Over the past week or so two of cinema’s greatest living directors, Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola, have expressed their disdain for comic book movies. It’s not surprising to me, but it seems like a lot of people didn’t realize that genre fare is not generally considered serious art or literature. There are some crossover creators like Michael Chabon, Quentin Tarantino and Kenneth Branagh, but usually genre is genre.
Marvel director James Gunn apparently just cannot deal with this. I feel bad for him because as Marvel directors go, he’s the best. With the exception of Kenneth Branagh, that is. But he’s very, very good at making genre action-comedies. So good that everyone else has essentially just copied what he did to the point where it’s annoying and you start to see what Scorsese and Coppola are talking about.
When Scorsese said that comic book movies aren’t cinema but instead are “theme parks,” here’s what Gunn said.
Martin Scorsese is one of my 5 favorite living filmmakers. I was outraged when people picketed The Last Temptation of Christ without having seen the film. I’m saddened that he’s now judging my films in the same way. https://t.co/hzHp8x4Aj8
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) October 4, 2019
Now, Scorsese said he “tried” to watch Marvel movies, so it’s not exactly the same, and even though Gunn goes on to say he’s not trying say he made anything remotely as brilliant as The Last Temptation of Christ, he may not want to invite the comparison.
But that was almost a month ago. More recently, Francis Ford Coppola weighed in and he was nowhere near as kind as Scorsese. After all, theme parks are fun. It’s a nice way to spend a vacation. Adult humans go to theme parks alone all the time. Weird adult humans but adults nonetheless.
Here’s what Coppola said when asked about it, via Fox News:
“When Martin Scorsese says that the Marvel pictures are not cinema, he’s right, because we expect to learn something from cinema, we expect to gain something, some enlightenment, some knowledge, some inspiration,” Coppola said while speaking to a journalist in Lyon. “I don’t know that anyone gets anything out of seeing the same move over and over again. Martin was kind when he said it’s not cinema. He didn’t say it’s despicable, which I just say it is.”
Despicable. I don’t think I’d go that far, even though Disney is a pretty evil corporation.
Guess who didn’t like this? If you guessed Marvel fans, you’re right. Matt Oswalt, the brother of Patton Oswalt, had some advice for angry Marvel fans.
if you don’t wanna hear great filmmakers criticize comic book movies maybe stop asking them.
It’s like “Hey Richard Pryor and George Carlin, what’s your favorite Dane Cook bit?” and then losing all respect for them as comics when they can’t name one
— Matt 🎃swalt (@MattOswaltVA) October 20, 2019
I rather like the comparison of Marvel films to Dane Cook.
But James Gunn, again, seems very hurt by this.
Gunn talks about the disrespect genre films have traditionally gotten and says how disappointed he is that comic book movies get the same disrespect but, James… you’re not Quentin Tarantino. You’re never going to be Quentin Tarantino.
I actually feel a little bad for James Gunn. He’s created the template for films at a studio that fired Edgar Wright for being too creative but he apparently is laboring under the delusion that he’s making art. James… you’re working for the McDonalds of cinema. It’s fine, everyone loves a quarter pounder with cheese and those fries and some nuggets sometimes. But McDonalds isn’t going to get a Michelin star and you’re not going to get an Oscar. Just do what the Russo brothers do and crap out seven hours of absolute mediocrity and cash your check.