Marin Scorsese’s opinions on the Marvel Cinematic Universe are well known at this point. Basically, he’s not into it, and that’s fine. We don’t have to have this argument every time someone interviews him. Interestingly though, an old colleague of Scorsese’s disagrees with him on the MCU, sort of.
The celebrated screenwriter Paul Schrader – who worked with Scorsese on some of his best movies, including Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The Last Temptation of Christ, and Bringing Out the Dead – believes that Marvel movies are, in fact, cinema and said as much in an interview with GQ. That said, it still doesn’t sound like he thinks very highly of them.
“No, they are cinema. So is that cat video on YouTube. It’s cinema,” he explained. “It is kind of surprising that what we used to regard as adolescent entertainment, comic books for teenagers, has become the dominant genre economically. Each generation is informed, and informed by literature, or informed by theatre, or informed by live television, or informed by film school. Now we have a generation that’s been informed by video games and manga. It’s not that the filmmakers have changed. It’s that the audiences have changed.”
He explained that back in the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s, there was more of an appetite for “serious movies” about social issues. In his words, though, while those movies are still being made, “they’re not the centre of conversation anymore” because “the centre dropped out”, and they stopped being financially successful.
“The mass centre has gone. What happens then is people retreat to the periphery,” he continued. “So you have the Comic-Con world, or you have the X or Y, Z world, and it’s very hard to bring these people together again. That has been lost culturally. It’s not going to ever come back.”
So there we have it, for all those who were desperate to know what the writer of Taxi Driver thought of superhero action movies, he believes they’re cinema, but he also thinks online cat videos are as well. I’m not sure that’s a win if, indeed there is a winner in this argument?