Francis Ford Coppola is clarifying his opinion after coming to Martin Scorsese’s defence in the battle over the cinematic merits of Marvel movies.
The famed “Apocalypse Now” director, 80, went to bat for Scorsese earlier this month while speaking at the Lumière Festival in Lyon, France, where he received the festival’s lifetime achievement award.
As AFP reported, Coppola took Scorsese’s critiques of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) a step further, labeling the superhero flicks as not only “not cinema” but also “despicable.”
“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,” declared Coppola. “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.”
In a new interview with Deadline, Coppola expanded on his comments, explaining he was critiquing the franchise movie model.
“Personally I don’t like the idea of franchises, the notion that you can keep repeating what is essentially the same movie for financial gain — in other words, what is a formulaic approach,” he explained. “I feel that approach is taken to reduce the economic risk of movies, and I feel the ‘risk factor’ is an element that makes movies sometimes be great. Also, the formulaic film draws most available resources to them, leaving little for more daring productions, reducing diversity.”
He added, “In some ways I think the cinema is like food; certainly you can add things to make it tempting, tasty and enjoyable but it must also be nutritious to qualify as real food,”
Last week, after Coppola’s original comments, “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn pushed back in an Instagram post in which he likened superhero movies to the genre of films Coppola is perhaps best know for — gangster movies.
“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,” Gunn wrote. “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. ❤️”
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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 previously tweeted about Scorsese’s Marvel remarks, saying, “Martin Scorsese is one of my 5 favorite living filmmakers. I was outraged when people picketed ‘The Last Temptation of Christ’ without having seen the film. I’m saddened that he’s now judging my films in the same way.”
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” star Sebastian Stan shared similar sentiments about Coppola’s remarks. “He’s one of my heroes and I was listening to him and meanwhile, I just spent the day with all of you,” Stan revealed to fans during a panel at Fandemic Tour Houston (via ComicBook.com). “People have been going up to me like ‘Thank you so much for this character,’ ‘This movie helped me out so much,’ ‘This movie inspired me. Now I feel better. Now I feel less alone,’ so how can you say these movies are not helping people?”
The brouhaha between Marvel and Scorsese began earlier this month when the “Taxi Driver” director said he doesn’t watch Marvel movies. “I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema,” he told Empire magazine. “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.”
Despite backlash from Marvel fans and stars, Scorsese further inflamed the debate when he doubled down on his views. Again referring to the MCU, Scorsese commented, “It’s not cinema, it’s something else. We shouldn’t be invaded by it. We need cinemas to step up and show films that are narrative films.”