Much has been said over the last few months about Martin Scorsese and the MCU. The director was widely criticized for dubbing films like Avengers: Endgame ‘theme park rides’ rather than cinema. This kicked off an almighty stink that neither side came out of looking particularly good. However, it seems that Scorsese has had the last laugh, as his latest film The Irishman is absolutely incredible and one of the best things he’s made in his long career.
But there’s an ironic twist to Scorsese’s triumph. You see, one of the most interesting things about The Irishman is the way it’s set across multiple decades while keeping the same cast. This is done via CGI de-ageing, allowing us to see mobster Frank Sheeran in multiple stages of his life while keeping De Niro in the role. Some had had their suspicions that this would descend deep into the uncanny valley, but ILM have done a damn near perfect job here.
The thing is, the technology that allows this was refined and perfected through superhero movies and MCU films in particular. One of the first showcases of the tech was Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen in 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand. This didn’t look good, but by the time we got to a young Tony Stark in Captain America: Civil War and Michael Douglas in Ant-Man, you could tell the technology had come on in leaps and bounds. The real litmus test though proved to be Samuel L. Jackson in Captain Marvel, which was basically indistinguishable from this 90s self.
But without those early footsteps and slightly awkward tests, it’s doubtful that the technology would have been advanced enough to let Scorsese realize his ambitions for The Irishman. So while he’s basically right in his criticisms of superhero films, he may want to reflect that in some ways his movie stands on their shoulders.