Martin Scorsese riled up most everyone by saying Marvel movies are “not cinema.” Turns out the one celebrity who can call him on his bluff in a considerate way is, surprisingly, Kevin Smith. He claims Scorsese made the biggest superhero movie ever with The Last Temptation of Christ, but doesn’t understand the appeal of comic book movies because he didn’t grow up watching “the movies of Steven Spielberg in the early ’80s or George Lucas in the late ’70s.”
At a Monday night screening of his upcoming Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, Smith sported a Stan Lee t-shirt and said the Marvel icon “came with us” while working on the recent film. He then took a stance defending comic book films in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, giving a rather lengthy explanation as to why he supports Scorsese’s work but finds his comments insulting to the fandom — including Scorsese’s call for theater owners “to step up” to Marvel movies.
“Martin Scorsese is a genius. But to be fair, my entire film career — even prior to my film career — he’s been pretty much saying the same thing about action movies,” said Smith. He then said Scorsese has the right to an opinion this big because he “practically invented cinema”, but that he could benefit from some re-contextualization. “For my money, I think Martin Scorsese made the biggest superhero movie ever, which was The Last Temptation of Christ,” Smith argued. “Don’t get much bigger of a superhero than Jesus. He beats Superman and [Robert] Downey [Jr.] every time, so maybe Martin is bending on that territory.”
Unlike James Gunn and Samuel L. Jackson — who also pushed back against Scorsese’s comments — Smith went on to theorize why Scorsese doesn’t understand the appeal of Marvel movies. His idea? That the allure of comic book films is lost on Scorsese because he likely didn’t see action films growing up. Read Smith’s full thoughts on the matter below:
“My feeling is, Martin Scorsese never sat in a movie theater with his dad and watched the movies of Steven Spielberg in the early ’80s or George Lucas in the late ’70s. He didn’t feel that sense of magic and wonder,” said Smith. “I can still step into one of those comic book movies, divorce myself of that fact that I do this for a living, release, and my dead dad is back for a minute, for two hours. And it’s personal for a lot of the audience. You know, and we’re not arguing whether or not it counts as cinema.
I guarantee you there’s something he enjoyed with his parents, like a musical — I bet you some cats would say, ‘A musical is not really cinema,’ but Martin Scorsese grew up on musicals, and I bet they mean a lot to him. These [Marvel] movies come from a core. They come from a happy childhood. And they’re reflections of a happy childhood. He’s not wrong, but at the same time, neither are we for loving those movies. And they are cinema.”
In anticipation of Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, Consequence of Sound Radio on TuneIn is talking anything and everything related to Kevin Smith all week long. We already aired a block of Smith’s Greatest Hits earlier today, but it will be rebroadcast this Thursday, October 17th at 12:00 p.m. ET. You can get a dose of Smith before then, too, by listening on Wednesday, October 16th at 3:00 p.m. ET when Relevant Content explore the oeuvre of the filmmaker himself. To make sure you don’t miss any of it, check out our full weekly schedule for CoS Radio.