You might have thought that the discourse surrounding the Marvel Cinematic Universe might abate a little now that it's been several months since Avengers: Endgame came out. But while Thanos has been defeated, the MCU has a new foe: critically acclaimed filmmakers who just won't stop talking trash.
Francis Ford Coppola is the latest director to badmouth Marvel movies, following in the footsteps of Martin Scorsese who said earlier this month that they are "not cinema" and compared the superhero saga to "a theme park." His comments, given during an interview with Empire, promptly sparked a backlash, with retorts from The Avengers director Joss Whedon and Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn.
And now The Godfather and Apocalypse Now auteur Coppola has entered the fray, just as we thought it was all about to die down.
"When Martin Scorsese says that Marvel pictures are not cinema, he’s right, because we expect to learn something from cinema," he said during a press appearance in Lyons, where he was being honored with the Prix Lumiere. "We expect to gain something—some enlightenment, some knowledge, some inspiration. 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."
Shots fired. James Gunn responded to this latest criticism in an Instagram post, in which he made the point that cultural perspectives often change in hindsight.
"Many of our grandfathers thought all gangster movies were the same, often calling them 'despicable,'" he said. "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."
While Gunn's statement is a little extra, he's essentially just saying "let people enjoy things." Here's hoping it's the last time he feels the need to go all-in defending his work. And if we're going to keep this feud between Marvel and proponents of cinéma going, I have just one request: can directors watch Black Panther before they start talking smack about how a comic book movie can't convey "knowledge" or "inspiration"? Thanks so much.
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