Director James Gunn has responded to Martin Scorsese’s past criticism of Marvel films.
Gunn has worked on three Guardians of the Galaxy films for Marvel. The third one is scheduled for release in 2023. Gunn was initially removed from the project in July 2018 after a US conservative website resurfaced some of his old tweets. He was reinstated as director in March 2019.
The filmmaker is also at the helm of DC Comics’ The Suicide Squad, released in the UK on 30 July and coming to the US on 5 August.
During a recent interview with the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Gunn was asked about Scorsese’s comments about Marvel movies, and whether he feels a responsibility to defend superhero films.
In a 2019 interview with Empire, Scorsese said he doesn’t watch Marvel films, adding: “I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema. 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.”
Scorsese later elaborated in a New York Times essay, writing in part: “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.
“I know that if I were younger, if I’d come of age at a later time, I might have been excited by these pictures and maybe even wanted to make one myself. But I grew up when I did and I developed a sense of movies — of what they were and what they could be — that was as far from the Marvel universe as we on Earth are from Alpha Centauri.”
On the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Gunn weighed his response for a few moments before stating: “It just seems awfully cynical that he kept coming out against Marvel, and that’s the only thing that would get him press for his movie, so then he just kept coming out against Marvel so that he could get press for his movie.”
Gunn didn’t specify which movie he was referring to, but Scorsese’s comments made headlines around the time he released The Irishman on Netflix.
“So he’s creating his movie in the shadow of the Marvel films, and so he uses that to get attention for something that he wasn’t getting as much attention as he wanted for it,” Gunn added.
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“He’s one of the greatest filmmakers who’s ever existed. I love his movies. I can watch his movies with no problem. And he said a lot of things that I agree with. There is a lot of things that are true about what he said. There are a lot of heartless, soulless spectacle films out there that don’t reflect what should be happening.”
The Independent has contacted Scorsese’s representative for comment.