the traits that make cinema truly special.

“’I don’t see them. I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema,’ Scorsese told Empire. ‘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.’

“This kind of loaded question is one I know well. It’s common practice to get people associated with some serious effort at making films, or writing about films, or teaching in film studies programs, to weigh in on the topic ‘Superhero Films: Great Stuff or Pernicious Shit?’ My students used to ask me where I stood on this burning question, and I always recognized it as the trap it was. Nobody wants a moderate answer, such as, ‘A few are good, but in general they suck, like with most things.’ …

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Jacobin 11/25

About Jeffrey Burman 5290 Articles
Jeff Burman served on the Guild’s Board of Directors from 1992 to 2019. He is now retired. He can be reached at jeffrey.s.burman.57@gmail.com.

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