Blog 2019

Martin Scorsese and Marvel Movies

So some time ago, Martin Scorsese said that he didn’t like ‘the Marvel movies’ and he didn’t consider the cinema.  And the film-going audiences went a little nuts.  Film fans were like ‘oh no he didn’t!’ and others were like ‘oh my gosh, he’s totally right’.  And it was a thing.  Cool, fine.

And then Scorsese penned an opinion piece (an “op-ed” if you will) expounding on this point.  He griped about how the modern film landscape was overrun with these high-budget, overly saturated colorful flights of fancy.  He complained about how the movie going public was being denied risky, arthouse ventures by a diversity and breadth of filmmaking voices.  He opined about the days of yore when movies were purer visions of artistic credibility.  Cool, fine.

And the film-going audiences went a little nuts.  Film fans were like ‘oh no he didn’t!’ and others were like ‘oh my gosh, he’s totally right’.  And that was a thing.

For my two cents, I don’t give a damn.

See, here’s the thing: Martin Scorsese is a movie maker.  He’s a producer and a director and those two jobs typically involve the bulk of ‘making’ the movie.  They compose the vision that will be the film and they largely are responsible for making it happen.  If you wear one hat in making art, then your vision is limited.  But if you were multiple hats, then your perspective gains some credibility.  Like points on a graph, once you have a second (or more) point of view, you have some perspective from which to speak.

Scorsese has produced some of the most lauded and acclaimed films in cinema history.  He is well-known, well-respected, and his name is short-hand for films of high quality and excellence.  Cool, fine.

But that respect and that acclaim?  That isn’t shared by me.  I don’t really like Scorsese’s movies.  Oh, they’re good.  They’re excellent!  Masterful, even.  I don’t have to like something to recognize how well-made it is.  And his movies are exceedingly well-made.  But I do have to like something to consider its creator’s opinion of particular value.  See, Scorsese’s movies say a lot about him, about his world-view, and about his artistic sensibilities.  And if I don’t enjoy those movies, odds are, I won’t align very closely with his world-view or his artistic sensibilities.  So if I don’t like movies, and thus I don’t align with his artistic sensibilities, when he comes out and says he looks down on movies I do like, I don’t even bat an eyelash.

More than that, however, there is a certain ignorance that I feel is informing his perspective.  While he may make movies, I’m not aware of him ever making a superhero movie.  I don’t think he’s even worked adjacent to such a property.  I’m not aware of him having any appreciable knowledge of the genre, within or outside of film.  So he is speaking about a genre for which he (seemingly) has no experience as a creator or as much of an audience goer.

Martin Scorsese’s opinion is as valid as anyone else’s simply by virtue that one opinion is as valid as another.  Now, you may grant him some additional credence since he is a film maker, and an accomplished and established one at that.  But because he doesn’t work in this genre, that’s like an opera conductor critiquing a jazz composer or a landscape painter talking smack to a comic book artist.

More than that, the fact that his movies do not resonate with me, tells me that his view of the world and my view of the world may not be compatible.  As such, I am disinclined to give much additional weight to his opinion, no matter how well-versed and accomplished in his field he might be.

I don’t think Martin Scorsese is ‘wrong’.  It’s his opinion and he’s entitled to it.  And I don’t think he’s too off-the-mark about it either.  I think there’s a lot about the politics and culture of modern films that needs to be addressed.  Superhero movies are currently benefiting from those politics, but when they go the way of cowboy movies before them, it’s going to take the wind out of a lot of sails.  But the corporate machine that produces these movies, the advertising machine that churns on these movies, the global mentality that pushes out more regional concerns, these are all very valid and well-worth talking about.  And I think that’s more what Martin Scorsese is railing against, not movies about heroes in colorful costumes.

At the end of the day, I’m not sure what may come of this fervor.  I just know that a film maker I only kind of like who makes movies I don’t really care for said something I don’t agree with about movies he’s never really seen.  Cool, fine.  I don’t give a damn.

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