Ever since Martin Scorsese boldly claimed that Marvel Cinematic Universe movies don’t qualify as “cinema”, the endless discourse around the topic has been frankly exhausting.
Look, while I’m as big of a comic book movie fan as you’ll find on the internet (I mean, shit, writing about them is quite literally my livelihood), even I’ve found that rampant debate surrounding Scorsese’s “cinema” comments to be overwhelmingly pointless.
Yes, while Martin Scorsese is easily one of the Top 10 film directors of all-time, it doesn’t mean his opinion about other projects necessarily matters, as art — which is what film is — is and always will be meant to be subjective. If all of these film lovers are as passionate about the medium as they claim to be, then they should understand that, despite Scorses’s considerable clout, his opinion about comic book movies is irrelevant.
The directors of Avengers: Endgame — Joe and Anthony Russo — seem to agree with that sentiment, as they recently responded to Scorsese’s comments with a brief retort that underscores why the legendary director’s opinion of superheroes is generally unimportant.
Scorsese has noted that he has tried to watch a few Marvel films, but quickly abandoned them. The Russos note it’s challenging to have a dialogue about cinema if the acclaimed director hasn’t seen the films he is talking about.
“But, at the end of the day, what do we know?” Joe says, jokingly. “We’re just two guys from Cleveland, Ohio, and ‘cinema’ is a New York word. In Cleveland, we call them movies.”
Adds Anthony: “The other way to think about it, too, is nobody owns cinema. We don’t own cinema. You don’t own cinema. Scorsese doesn’t own cinema.” [via The Hollywood Reporter]
While Scorsese has since tried to walk his comments back a bit, it’s clear that he’s opened a Pandora’s Box of debate around what constitutes “cinema.” And with Joker set to likely score an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture, expect the conversation to only increasingly intensify.
Eric is a New York City-based writer who still isn’t quite sure how he’s allowed to have this much fun for a living and will tell anyone who listens that Gotham City is canonically in New Jersey. Contact him on Twitter @eric_ital or via email firstname.lastname@example.org