Martin Scorsese Might Not Like Marvel Movies, But He Had A Strong Reaction To Ti West’s Pearl

Martin Scorsese and Mia Goth
(Image credit: MasterClass/A24)

Martin Scorsese has got a new favorite film this year, and its' actually a prequel for an ongoing film franchise. And no, it’s not Marvel, DC, or Star Wars. This award-winning director may still have his blunt opinions about Marvel films, but he has himself a strong reaction to Ti West’s Pearl- the origin story of the iconic villain from the X franchise.

You may remember Mia Goth’s X character as Pearl who grew up on a farm with dreams of stardom only to turn into a homicidal maniac. According to Slash Film, Martin Scorsese wrote his own review to A24 about how deeply affected he was by Pearl and that it even scared him.

A prequel to 'X' made in a diametrically opposite cinematic register (think 50s Scope color melodramas), 'Pearl' makes for a wild, mesmerizing, deeply — and I mean deeply — disturbing 102 minutes. West and his muse and creative partner Mia Goth really know how to toy with their audience ... before they plunge the knife into our chests and start twisting. I was enthralled, then disturbed, then so unsettled that I had trouble getting to sleep. But I couldn't stop watching.

Coming from the man who graced audiences with psychological thrillers like Cape Fear, one of Scorsese’s best movies, that really says something. As soon as Pearl’s first trailer came out, we knew we were in for a treat. It looks almost like a demented version of The Wizard of Oz if the character of Dorothy Gale took drastic measures to ensure her dreams of leaving her farm were to come true. And we already saw Mia Goth show off her acting chops in X playing her dual role of young porn star “Max” and the elderly murderer Pearl. I wouldn’t be surprised if it took you until the film’s final act to realize these two characters were played by the same people. 

With Martin Scorsese being an avid cinephile who made stars of many actors and has his own list of global movies to see, it’s no wonder he has his strong opinions about Marvel films. He’s said before that he feels Marvel films offer the same feelings you would experience at a theme park but it doesn’t necessarily do a great job at conveying “emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.” Scorsese further clarified his controversial comments by saying that Marvel movies offer a different cinematic experience compared to what he considers a narrative film. 

With even further explanation, the Raging Bull director stated that while cinematic elements exist in Marvel movies, it’s lacking “revelation, mystery or genuine emotional danger.” Clearly, Martin Scorsese has his own definition of what cinema is. But then again, so do the Avengers: Endgame’s Russo Brothers with their explanation that they are not wrong in their definition of what a movie is and neither is Scorsese. They have their own elements to fit on the big screen and so does Scorsese.

It looks like Martin Scorsese defines Pearl as true cinema. It’s definitely not a Marvel movie, but it shows that movies really are subjective. What is cinema to one person may be a movie to another. For a better grasp at what it is about Pearl that’s got Martin Scorsese trembling in his sleep, you can see A24’s new movie release in theaters now.

Carly Levy
Entertainment Writer

Just your average South Floridian cinephile who believes the pen is mightier than the sword.