Martin Scorsese Says All Superhero Films Are Theme Park Rides, Not Just Marvel

Avengers: Endgame

Martin, Martin, Martin. Can we let this go for 5 minutes? No? Hrmph. Falls back on the penman to clear up the wreckage.

In a week dominated by talk of war, one man has been waging a relentless campaign of his own and there are no signs that the aggressor is backing down. Martin Scorsese is a great and influential director. It’s stating the bleedin’ obvious, but it’s always worth prefacing. Few in the cavernous world of cinema have earned the right to speak their mind on matters about film more than he.

Up to this point, I had essentially found myself in agreement with his now well-established contention, too – Marvel movies are theme park rides. I haven’t always felt that’s a pejorative in the universal way Marty clearly does, though. After all, theme park rides are fun and a number of Marvel movies, including Spider-Man: Homecoming and Iron Man, succeed at just that. But theme park in the pejorative means a pleasure jaunt with some style and less substance, movies that struggle to grasp any human emotion beyond constant mirth, because that’s not what theme park rides do. But it’s no longer just Marvel movies that the man behind The Irishman has in his sights.

When asked to clarify his stance during a roundtable discussion with The Hollywood Reporter, the director stated that his criticism applied to all superhero films, not just the Marvel Cinematic brass they obviously resonated with.

“I said superhero films, I never – I don’t even know Marvel. I remember Marvel was a comic book.”

Martin, remarkable though it may be for me to say, you need to watch more movies. It’s a category error I can sympathize with – so complete is the genre’s hegemony that I don’t blame you for missing the lamplights in the fog. So in the (admittedly unlikely) chance you drop in, here are three films I’m convinced will change your mind: Logan – a humbling character drama wracked with mortality – The Dark Knight trilogy – daring epics that tackle comic book realism – and Unbreakable – a disturbing inversion of genre-formula. If these movies don’t make you reconsider, I confess nothing will. Bet you they do, though.