In 2019, the godfather of Marvel, Robert Downey Jr. took a stand against veteran director Martin Scorsese’s controversial ‘Marvel’ comment. Although it was not a defining moment for the multibillion-dollar franchise, the Goodfellas director did cause a ruckus on a global scale when his comment dragged out differential opinions from every corner of the industry as well as its audience.
Robert Downey Jr.’s response did not do much to cover up the scorch marks left on Marvel’s facade by Scorsese but did help to heal the inflicted wound for the devoted fandom.
Why is Martin Scorsese’s Marvel Comment Damaging?
Martin Scorsese‘s renown and reputation precede him. His work has been a staple identifier of the meteoric emergence and popular culture success of Hollywood during the early 80s and has never failed to disappoint since. Scorsese’s work is made more definitive by the fact that he singlehandedly dragged the industry out of the era of glossy Marilyn Monroe blockbusters and Hitchcock’s mind-bending thrillers to deliver films that exceeded the mere feel-good or drive-in movie emotions.
A masterstroke of an artistic and cinematic peak in each of his works, Martin Scorsese’s oeuvre lacks only one aspect — his preference for clinging to the safety blanket provided by his tried-and-tested success of Italian mafia movies. Although a signature Scorsese trademark at this point, the lack of variation does nothing to take away his ingenuity. Rather the ability to spoil one theme over and over again and yet deliver magnificence makes The Wolf of Wall Street director even more respectable.
Thus when a bigger-than-life personality makes a mockery of the largest franchise in the world and diminishes its accomplishments with a single dismissive comment, it not only causes the most devoted of fans to question their faith but also disrespects the work, brilliance, and legacy of everyone involved with Marvel in a lasting capacity.
Robert Downey Jr. Responds to Martin Scorsese’s Criticism
Martin Scorsese made news and noise when he critiqued Marvel for its very core ideologies:
“I don’t see them. I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema. 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. It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.”
In The Howard Stern Show, Robert Downey Jr., who paved the path for Marvel’s contemporary success (along with Jon Favreau and Kevin Feige) with his 2008 magnum opus, Iron Man, replied to Martin Scorsese’s comment about Marvel.
“It is this very large, multi-headed Hydra at this point. I appreciate [Scorsese’s] opinion because I think, it’s like anything, we need all of the perspectives so we can come to centre and move on. [But] It’d be like saying Howard Stern isn’t radio. It makes no sense to say it…
Of course he’s not jealous of the success. He’s Martin Scorsese. By the way, there is a lot to be said for how these genre movies, and I was happy to be part of the “problem,” if there is one, but how they have denigrated the era, the art form of cinema. When you come in like a stomping beast and you eliminate the competition in such a demonstrative way, it’s phenomenal.”
Robert Downey Jr.’s reply, as professionally poised as it was, was not matched in its level-headedness by others like Samuel L. Jackson and James Gunn. The latter pair were more than happy to hit back at the director with as much spite as they felt was necessary. The Marvel Cinematic Universe, in the meantime, continues to grow like the mythical hydra, and Scorsese’s slashing of one head only gave way to the rise of dozens more, especially as Feige and his studio gear up for a 10 movie line-up in their Phase Five and Six of “The Multiverse Saga”.
MCU’s coming-up film, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever releases in theatres on November 11, 2022.
Source: The Howard Stern Show