Martin Scorsese says Marvel movies have 'no mystery and no risk' in New York Times op-ed essay

Ben ArnoldContributor
Martin Scorsese poses on the red carpet of the movie The Irishman at the Rome Film Fest (Credit: AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Martin Scorsese poses on the red carpet of the movie The Irishman at the Rome Film Fest (Credit: AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

In the story which won't go away, Martin Scorsese has sought to clarify his comments over the Marvel movies personally.

The director has penned an op-ed on the matter for The New York Times, saying that the movies have 'no mystery' and 'no risk'.

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Headlined 'I Said Marvel Movies Aren’t Cinema. Let Me Explain', the Goodfellas helmsman writes: “Many of the elements that define cinema as I know it are there in Marvel pictures.

Read more: Martin Scorsese doubles down on Marvel comments

“What’s not there is revelation, mystery or genuine emotional danger. Nothing is at risk. The pictures are made to satisfy a specific set of demands, and they are designed as variations on a finite number of themes.”

Scorsese first made the comments in an interview with Empire magazine.

He then doubled down on them while delivering the annual David Lean lecture at BAFTA, calling them 'amusement park movies'.

However, in the NYT essay, he's attempted to mitigate, saying that he means no disrespect to those in the film business responsible for making them.

“Many franchise films are made by people of considerable talent and artistry,” he goes on.

Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America in 'Avengers: Endgame'. (Credit: Disney/Marvel)
Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America in 'Avengers: Endgame'. (Credit: Disney/Marvel)

“You can see it on the screen. The fact that the films themselves don’t interest me is a matter of personal taste and temperament. I know that if I were younger, if I’d come of age at a later time, I might have been excited by these pictures and maybe even wanted to make one myself.

“But I grew up when I did and I developed a sense of movies - of what they were and what they could be - that was as far from the Marvel universe as we on Earth are from Alpha Centauri.

Read more: Bob Iger takes aim at Scorsese and Coppola’s ‘b**ching’ over Marvel

“That’s the nature of modern film franchises: market-researched, audience-tested, vetted, modified, revetted and remodified until they’re ready for consumption. Another way of putting it would be that they are everything that the films of Paul Thomas Anderson or Claire Denis or Spike Lee or Ari Aster or Kathryn Bigelow or Wes Anderson are not.”

Scorsese's comments were echoed by his friend an contemporary Francis Ford Coppola, who in an interview with French media appeared to call the Marvel franchise 'despicable'.

He later said that the comments had lost something in the translation, adding that it was the system of making money from them that he found despicable rather than the movies themselves.

Scorsese’s new mob epic The Irishman streams on Netflix from 27 November.

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