Legendary directors Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese have stirred up the hornets nest with their hits at the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), prompting Disney CEO Bob Iger himself to weigh in on the controversy.
Speaking at a WSJ Tech Live event Tuesday night, Iger said both Coppola and Scorsese have the right to “b**ch” about movies while comparing their works (which are frequently cited on top 100 lists) to “Black Panther.”
“I’m puzzled by it. If they want to bitch about movies it’s certainly their right. It seems so disrespectful to all the people who work on those films who are working just as hard as the people who are working on their films and are putting their creative souls on the line just like they are,” Iger said as reported by TheWrap. “Are you telling me that Ryan Coogler making ‘Black Panther’ is doing something that somehow or another is less than anything Marty Scorsese or Francis Ford Coppola have ever done on any one of their movies? Come on.”
Though Iger holds both Coppola and Scorsese in “the highest regard,” he was most annoyed with the fact that “The Godfather” director described the movies as “despicable.”
“When Francis uses the words ‘those films are despicable,’ to whom is he talking? Is he talking to Kevin Feige, who runs Marvel, or Taika Waititi, who directs, or Ryan Cooler, who directs for us, or Scarlett Johansson,” Iger said. “I don’t get what they’re criticizing us for when we’re making films that people are obviously enjoying going to because they’re doing so by the millions.”
Earlier this month, Scorsese stoked the ire of millions of Marvel fanboys when he said the MCU movies were more like theme park rides than cinematic experiences.
“I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema,” Scorsese told Empire Magazine. “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.”
Later, during a press conference at the Rome Film Fest, Scorsese doubled-down on his comments by arguing that he hopes movies return to a stronger narrative format.
“The key that I’m hoping for is for theaters to continue to support narrative cinema of this kind,” said Scorsese “But right now the theaters seem to be mainly supporting the theme park, amusement park, comic book films. They’re taking over the theaters. I think they can have those films; it’s fine. It’s just that that shouldn’t become what our young people believe is cinema. It just shouldn’t.”
“This is the world we live in. Our children are, I don’t know what they’re doing with those devices,” he continued. “They perceive reality differently. They perceive even the concept of what history is supposed to be [differently]. How are they going to know about WWII? How are they going to know about Vietnam? What do they think of Afghanistan? What do they think of all of this? They’re perceiving it in bits and pieces. There seems to be no continuity of history.”