Gunn, who's weathered his lion's share of social media controversies over the years, including offensive tweets that led to him being fired by Disney, sounded off on Instagram Sunday afternoon in a lengthy post, embedded below.
“Many of our grandfathers thought all gangster movies were the same, often calling them 'despicable,'” he wrote. “Some of our great grandfathers thought the same of westerns, and believed the films of John Ford, Sam Peckinpah, and Sergio Leone were all exactly the same. I remember a great uncle to whom I was raving about Star Wars. He responded by saying, 'I saw that when it was called 2001, and, boy, was it boring!' Superheroes are simply today's gangsters/cowboys/outer space adventurers. Some superhero films are awful, some are beautiful. Like westerns and gangster movies and before that, just MOVIES, not everyone will be able to appreciate them, even some geniuses. And that's okay.”
“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,” the 80-year-old filmmaker said. “Martin was kind when he said it's not cinema. He didn't say it's despicable, which I just say it is.”
While everyone is still in the midst of digesting director Francis Ford Coppola’s defense of Martin Scorsese against the “despicable” movies of Marvel, another A-lister has thrown their hat into the ring. Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter at a Los Angeles gala over the weekend, Thor and Thor: The Dark World actress Natalie Portman - who is set to return in Taika Waititi’s Thor: Love and Thunder - had a few things to say about Scorsese’s equating Marvel’s movies to theme parks while labeling them as “not cinema.”
“I think there’s room for all types of cinema… There’s not one way to make art,” she said - echoing the previous comments of her Marvel Cinematic Universe castmate Samuel L. Jackson. “I think that Marvel films are so popular because they’re really entertaining and people desire entertainment when they have their special time after work, after dealing with their hardships in real life.”
Portman’s public position on the faux, social media-driven debate put her more in line with Jackson and other industry professionals who don’t seem as invested in defending Marvel Studios against Scorsese’s comments. Others, like Robert Downey Jr., James Gunn, and Damon Lindelof, have been slightly more critical of The Irishman director, while the likes of Kevin Smith have praised Scorsese and defended Marvel simultaneously. As for Coppola’s viral comments, though, he seems to be the maddest of them all.
Different verse, same as the first: Not long after Martin Scorsese slammed superhero movies, saying they're “not cinema,” one of his esteemed colleagues — and fellow co-director of the anthology picture New York Stories — has gone even further. Francis Ford Coppola backed Scorsese up and doubled down, calling the genre “despicable.” And just as Marvel fans, stars, and directors went after the man who made Raging Bull, Goodfellas, and the new The Irishman, some are gunning for the man behind The Godfather trilogy, Apocalypse Now, and the newly recut version of The Cotton Club.
Natalie Portman — aka Thor's ex-girlfriend, who will soon become the female Thor — already issued a semi-diplomatic response to Coppola's withering comments. James Gunn was a bit more forceful. The Guardians of the Galaxy series helmer — who's currently busy with The Suicide Squad — proudly pushed back against Scorsese's comments, and he did the same with Coppola in an Instagram post Sunday morning.
“Many of our grandfathers thought all gangster movies were the same, often calling them 'despicable. Some of our great grandfathers thought the same of westerns, and believed the films of John Ford, Sam Peckinpah, and Sergio Leone were all exactly the same. I remember a great uncle to whom I was raving about Star Wars. He responded by saying, 'I saw that when it was called 2001, and, boy, was it boring!' Superheroes are simply today's gangsters/cowboys/outer space adventurers. Some superhero films are awful, some are beautiful. Like westerns and gangster movies and before that, just MOVIES, not everyone will be able to appreciate them, even some geniuses. And that's okay.”
Gunn paired his lengthy post with a still of Rocket Raccoon looking at Groot.
Gunn isn't the only Marvel employee who's refused to take such criticisms sitting down. Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L. Jackson, and Kevin Smith have all tried to defend the most profitable movies in modern cinema while not insulting them.
Of course, this begs the question: Who will be the next towering auteur who will publicly come for superhero movies? Incidentally, Terrence Malick — film genius and Zoolander superfan — has a new movie coming out.
Martin Scorsese threw fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe into a tizzy recently when he said that the films of Marvel Studios and other superhero movies alike were not what he considered cinema. Instead, he equated them to theme park rides and even took it a step further by saying movie theaters needed to support what he called “narrative films” instead of superhero movies. At the same time, he did acknowledge the hard work that goes into them, though he reaffirmed his belief that they are not truly cinema. But director Francis Ford Coppola took it a step further.
While speaking to journalists in Lyon, France after accepting the Prix Lumiere award for his overall contributions to cinema throughout his career, Coppola was asked about Martin Scorsese’s comments, an d The Godfather saga fiilmmaker did not hold back when throwing shade at Marvel movies, reiterating again that they “are not cinema” but also adding that they are “despicable.” Find out the rest of the Francis Ford Coppola Marvel movie criticism below.
Yahoo News brought our attention to Coppola’s commentary, and here’s what the director had to say:
“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. Martin was kind when he said it’s not cinema. He didn’t say it’s despicable, which I just say it is.”
There’s a lot to unpack here.
First, let’s just address the fact that Francis Ford Coppola is a filmmaking legend. As the director of masterpieces like The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Apocalypse Now, and The Conversation, he’s proven that he’s a master storyteller. Furthermore, not only has he earned the right to criticize film, but this is simply his opinion. Nothing Coppola says should change the way you feel about Marvel movies, and just because a filmmaker of his caliber said this doesn’t mean he’s right.
