Weeks on and the talk of Martin Scorsese’s stance on Marvel films sadly has yet to end, especially as more comments keep coming in from both him and other filmmakers about where they stand.
Things seem to be reaching a head this week however. Following yesterday’s comments from Disney CEO Bob Iger defending the Marvel film empire, Scorsese himself has now penned an essay for the New York Times in which he has the opportunity to explain his stance fully and hopefully end the arguments..
In the essay, Scorsese doesn’t back down from his stance even as he applauds the work that goes into those films: “Many franchise films are made by people of considerable talent and artistry. You can see it on the screen. The fact that the films themselves don’t interest me is a matter of personal taste and temperament.” He then goes on to say:
“They are sequels in name but they are remakes in spirit, and everything in them is officially sanctioned because it can’t really be any other way. That’s the nature of modern film franchises: market-researched, audience-tested, vetted, modified, revetted and remodified until they’re ready for consumption.”
As contrast he calls the films of Paul Thomas Anderson, Claire Denis, Spike Lee, Ari Aster, Kathryn Bigelow and Wes Anderson the opposite of that kind of filmmaking:
“When I watch a movie by any of those filmmakers, I know I’m going to see something absolutely new and be taken to unexpected and maybe even unnameable areas of experience. My sense of what is possible in telling stories with moving images and sounds is going to be expanded.”
A lot of his issue stems from a legitimate concern that franchise films are killing the theatrical release model, not because of their financial success but because the audience is being trained into thinking that these films are the only films to bother with on the big screen and everything else can be streamed:
“If you’re going to tell me that it’s simply a matter of supply and demand and giving the people what they want, I’m going to disagree. It’s a chicken-and-egg issue. If people are given only one kind of thing and endlessly sold only one kind of thing, of course they’re going to want more of that one kind of thing.”
The full essay can be found over at The New York Times.