Ever since the comic book movie hype train started, millions of people all over the world have been captivated by it. Except maybe for those who call themselves “true artists” in the film industry. It's no secret that Martin Scorsese is one of those people. In 2019, he declared that Marvel-type movies are “not cinema” and likened them to “theme park” movies. Director/writer James Gunn fired back at the director's criticisms, though he later pointed out his deep respect for Scorsese's films.

James Gunn shared his thoughts while speaking with Josh Horowitz on the Happy Sad Confused podcast. During the conversation, Horowitz asked the GOTG and Suicide Squad director how he felt to be a filmmaker that has to come to the defense of superhero films time and time again when comments such as Martin Scorsese's have surfaced.

“I just think it seems awful cynical that he would keep coming out against Marvel and then that is the only thing that would get him press for his movie. So he just kept coming out against Marvel so that he could get press for his movie. He’s creating his movie in the shadow of the Marvel films, and so he uses that to get attention for something he wasn’t getting as much attention as he wanted for it.”

But Gunn doesn’t necessarily disagree with Scorsese either

“He’s one of the greatest filmmakers who’s ever existed. I love his movies. I can watch his movies with no problem. And he said a lot of things I agree with. There are a lot of things that are true about what he said,” Gunn added. “There are a lot of heartless, soulless, spectacle films out there that don’t reflect what should be happening.” Gunn says he has had plenty of encounters where he approached film directors asking them to elevate the blockbuster only to see these directors “cater to every single studio whim,” which Gunn says grossed him out.

The difference between films and movies

To be fair to both directors, they're both completely amazing in their own artistic ways. It's just that people tend to forget that films are different from movies. A film such as Scorsese's Taxi Driver attempts to convey or explore something larger than itself. A movie like Avengers: Endgame is about giving the audience exactly what they want. A film forces the audience to grow in some way, to leave the theater slightly better humans than when they came in. A movie leaves the audience happy, satisfied, but ultimately unchanged. But regardless of their differences, they're still cinema.