by Kyle Arango
Kyle’s Hot Take of the Week
I’ve got thoughts, and I have a ton of them. Some fall in line with the majority opinion, and others are completely my own. That’s where this comes in. Time for a segment I like to call Kyle’s Hot Take of the Week. This week we look at some comments made by a certain filmmaker that caused a big stir in the community.
Hot Take – Martin Scorsese is dead wrong with his Marvel comments.
As soon as I heard these comments, I didn’t expect it to become a hot take. On the surface it is a baffling comment that is confusing to hear from such an established filmmaker. Much to my surprise, there are people agreeing with him and now, I have to lay down the hot take. His quote read “I don’t see them. I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema. Honestly, the closest I can think of them, as well made as they are, with actors doing the best they can under the circumstances, is theme parks. It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.”. This is a completely misinformed take to have and those defending him make me question them as well.
Right off the bat I want to say that I am a fan of Martin Scorsese’s work and appreciate the footprint he has left on the history of cinema. Films like Raging Bull, Goodfellas, and The Wolf of Wall Street are masterpieces to me, and you cannot take that away from him. I have no problem with someone disliking Marvel films. If you’ve seen them all and it just doesn’t work for you, that’s your opinion and you’re completely justified to feel that way. What sets Scorsese apart is the first part of his comments. The “I don’t seem” “not cinema” part. In anything in life you want to have an opinion on, you cannot have that opinion taken seriously if you have not seen what you are talking about. Imagine me saying Chipotle is not food after only trying it once. I may not like it, but it is still food. It just doesn’t make sense to say the most successful movies currently playing in cinemas are not cinema. As Robert Downey Jr. said, it’s like saying Howard Stern isn’t radio, it just doesn’t make any kind of sense. They play in theaters, are made by filmmakers, and are produced by a studio that hires an entire crew of people in the industry to make them. That’s not cinema?
What disappoints me the most about Scorsese’s comments are just how petty they sound. He comes across as a sour elitist that is upset his films aren’t as popular, so he is trying to take them down. It makes sense why he feels that way. No studio wanted to spend over $150 million on a gangster drama that is over three and a half hours. Regardless of how incredible it is, and all the talent involved, Scorsese made it known this was going to cost a ton of money and only Netflix was going to take the risk. It took plucking De Niro, Pacino, and convincing Pesci to come out of retirement to get Netflix to fund his project. No wonder he resents superhero films. Doesn’t mean you have to denigrate them and act like they aren’t movies. That theme parks comment is really the cherry on top of the turd. A backhanded compliment. When was the last time you think Scorsese went to a theme park? Sure Marvel films can be fun and full of excitement like a theme park, but they also have a lot more going on underneath the surface.
The real misguided line of the whole thing is saying the films are not about human beings conveyingemotional and psychological experiences to each other. That line clearly shows either Scorsese hasn’t watched them or wasn’t paying attention. In Iron Man, Tony Stark is trying to deal with the impact of his actions have had on others selling weapons and now wants to give up that old life to provide a better one for others. Guardians of the Galaxy opens with Peter at a young age watch his mother die of cancer as he carries the burden of not taking her hand before she left. That feeling never leaves him as he grows up and befriends others who are just like him and experienced loss. It is not until the end he decides to face the grief head on and accept the happiness around him. Civil War is all about dealing with the repercussions of your actions and having to turn on those closest to you. I could go on and on. Sure, there are some Marvel films that really don’t have much going on under the surface such as Avengers: Age of Ultron film or Thor: The Dark World, but they still are cinema. Black Panther won three Oscars last year, guess he missed that one to.
What is bothering me the most about this whole thing however is his defenders. I see so many people giving him a pass for his comments saying he is justified because he is Martin Scorsese. So what? Just because he is one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, does not mean everything he says is right. I’m not saying he needs to be held to the fire, I just think defending him makes me wonder how you view opinions. We cannot give people a past just because they are revered figures. Spielberg went after Netflix last year because he said their films shouldn’t be considered for Oscars. Should he be defended because he is Steven Spielberg? No and neither should Scorsese.
Martin Scorsese will go down in history as one of the greatest artists in history and nobody can take that away from him. Did I lose some respect from him because of these comments? Yeah, I did. In this age of acceptance we are in where people are encouraged to be open to everyone and everything, it is sad to see Scorsese took a pass on that when it comes to Marvel. It was disrespectful to the studio, the directors, all the actors, and fans of the franchise. His comments were uninformed, misguided, and insulting with people like Samuel L. Jackson, Karen Gillan, and Robert Downey Jr. all speaking out against him. James Gunn and Joss Whedon were genuinely hurt to hear Scorsese won’t even seen his films or consider them cinema. If you think these comments were justified, then you need to revaluate what you consider an opinion.