The director of The Godfather and Apocalypse Now has joined Martin Scorsese in dismissing the dominant series of superhero films.
Speaking to journalists in Lyon following his acceptance of the Prix Lumière for his contribution to cinema, Francis Ford Coppola, 80, said: “When Martin Scorsese says that the Marvel pictures are not cinema, he’s right because we expect to learn something from cinema, we expect to gain something, some enlightenment, some knowledge, some inspiration.”
Coppola continued: “I don’t know that anyone gets anything out of seeing the same movie over and over again. Martin was kind when he said it’s not cinema. He didn’t say it’s despicable, which I just say it is.”
Scorsese’s initial comments, in which he said films made by Marvel Studios, the Disney offshoot responsible for the Avengers movies, were “not cinema”, prompted a considerable backlash from directors including James Gunn, Joss Whedon, Kevin Smith and Taika Waititi.
The director of GoodFellas, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and forthcoming mafia epic The Irishman reiterated his feelings last weekend at the London film festival, saying superhero films were “invading” cinema, which increasingly resembled a “theme park”.
During his David Lean lecture on 12 October, Scorsese said: “Theatres 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.”
Gunn also responded to Coppola’s attack on the genre for which he has become famous. Writing on Instagram, the director of Guardians of the Galaxy and its sequel tacitly accused both Scorsese and Coppola of being out of touch and insufficiently open-minded. “Not everyone will be able to appreciate [superhero films],” he wrote, “even some geniuses.”