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Martin Scorsese doubles down on Marvel movie criticism

The feud between Martin Scorsese and the Marvel Cinematic Universe is apparently still going strong.

During a press conference before a screening of his new film, The Irishman, Scorsese went all in on his previous Marvel-related remarks. Recently, the acclaimed director has been carrying on a super-unlikely beef with the MCU after he made controversial comments about the decade-spanning, record-smashing franchise.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Scorsese continued firing shots at Marvel films ahead of the Irishman screening, saying of the superhero genre, "It's not cinema, it's something else [...] We shouldn't be invaded by it. We need cinemas to step up and show films that are narrative films." 

Scorsese went on, "Theaters have become amusement parks. 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."

If you've been following Scorsese's commentary, the "theme parks" line will sound pretty familiar. In an interview with Empire Magazine, the director now infamously said, "Honestly, the closest I can think of [Marvel movies], as well made as they are, with actors doing the best they can under the circumstances, is theme parks. It isn't the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being." Just before that, the director flat-out said that MCU films simply are "not cinema."

The ongoing saga of Marty and the MCU

After Scorsese's initial comments, plenty of different voices chimed in to either defend Scorsese or the MCU. 

Marvel veterans James Gunn and Joss Whedon both took to Twitter to express their disappointment over Marty's divisive words – especially Gunn, who called Scorsese one of his "five favorite living filmmakers" and that he was "saddened" by the director's words. For his part, Whedon specifically mentioned Gunn as the driving force behind some of the MCU's more emotional efforts, including Guardians of the Galaxy, as a way to argue against Scorsese's claims.

Other Marvel stars, like Samuel L. Jackson and Robert Downey Jr., responded fairly diplomatically. Jackson more or less said that everybody is entitled to their own opinion, and Downey Jr. said he completely understands where Scorsese is coming from. The Iron Man actor echoed Scorsese's use of the word "invaded" to describe the MCU's cultural presence, saying, "When you come in like a stomping beast and you eliminate the competition in such a demonstrative way, it's phenomenal."

The MCU also found another ally in Kevin Smith, who had a rather interesting take on Scorsese's body of work. While maintaining that he's still a huge fan of Scorsese, Smith also wondered if the filmmaker's divisive effort The Last Temptation of Christ was actually a superhero movie. 

Meanwhile, Scorsese has the support of, inexplicably, Jennifer Aniston — who recently caused a stir by saying Marvel's films have contributed to fewer quality projects in Hollywood. In an interview with Variety, the actress called out Marvel when explaining her return to television: "You're seeing what's available out there and it's just diminishing and diminishing in terms of, it's big Marvel movies. Or things that I'm not just asked to do or really that interested in living in a green screen."

As this feud continues, plenty of celebrities will weigh in on whether they feel Marty or the MCU has more merit, but one thing is indisputable: Between overwhelming critical adoration and multiple box office records, audiences will keep turning out in droves whenever Marvel releases a new project — and regardless if they're truly "cinema," the MCU movies still provide an invaluable release and escape for millions of fans across the world.