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Raging Bull Writer Responds To Martin Scorsese’s Comments About Cinema And Marvel

Robert De Niro Raging Bull trailer screenshot
(Image credit: United Artists)

Martin Scorsese’s anti-Marvel comments have been the topic of conversation amongst filmmakers for years. Some have fallen in line with Scorsese’s views, while others have defended the thriving superhero genre. While most have never worked with the Oscar winner, there is one person who knows him best – Raging Bull writer Paul Schrader. After working together for decades, Schrader responded to his frequent collaborator’s controversial MCU comments.

Paul Schrader’s thoughts might matter a bit more compared to other creative talent. Of course, his words might touch Scorsese differently given Schrader’s track record with the prolific director over the decades. So, if anyone would have insight into the Irishman director’s mindset, it’s Schrader. The Raging Bull writer gave his take on the Oscar-winning director’s take on superhero films with the following:

No, they are cinema. So is that cat video on YouTube, it’s cinema. It is kind of surprising that what we used to regard as adolescent entertainment, comic books for teenagers, has become the dominant genre economically. Each generation is informed, and informed by literature, or informed by theater, or informed by live television, or informed by film school. Now we have a generation that's been informed by video games and manga. It’s not that the filmmakers have changed, it's that the audiences have changed. And when the audiences don't want serious movies, it's very, very hard to make one. When they do, when they ask you, ‘What should I think about women's lib, gay rights, racial situations, economic inequality?’ and the audience is interested in hearing about these issues, well then you can make those movies. And we have. Particularly in the fifties, and sixties, and seventies, we're making them one or two a week about social issues. And they were financially successful because audiences wanted them. Then something changed in the culture, the center dropped out. Those movies are still being made, but they're not in the center of the conversation anymore.

As Paul Schrader pointed out, each generation has its form of media. The themes and subjects of cinema shift every decade. While Marvel, DC and other superhero films might be seen as pure escapism, many share the true hallmarks of film – good storytelling and relatable characters. Right now, moviegoers are more interested in fun times than tackling serious issues. Having worked with Martin Scorsese multiple times, the American Gigolo director understood the legendary director’s stance.

After making his statement, Paul Schrader pointed out to GQ that Martin Scorsese’s opinion was more of a reaction to the changing times. Schrader mentioned that entertainment – film, television and media – is shifting every day. As a social media darling, the prolific writer/director has noticed more pop culture pockets developing on the internet. The attention and community entertainment once had may not come back given the current pandemic.  

Given his love for social media, Paul Schrader is more in step with the times compared to some of his contemporaries. But Martin Scorsese is also allowed to have his opinion on current cinema. This type of discourse is good for everyone when it comes to theatrical releases’ future. Of course, Schrader still has confidence in cinema, as his film The Card Counter is currently in theaters.

Adreon Patterson

A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).