Last year, Scorsese said in an interview with Empire that he doesn’t consider Marvel films to be “cinema”, saying that films produced within the franchise are more like “theme parks”. “Honestly, 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,” Scorsese said at the time.
“It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.”
Now, Spider-Man: No Way Home star Tom Holland has responded to the director’s misguided beliefs, posing a rhetorical question to the acclaimed director. “You can ask [Martin] Scorsese, ‘Would you want to make a Marvel movie?’ But he doesn’t know what it’s like because he’s never made one,” Holland said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter (via Consequence).
“I’ve made Marvel movies and I’ve also made movies that have been in the conversation in the world of the Oscars, and the only difference, really, is one is much more expensive than the other. But the way I break down the character, the way the director etches out the arc of the story and characters – it’s all the same, just done on a different scale. So I do think they’re real art.”
Holland continued to reason that an MCU film might be good or bad but will still be seen by millions and a small indie film, by comparison, would likely gain a smaller viewership, so it would be unreasonable to compare the two kinds.
“I mean, you can also ask Benedict Cumberbatch or Robert Downey Jr. or Scarlett Johansson – people who have made the kinds of movies that are ‘Oscar-worthy’ and also made superhero movies – and they will tell you that they’re the same, just on a different scale,” said Holland. “And there’s less Spandex in ‘Oscar movies’.”
When they initially surfaced in 2019, Scorsese’s comments had a similar response from Holland’s MCU castmate Karen Gillan, who defended the Marvel films by saying there was “so much heart and soul” in them.
The actress, who has appeared as Nebula in several MCU films, praised Avengers: Endgame writer/director James Gunn, saying: “Cinema is storytelling with visuals. There’s so much heart and soul, and it’s James’ soul in there. That’s a very big representation of who he is as a person and therefore it’s very cinematic. He’s an artist.”
Nick Fury actor Samuel L. Jackson was, however, the one voice in Scorses’s defence among the many actors who spoke against him, commenting that “everybody’s got an opinion”.
“Films are films. Everybody doesn’t like [Scorsese’s] stuff either,” he said.