Martin Scorsese: Christopher Nolan and the Safdies Are “Saving Cinema” from Comic Book Movies

There was no point in tackling another Scorsese rant about comic book movies, but here we are and the filmmaker’s recent comment are making the rounds all over the film world.

Scorsese’s disdain for superhero movies is well-know known, he infamously called Marvel movies “theme park” attractions that are “not cinema.” GQ pressed him again on this same issue for a new cover story, and the “Killers of the Flower Moon” filmmaker actually namechecked a few modern-day filmmakers that he believes can hopefully “save” Hollywood .

“We have to then fight back stronger. And it’s got to come from the grassroots level. It’s gotta come from the filmmakers themselves. And you’ll have, you know, the Safdie brothers, and you’ll have Chris Nolan, you know what I mean? And hit ’em from all sides. Hit ’em from all sides, and don’t give up. Let’s see what you got. Go out there and do it. Go reinvent. Don’t complain about it. But it’s true, because we’ve got to save cinema.”

It’s great to see the Safdies and Nolan being namechecked — I’d probably add other names, like Paul Thomas Anderson, into the mix.

He added, “The danger there is what it’s doing to our culture, because there are going to be generations now that think movies are only those — that’s what movies are,” Scorsese said of superhero content.

Scorsese continued, “I do think that the manufactured content isn’t really cinema. It’s almost like AI making a film. And that doesn’t mean that you don’t have incredible directors and special effects people doing beautiful artwork. But what does it mean? What do these films, what will it give you? Aside from a kind of consummation of something and then eliminating it from your mind, your whole body, you know? So what is it giving you? […] You gotta say something with a movie. Otherwise, what’s the point of making it? You’ve got to be saying something.”

Hey, I don’t disagree with him. Superhero movies have affected which films get financed and that has pushed smaller films out of theaters. The cinematic landscape is now completely monopolized by superheros, IP and big studio tent poles, the rest is relegated to streaming or gets a very limited release.

Then again, Scorsese mentioning Nolan as a crusader against comic book movies is kind of ironic. Nolan directed three Batman movies and legitimized the genre for the 21st Century. There are better filmmakers out there that can be used as examples than Nolan.

However, there is indeed a “superhero fatigue” infiltrating this very landscape. The problem is that, and history has indeed shown us this, other IPs will replace Marvel as the new fad. We’ve already seen it this year with “Barbie” and “Super Mario Bros” being such big hits — Mattel and Nintendo have greenlit an ordinate amount of spin-offs because of their success.

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