Martin Scorsese calls Marvel movies “theme park rides,” Francis Ford Coppola labels them “despicable,” Ken Loach compares them to “hamburgers.”
Over the past few weeks, Marvel has taken a legitimate beating from some cinematic legends, and this is happening during a vulnerable time for a hit factory moving past the Avengers and into a more openly political and woke phase.
Oscar-winner Scorsese went first, saying of Marvel and comic book movies in general, “Theaters have become amusement parks. That is all fine and good but don’t invade everything else in that sense,” he said. “That is fine and good for those who enjoy that type of film and, by the way, knowing what goes into them now, I admire what they do. It’s not my kind of thing, it simply is not. It’s creating another kind of audience that thinks cinema is that.”
Oscar-winner Francis Ford Coppola said, “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. I don’t know that anyone gets anything out of seeing the same movie over and over again.”
Ken Loach sums it up this way, “”They’re made as commodities like hamburgers, and it’s not about communicating, and it’s not about sharing our imagination,” he said. “It’s about making a commodity which will make a profit for a big corporation – they’re a cynical exercise. They’re a market exercise, and it has nothing to do with the art of cinema.”
My knee-jerk reaction to attacks on genre movies is to cry “snob!,” but there’s some validity to this criticism, especially as it relates to Marvel, which basically reheats the same two plots over and over and over again: 1) We have to come together to save the world, uhm, again!, and 2) Please, for the love of all that is holy, not another origin movie.
I myself have given some of these movies a favorable reviews while comparing them to a theme park ride. And I am getting tired of them… Would I have enjoyed Shazam! In a vacuum, in a world that is not pummeled with a dozen or so comic movies a year, half of which are origin movies? Probably. Even its off-beat sense of humor, that ironic distance thing, is growing tiresome. It felt fresh ten years and a hundred movies ago in Iron Man; enough already.
Obviously, you can’t argue against success. These movies reliably make money and Marvel has done something never before seen: produced more than 20 box office smashes in a row. Eventually, though, audiences tire of the same old. We’ve seen it a million times… Westerns, disaster movies, musicals, biblical epics, space operas, buddy movies, slasher pics, romantic comedies, raunchy comedies… Eventually, we are going to tire of the superhero genre, and maybe Scorsese, Coppola, and Loach are not being snobs.
What I mean is, maybe as successful professionals who not only love movies, but watch and work in the industry, who make a living by eaching an audience, they sense a disturbance in the force, a change in the air, a shift in popular opinion….
Aren’t you a little tired of these movies?
Aren’t they starting to feel a little repetitive and empty?
Joker is a comic book movie, so this might sound counter-intuitive, but maybe it’s breaking all kinds of records (for an R-rated feature) because it feels so fresh, so different, like an anti-Marvel movie. There’s no pretty colors, no saving the world, no obvious CGI, no aliens, no third-act, computer-generated epic battle, and no humor (unless you count the miniature golf joke , which I laughed at).
Critics blasted Joke for aping other movies … that are more than 40-years-old! Meanwhile, every other comic book movie copies movies that are 40 days old.
Honestly, how much are you looking forward to this next Marvel phase, which is going to feature all the same ole-same ole, but fill it with woketardery — Feminism! Gays! Transsexuals! Lady Thor! It all feels a tad oppressive to me.
Maybe Scorsese and company really do dislike comic book movies, or maybe they’re just sick and tired of them. Maybe we all are. I kind of hope so. I’d like to move on to something else.
Guess we will find out soon enough.