Scorsese: Marvel Movies Are Part of 'Most Ominous Change'

He says movie business has been steadily eliminating risks
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 5, 2019 5:02 AM CST
Scorsese: Here's Why Marvel Movies Aren't Cinema
This image released by Disney shows Scarlett Johansson, left, and Jeremy Renner in a scene from "Avengers: Endgame."   (Disney/Marvel Studios via AP)

Martin Scorsese angered some Marvel fans when he described the superhero genre as "not cinema"—but he says in a New York Times op-ed that he wasn't insulting movies made by "people of considerable talent and artistry," and if he had been born in a different era, he might have wanted to make one himself. But filmmakers of his generation, Scorsese writes, grew up with movies that were about "confronting the unexpected on the screen and in the life it dramatized and interpreted, and enlarging the sense of what was possible in the art form." And while Marvel movies contain many of the elements of cinema, he writes, "what is not there is revelation, mystery, or genuine emotional danger. Nothing is at risk."

Modern film franchises, Scorsese writes, "are market-researched, audience-tested, vetted, modified, revetted, and remodified until they’re ready for consumption." He says the "most ominous change" in the movie business over the last 20 years has been "the gradual but steady elimination of risk." The situation now, Scorsese says, is that we have two separate fields. "There' s worldwide audiovisual entertainment, and there’s cinema"—and the latter is being crowded out of theaters by franchise films. "For anyone who dreams of making movies or who is just starting out, the situation at this moment is brutal and inhospitable to art," Scorsese concludes. "And the act of simply writing those words fills me with terrible sadness." Click for the full piece. (Francis Ford Coppola says Scorsese's "not cinema" comment was "too kind.")

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