Scorsese’s superhero fight is pure genius
Martin Scorsese is a genius. And I don’t just mean his movies. He has picked a fight with the biggest bruiser in the cinematic prison yard and, no matter what happens, he’s going to come out the winner.
If you missed it, Scorsese — the creative mind behind the likes of Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and, more recently, Wolf Of Wall Street — has slammed superhero movies.
First of all he said they are “not cinema” and then he doubled down and said movie theatres should not be “invaded” by superhero films but instead leave space for “narrative films”.
And he’s right that many superhero movies don’t all have a wider message.
But the best of them use the same emotions that Scorsese claims he wants from movies.
Of course, they are not like WOWS, where watching Leonardo Di Caprio snort drugs, throw dwarfs and shag a wide assortment of topless hookers really gives you a sense of the essential timelessness of the human condition.
Naturally fans and actors alike have scrambled to fire back at Scorsese and defend the honour of superhero movies. Who can say what is art, they argue?
And of course that’s true. One person’s severed cow’s head, dripping blood and maggots, is another person’s Mona Lisa. Although Scorsese movies do tend to lean towards the severed head rather than inscrutable smiles. But this isn’t a debate about art or even about superhero movies.
This is Scorsese drumming up publicity for his new movie The Irishman.
The blood-soaked tale of one man’s rise through a crime family in the 1950s, it’s obviously a sensitive piece that will make you question your life philosophy. Or not.
Anyway, he couldn’t get a major studio to stump up the cash for it so he went to Netflix, which promptly gave him $160 million but is only letting the film have a limited cinematic run because it wants people to pay for its streaming service and watch it there.
So naturally Scorsese is a bit miffed. Here he is, more Oscars than a superhero comic has villains and he can only get a limited release.
So he wants maximum publicity for the movie so it rings the tills at the cinema and ensures next time he’ll get a major studio to give him the bucks.
And what better way than to pick a fight with superhero movies? He knows the only way to survive in prison is to take out the big guy and earn some respect. So he’s gone up to cinema’s equivalent of the giant, tattooed muscleman and given him an atomic wedgie.
It’s guaranteed attention and Netflix must be loving it.
Scorsese won’t dent the popularity of superhero movies. He won’t change the mind of movie theatres, either, who are entirely motivated by money ($10 for popcorn, anyone?)
But he might win himself a fresh contract from a major studio by doing so.
Now that’s a twist worthy of one of his movies.
Although, if this was one of his movies, he would sign the multimillion-dollar contract and then die in a hail of bullets from a disgruntled superhero fan afterwards.