Marvel movies aren't masterworks, but they're important
But Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese, both celebrated filmmakers, made exactly those statements, respectively when asked about the gigantic cinematic universe.
What is with big-name celebrities jumping on what seems like a new bandwagon to dismiss the MCU as a CGI-filled, 2 to 3 hours of nothing? Especially riding on the heels of the enormous success of “Avengers: Endgame” both in the box office and in public opinion, the disses against the MCU seem to come out of nowhere.
The main complaint against the MCU is that it apparently does not tell a story. Coppola claimed that true cinema is one where inspiration can be gained. By dismissing the Marvel films, he is indirectly saying that no inspiration can be found in those movies.
Critics say that nothing can be learned from Marvel’s superhero films. Jon Favreau, director of several MCU films, said that filmmakers like Coppola and Scorsese are allowed to make those comments due to their contributions to the film industry. But there is a harsh precedent being set here.
It's an undeniable fact that filmmakers like Coppola and Scorsese are incredibly talented and present to the public films of the highest quality. They have time and time again introduced exceptional movies with equally exceptional storylines into existence. There is no disputing that fact.
Scorsese and Coppola reserve the right to share their opinion on Marvel movies and they have the right to not enjoy them. That segment of their statement isn't problematic. Claiming that these movies are of no worth, no benefit and no inspiration to society are somewhat of elitist sentiments.
Seeing as many, if not all, of Coppola and Scorsese’s films are very intellectual, their comments take on a condescending tone. Do movies have to be difficult to understand for them to be “good”? Are commercially successful movies, like many of the MCU’s films, inherently “not good”? Absolutely not.
Another undeniable truth is that Marvel’s superhero films do tell a story. Take the most iconic characters of the MCU. Tony Stark’s incredible 11-year arc, which concluded so emotionally at the end of "Avengers: Endgame,” cannot be equated to a theme park.
This is the story of a man who had everything, money, knowledge and fame, who was narcissistic and selfish, who was put through an incredibly traumatizing situation and who continuously grew and tried to be a better person until his last breath. He tried to save and maintain the relationships that meant the most to him, and almost destroyed himself in the process.
Despite how legendary he was, he never truly saw himself as the hero everyone else sees him as. His story is real. Yes, the story took place in an unreal setting, in a room full of green screens, but that does not make it any less of a compelling, heart-breaking story.
The truth of the matter is that films of the MCU are true cinema, no matter which celebrated filmmaker says otherwise. Just because a franchise is so popular and successful among the public, it does not mean that it is worthless.
CGI does not diminish the story. Superheroes aren't just men in cheesy costumes. Marvel is breaking those stereotypes, redefining the genre in and of itself. It's undeniable that Marvel inspires people every day. So are Scorsese and Coppola choosing to ignore this fact or are they genuinely unaware of it?
Scorsese’s and Coppola’s elitism does not limit itself to the film industry. Academic elitism shows the same result as Scorsese’s and Coppola’s statements. Intelligence seems to be a desirable quality, but sometimes it can cross over into being snub-nosed, arrogant and cocky. Intelligence is a very subjective quality and a lot of judgment about it.
Of course, intelligence is important. Intelligence is what pushes progress, innovation and society into the future. But elitism haughtily rejects those who are not academically intelligent, similarly to the undertone of Scorsese and Coppola’s statements.
Bottom line: A movie does not have to be the level of geniuses for it to be true cinema. At this point, although Scorsese and Coppola are still vital, celebrated and respected components of the film industry, nothing they say can detract from the inspirational films of the MCU.
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