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Benedict Cumberbatch And Paul Rudd Offer Different Opinions On The Marvel As ‘Cinema’ Debate

By  Frank Camp
Actor Benedict Cumberbatch is seen on the set of 'Doctor Strange' on April 2, 2016 Actor Paul Rudd attends the Los Angeles Global Premiere for Marvel Studios' "Ant-Man And The Wasp"...
Left photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney and right photo by XPX/Star Max/GC Images via Getty Images

Appearing recently on “The Jenny McCarthy Show” on SeriusXM, actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who was there to promote his new movie “The Current War,” offered his take on the unfolding Scorsese-Marvel war of words.

Cumberbatch has played the character of Doctor Stephen Strange in Marvel’s “Doctor Strange,” “Avengers: Infinity War,” “Avengers: Endgame,” and the upcoming “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.”

Despite the increasingly hyperbolic and nasty back and forth between certain filmmakers and Disney/Marvel supporters, Cumberbatch found a way to thread the needle:

I know there’s been a lot of debate recently with these very fine filmmakers coming to the fore saying that these film franchises are taking over everything, but lucky us actors who get to do both kinds of variety at either polarity of budgeting. And I agree, you know. We don’t want one king to rule it all and have a kind of monopoly, and hopefully that’s not the case, and we should really look into continuing to support auteur filmmakers at every level.

Paul Rudd, also a Marvel alum, having appeared as Scott Lang in two “Ant-Man” films, as well as “Avengers: Endgame,” offered his opinion on the matter when asked by radio host Howard Stern.

“I’m not insulted by anybody saying anything, really,” Rudd said after being asked by Stern if he was “insulted” by Scorsese’s remarks.

When Stern further asked if Marvel is “cinema,” Rudd stated: “I think it is.”

The actor added:

Ultimately, you really care about relationships with people. It isn’t all just special effects-driven action – whatever genre it falls into – you want to see people in human behavior and talking to each other. I know that when we’re working on these things, we care about the characters. In “Ant-Man,” I have a whole relationship with my daughter, and the human struggles of being a superhero. I think we’re trying to deal with human issues and things that are relatable, that are not just rides.

Rudd said that the way in which studios work today, they’re not making as many middle-budget films, which is why many writers are migrating to TV.

This ongoing controversy all began when legendary director Martin Scorsese told Empire Magazine that he doesn’t consider Marvel movies “cinema.”

“I don’t see them. I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema,” Scorsese said. “Honestly, the closest I can think of them, as well made as they are, with actors doing the best they can under the circumstances, is theme parks. It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.”

Adding fuel to the fire, director Francis Ford Coppola took it one step further, calling the movies “despicable.”

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. 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 added to his initial remarks while on a panel at the London Film Festival.

“What has to be protected is the singular experience of experiencing a picture, ideally with an audience. But there’s room for so many others now, and so many other ways,” the director said. “There’s going to be crossovers, completely. The value of a film that’s like a theme park film, for example, the Marvel-type pictures, where the theaters become amusement parks, that’s a different experience. I was saying earlier, it’s not cinema, it’s something else.”

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