Secondly, it should be pointed out that although Francis Ford Coppola is one of the best filmmakers of the 20th century, he’s yet to direct anything in the 21st century that is remotely relevant or remarkable. His last good movie was arguably The Rainmaker in 1997 or Bram Stoker’s Dracula before that in 1992 though I’ll admit that I have a childhood nostalgic soft spot for the critically panned Jack in 1996. That doesn’t take away from his importance in the grand scheme of cinema, but it’s clear that he’s not exactly at the of the filmmaking prowess that he used to be.
Along with that, the guy turned 70 years old this year, and when people reach that age, they’re not too keen on other people playing in their yard. And when you consider the fact that Coppola probably doesn’t have the easiest time rounding up money for his movies while Marvel Studios is able to churn out three movies a year, that probably doesn’t rub him the right way.
However, none of this makes him right or wrong. Again, this is merely his opinion. I’ll concede that there is some credence to him criticizing the fact that all Marvel Studios movies feel the same, largely thanks to the unified style that Kevin Feige has pushed for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But at the same time, to say that these movies don’t provide enlightenment, knowledge or inspiration to people is simply false.
Not everyone is moved by the kind of epic, sprawling dramas that Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese make. And some of those people find something meaningful to latch onto in the movies of Marvel Cinematic Universe. Adults and children alike genuinely love these characters. That’s why tears streamed down their faces when Tony Stark died in Avengers: Endgame. Marvel movies also provide a diverse slate of superheroes for kids of every ethnic background to look up to. And that’s only going to increase as time goes on.
To disregard these movies as simply despicable feels shortsighted and bitter. Coppola can say whatever he likes about whatever movie he wants. But he doesn’t have the final word on what constitutes cinema or what certain movies mean to you. And don’t forget that Francis Ford Coppola directed Captain EO, a Michael Jackson-led sci-fi short film that was shown at Disney theme parks from 1986 through 1996. So we’ve all done things that can be called despicable.
Martin Scorsese stirred up a hornet's nest when he boldly claimed that Marvel movies, especially those held within Disney's MCU, are not cinema. Now one of his contemporaries, Francis Ford Coppola, the man behind such seminal classics as The Godfather and Apocalypse Now, is agreeing with the filmmaker. Only Coppola does Marty one better. He dares call the MCU movies 'Despicable'.
Agree to disagree. Many people love Marvel movies, especially those held within the MCU. You need only look at the box office receipts for that. They have dominated the cinematic landscape for the past decade. And some of the older guard just ain't having it. After Martin Scorsese made his comments that these movies aren't cinema, quite a few MCU luminaries responded, including Robert Downey Jr. and James Gunn, most politely disagreeing with him.
You won't get any such disagreement from Francis Ford Coppola, who last directed the hardly seen Distant Vision back in 2016, with the obscure fantasy horror comedy Twixt coming before that in 2011. Coppola also believes that these MCU outings are nothing but theme park rides. And it's unlikely that we'll see the master filmmaker ever embarking on one of these endeavors. Speaking to journalists at the French city of Lyon where he's just been awarded the Prix Lumiere for his contribution to cinema, Coppola says this.
"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. Martin was kind when he said it's not cinema. He didn't say it's despicable, which I just say it is."
Francis Ford Coppola only selectively works when a project truly interests him. And he has found such a project in Megalopolis, which deals with utopia. The director has been working on the project for over two decades, and may just be riling up Marvel fans to bring some attention to his own current work. He says this about the movie.
Related: Elizabeth Olsen Thinks an All-Women MCU Movie Would Land with a Huge Impact
"I wanted to make a film about a human expression of what really is heaven on earth. I would say it's the most ambitious film I've worked on -- more than Apocalypse Now. That's the problem. I think it would cost more than Apocalypse Now. It would be the biggest budget I ever had to work with."
Francis Ford Coppola has now joined the exclusive ranks of those who have received the Prix Lumiere. Past recipients include Martin Scorsese, Pedro Almodovar and Milos Forman. We don't know how those other two guys feel about MCU movies. But we may find out soon. Jennifer Aniston is another big name that has come out against Marvel and Disney in recent weeks. She, instead, would like to see a Meg Ryan revival at the local cinema. Doubt that will happen though. These comments from Francis Ford Coppola come from Yahoo! News.
Martin Scorsese’s upcoming Netflix epic The Irishman has been getting rave reviews, but throughout its many promotions over the past month, the film’s press has been dogged by the director’s comments about the movies produced by Disney conglomerate Marvel Studios. In an interview, Scorsese declared Marvel movies were “not cinema” and compared them to theme parks. He later doubled-down on these comments despite various responses from Marvel actors Samuel L. Jackson and Robert Downey Jr., fanboy auteur Kevin Smith, and superhero genre enthusiast Damon Lindelof.
The Marvel fans were also quite vocal about the matter, which exploded in social media circles almost immediately. Even so, the faux outcry has not disquieted Scorsese and his supporters - including fellow iconic director Francis Ford Coppola. When Agence France-Presse caught up with him recently, they asked him about the “controversy” surrounding Scorsese’s comments. Not only did he agree with his fellow director, but Coppola also took it a step further by calling Marvel movies “despicable.”
Per Yahoo! 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.
“I don’t know that anyone gets anything out of seeing the same movie over and over again,” the 80-year-old filmmaker said.
“Martin was kind when he said it’s not cinema. He didn’t say it’s despicable, which I just say it is.“
With HBO’s Watchmen series - which was created by Lindelof - premiering this weekend, Coppola’s involvement in the ongoing Marvel movies debate is sure to keep these irritating fires lit for a few more days.