In a recent interview with GQ magazine, acclaimed director Martin Scorsese shared his thoughts on the dominance of comic book and franchise films in today's cinematic landscape. Known for his passionate views on the subject, Scorsese argued that this trend could potentially have a negative impact on the cultural perception of cinema.
"The danger there is what it's doing to our culture," Scorsese expressed, referring to the omnipresence of blockbuster superhero movies. "Because there are going to be generations now that think movies are only those—that's what movies are."
When the interviewer suggested that audiences might already hold this view, Scorsese concurred, emphasizing the need to push back against this prevailing notion. "They already think that," he admitted. "Which means that we have to then fight back stronger. And it's got to come from the grassroots level. It's gotta come from the filmmakers themselves. And you'll have, you know, the Safdie brothers, and you'll have Chris Nolan, you know what I mean? And hit 'em from all sides. Hit 'em from all sides, and don't give up. Let's see what you got. Go out there and do it. Go reinvent. Don't complain about it. But it's true because we've got to save cinema."
Scorsese's remarks echo a sentiment shared by many in the film industry who have expressed concerns about the increasing prominence of blockbuster franchises and comic book adaptations. While these movies undoubtedly have their merits and a dedicated fan base, some argue that their dominance may overshadow the diversity and artistic potential of cinema as a whole.
The director also delved into the concept of "content" in the streaming era, distinguishing it from what he considers "actual cinema." He expressed his belief that much of what is now produced as content resembles a product of artificial intelligence, rather than a creative cinematic endeavor.
"I do think that the manufactured content isn't really cinema," Scorsese remarked. "It's almost like AI making a film. And that doesn't mean that you don't have incredible directors and special effects people doing beautiful artwork. But what does it mean? What do these films, what will it give you? Aside from a kind of consummation of something and then eliminating it from your mind, your whole body, you know? So what is it giving you?"
While Scorsese's views may be contentious, they highlight the ongoing debate about the definition of cinema and the impact of blockbuster franchises on the medium. As the director's upcoming film, "Killers of the Flower Moon," prepares for its theater release on October 20, it remains to be seen how the conversation around the state of cinema will evolve and whether his call to "fight back" will resonate with fellow filmmakers and movie enthusiasts alike.