Earlier this month, I sent out a quick tweet responding to Martin Scorsese’s comments that comic book films, specifically Marvel movies, are not artistically valuable stories. They went viral in a bad way, and I deleted the tweets and locked down my account for half a day. In fairness to the Scorsese stans who leapt to his defense, I did misremember how much of his early film work focused on the mob. (Also, I really like the term “make your bones” and tried to be too clever by half.) I eventually wrote an op-ed about it over at ComicYears.com, but I didn’t really defend these movies I enjoy.
One angry Scorsese fan on Twitter did offer a fair critique of the around-1000-word essay I wrote. He said that rather than defending comic book films as cinema, I spent too much time trashing Scorsese movies. While that was never my intention, he was right that I didn’t really offer a cogent defense of these films. Rather, I did offer my take on the bleak, despair-filled films I’ve seen in the Scorsese canon. Some I don’t like (yeah, I’m talkin’ to you, Taxi Driver) and some I adore, my favorite of which is The King of Comedy. But nonetheless, I recognize that Scorsese is a genius director. His films speak to people, both those who saw his movies in the theater when they debuted and those who find them on Netflix or Redbox.
Still, I wanted to take another crack at that nut. So I wrote another essay about how superhero movies aren’t ruining cinema, they are saving it. Whether you agree or disagree with Scorsese and the many others (like Bill Maher or Marc Maron) who mistakenly think that these films are just idiot melodramas for children, I’d encourage you to give this essay a once over. I try to explain how the stories and themes present in superhero movies are found in all variety of cinema. This isn’t just the normal “comic book stories are modern mythology” take, but rather a look at how the stories in these big, dumb action movies can be very personal and human.
So check out the link, and once you read it leave your response (agreeing or disagreeing) over on the Comic Years site. I will do my best to respond to them, in order to foster a conversation not a “flame war.” (Do internet kids still call it that?)
Check it out for yourself: