Martin Scorsese vs. Marvel

Superhero films have been one of the most polarizing niches in the film community since their birth. Despite these kinds of movies wracking in billions of dollars with each release, they have yet to gain respect from major film critics and a majority of the film community. Martin Scorsese, director of countless Academy-awarded films, has been publicly outspoken about his disdain for this niche, specifically the Marvel franchise.

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The quote from Scorsese that went viral was “Honestly, the closest I can think of them, as well made as they are, with actors doing the best they can under the circumstances, as theme parks. It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.”

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Die-hard Marvel fans took to the internet to support the franchise, creating an animated discourse mainly over Twitter. Many pointed out that Tony Stark (played by Robert Downey Jr.) portrayed the struggle with PTSD in many scenarios, so much so that "Iron Man 3" is pretty well known for Tony Stark’s anxiety attack scene. Beyond this, the movies explore a menagerie of romantic and familial bonds that are often tested or broken. To say that these movies don’t ever convey emotional experiences is a little unfair. I myself have even cried during a Marvel movie.

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On the flip-side, you have to take into consideration the space that Marvel movies occupy. Any opening weekend for a Marvel movie dominates media with promotions and directly affects how other in-theatre movies do. Other movies with deeper content and often social commentary get pushed to the side, while Marvel movies that don’t make much of a commentary on anything monopolize the attention of moviegoers.

What’s especially interesting is how Scorsese likens the movies to amusement parks. Marvel has been dubbed a blockbuster-making machine, just pumping out movies with high budgets, flashing lights and a family-friendly atmosphere, which all sounds pretty similar to an amusement park.

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The Russo brothers, the directors of the Avengers movies, recently responded in an interview with Hollywood Reporter saying, "When we look at the box office [of] "Avengers: Endgame," we don't see that as a signifier of financial success, we see it as a signifier of emotional success. It's a movie that had an unprecedented impact on audiences around the world in the way that they shared that narrative and the way that they experienced it. And the emotions they felt watching it."

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It is hard to dismiss the community of passionate supporters Marvel has created through its films, a feat that very few franchises are capable of. But I’ll pass this one off to the readers: Do you find Marvel movies to be superficial creations made by a multi-billion dollar conglomerate or do you see the quality behind the much-loved franchise?