James Gunn has become a leading voice to defend Marvel movies, which is a wee bit ironic considering he was briefly fired from one, but never mind. The Guardians of the Galaxy director was saddened when Martin Scorsese said Marvel movies weren't cinema and theaters shouldn't be invaded by them. Now Francis Ford Coppola has jumped into the debate, not only agreeing with his fellow cinema icon Scorsese but adding the word "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.
That's what 80-year-old Francis Ford Coppola told reporters (via AFP) in France where he was receiving an award for his contributions to cinema.
From The Godfather to Apocalypse Now, no one is arguing about Francis Ford Coppola's contributions to cinema. Same with Martin Scorsese, who just added a new movie to cinematic history with the highly lauded The Irishman.
In his response, James Gunn never mentions Francis Ford Coppola by name. He simply argues in favor of superhero movies as worthy of being judged individually. He also seems to argue there's a generation gap in play. Here's what he tweeted, referencing the "despicable" comment so fans knew to what he was referring:
He linked to an Instagram photo of Guardians of the Galaxy's Groot and Rocket, with this caption:
Many of our grandfathers thought all gangster movies were the same, often calling them “despicable”. Some of our great grandfathers thought the same of westerns, and believed the films of John Ford, Sam Peckinpah, and Sergio Leone were all exactly the same. I remember a great uncle to whom I was raving about Star Wars. He responded by saying, “I saw that when it was called 2001, and, boy, was it boring!” Superheroes are simply today’s gangsters/cowboys/outer space adventurers. Some superhero films are awful, some are beautiful. Like westerns and gangster movies (and before that, just MOVIES), not everyone will be able to appreciate them, even some geniuses. And that’s okay.
He ended his post with a heart emoji.
Not everyone loves superhero movies, and you don't even have to be Of A Certain Age to question them. Joker star Marc Maron felt the wrath of fans when he said superhero movies were for "grown male nerd childs." We even have a list going of directors who've spoken out against superhero movies, and now Francis Ford Coppola can join them.
I agree with the idea of Superhero as its own genre, like Drama or Comedy or Sci-Fi. There are some great sci-fi movies out there, and then there's crap. To judge them all by the overall genre isn't fair. Not all superhero movies do well -- just ask Dark Phoenix and Fantastic Four -- so you have to give the audience credit for judging each film on its own merits.
For his part, Francis Ford Coppola is still hard at work doing what he loves. He said Megalopolis, a film about a utopia, is his biggest and most ambitious project yet, which is why it's taking so long. Meanwhile, James Gunn is busy working for DC at the moment with The Suicide Squad, but he must know that "Marvel movies" has become shorthand for all superhero movies, including DC. After The Suicide Squad, Gunn will return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.