Martin Scorsese doubles down on Marvel criticism: 'We shouldn't be invaded' by 'theme park films'

Days after riling up Marvel fans by referring to the comic book films as “not cinema,” Martin Scorsese has now likened modern-day movie theaters to “amusement parks.”

Speaking at the BFI London Film Festival event on Saturday, the director addressed his controversial criticism of big-budget superhero films, which prompted outcry from a “saddened” James Gunn of Guardians of the Galaxy. (Samuel L. Jackson, who had a small role in Scorsese’s Goodfellas before going on to become Marvel fixture Nick Fury, brushed off the remarks, saying, “Ain’t going to stop nobody from making movies.”)

Director Martin Scorsese arrives for the screening of "The Irishman" during the 2019 BFI London Film Festival at the Odeon Luxe Leicester Square in London, Britain October 13, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Martin Scorsese continued his criticism of blockbuster superhero films at the BFI London Film Festival. (Photo: REUTERS/Henry Nicholls)

While Scorsese, currently promoting The Irishman, clarified that he admires the work that goes into these blockbusters, he isn’t backing down on his personal reaction to what he dubbed “theme park films.”

“Theaters have become amusement parks,” he said Saturday, per The Hollywood Reporter. “That is all fine and good but don’t invade everything else in that sense ... That is fine and good for those who enjoy that type of film and, by the way, knowing what goes into them now, I admire what they do. It’s not my kind of thing, it simply is not. It’s creating another kind of audience that thinks cinema is that."

He echoed that sentiment on Sunday during a press conference for The Irishman.

"It's not cinema, it’s something else," he insisted "We shouldn’t be invaded by it. We need cinemas to step up and show films that are narrative films."

Scorsese has taken his own share of heat from film purists. As The Guardian reports, the famed filmmaker defended plans to release his latest film, which stars Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, on Netflix shortly after it premieres in theaters.

“There’s no doubt that seeing a film with an audience is really important,” he acknowledged during Sunday’s press conference. “There is a problem though: We have to make the film. We’ve run out of room, in a sense; there was no room for us to make this picture, for many reasons. [But] having the backing of a company that says that you will have no interference, you can make the picture as you want — the trade-off being: It streams, with theatrical distribution prior to that. I figure, that’s a chance we take, on this particular project.”

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