In a recent interview with Empire magazine, legendary director Martin Scorsese responded to questions about superhero movies and the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) by saying, in part, that “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.” The statement went viral soon after it was published, and now Robert Downey Jr. is commenting himself on the hot take. Although RDJ seems to have a pretty cool head about it.During the interview, RDJ brings up Scorsese’s criticism in a kind of incidental way, but Stern picks up on the topic and the pair dive into speculation about what reasons there could be for Scorsese to say that Marvel films, and really all superhero movies, are “not cinema.” “There’s a lot to be said for how these genre movies… [came] in like a stomping beast,” Downey told Stern in response to the question of how Scorsese could possibly think movies like Iron Man aren’t cinema. But he added that he “was happy to be part of the ‘problem’ if there is one.”
And while personal opinions of superhero movies are obviously subjective—Samuel L. Jackson seems to like them according to the short interview below—that whole “stomping beast” descriptor isn’t really up for argument, as the top 23 highest-grossing Marvel movies of all time made roughly $8.54 billion at the box office (according to Box Office Mojo). Which, of course, represents an unprecedented number of people showing up to see these types of films for one reason or another. Even if Scorsese’s opinion that superhero movies aren’t “the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences…” continues to linger online alongside the billions of other ones out there.
What do you think of RDJ’s take on Martin Scorsese’s thoughts of Marvel movies? Do you think superhero movies touch the human soul, or is Scorsese analysis on the (box office) money? Let us know in the comments!
Feature image: The Howard Stern Show