Martin Scorsese Calls on Filmmakers to "Fight Back" and "Save Cinema" from Marvel Movies

"Hit 'em from all sides. Hit 'em from all sides, and don't give up."

Photo: Siebbi

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Sep 25, 2023

The great Marvel discourse originator and director of real films, Martin Scorsese, has once again spoken out in defence of his beloved cinema.

In a new GQ profile amid the promo cycle for his forthcoming Killers of the Flower Moon, the filmmaker called upon his peers to "fight back" against the cultural domination of wham-bam superhero movie franchises adapted from comic books in order to preserve the art form.

"The danger there is what it's doing to our culture," Scorsese told the publication's Zach Baron. "Because there are going to be generations now that think movies are only those — that's what movies are."

The director continued, "They already think that. Which means that 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.

"I do think that the manufactured content isn't really cinema," he clarified, continuing, "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? 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?"

Scorsese added, "You gotta say something with a movie. Otherwise, what's the point of making it? You've got to be saying something."

Since he first uttered those hallowed words — "That's not cinema" — in 2019, a great many members of the film industry have stood up for their respective sides of the debate. 

Quentin TarantinoDenis VilleneuveFrancis Ford CoppolaBong Joon-ho (kind of), Benedict Cumberbatch, Seth Rogen and Leonardo DiCaprio (as well as protégé Timothee Chalamet) are among those who have expressed their agreement with Scorsese, while Simu LiuNicolas CageElizabeth OlsenRobert Downey Jr.James Gunn and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever star Danai Gurira have spoken out in defence of the MCU.

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