Martin Scorsese caused a bit of a ripple in the movie and comic book worlds when he said something to the effect of “Marvel films ain’t cinema!” which prompted much discussion over whether he is right or wrong. Now the godfather of the Marvel Cinematic Universe himself, Robert Downey Jr., has weighed in on Scorsese’s remarks and his response was… a little confusing to be honest.
Appearing on The Howard Stern Show to chat about whatever Howard Stern wants to chat about, Robert Downey Jr. was asked about Martin Scorsese’s Marvel comments and he was quite diplomatic about the legendary filmmaker’s position on the issue and didn’t take any offence.
“I appreciate [Scorsese’s] opinion. I think it’s like anything where we need all of the different perspectives so we can come to center and move on.
“It’d be like saying Howard Stern isn’t radio. It makes no sense to say it.”
But then the waters got a little muddied when Downey Jr. sort of started agreeing with Scorsese on the whole “cinema is art” angle while also acknowledging the insane success Marvel has experienced and how the MCU has become a “multi-headed Hydra.”
“There is a lot to be said for how these genre movies — and I was happy to be part of the ‘problem,’ if there is one — but how they have denigrated the era, the art form of cinema.
“When you come in like a stomping beast and you eliminate the competition in such a demonstrative way, it’s phenomenal.”
So on one hand we’re hearing him defend Marvel while respectfully saying that Martin Scorsese is free to his opinion and we should respect it. Yet on the other hand, it also sounds like he’s saying “yeah, there’s something to be said about Marvel films being ‘art’ and they’ve really taken monopoly of the cinema experience haven’t they? But it’s not really that bad!”
Huh. Getting mixed messages there, Robert Downey Jr.
But all in all, this whole topic over what constitutes as “cinema” is a bit ridiculous because we’re dealing with a completely subjective medium. People like different things and what one person may consider to be art might not be what another thinks.
And let’s be honest, if you’re in the big-budget, blockbuster movie business, there’s always going to be a big capitalist element to every project and no amount of parroting “I’m doing it for the art!” from Marty is going to convince people otherwise.
So let’s just channel our inner Robert Downey Jr. and accept the fact that Martin Scorsese doesn’t consider Marvel films to be “cinema” in his eyes while also acknowledging that the MCU is special in its own money-making way.