James Gunn Respectfully Says Martin Scorsese Slammed Marvel Movies Because He Wants “Attention”

Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn agreed to disagree with Martin Scorsese after The Irishman helmer criticized Marvel movies "so that he could get press for his movie."

By Lindsay Weinberg Aug 05, 2021 12:33 AMTags
Watch: Leo DiCaprio's History With Martin Scorsese

It's a real-life superhero faceoff, and James Gunn is getting the last word. 

The brain behind Guardians of the Galaxy, Gunn spoke during a recent podcast interview about fellow filmmaker Martin Scorsese's famously flippant comments about Marvel movies. Nearly two years ago, Scorsese wrote a New York Times piece called, "I Said Marvel Movies Aren't Cinema. Let Me Explain," claiming, "The fact that the films themselves don't interest me is a matter of personal taste and temperament."

On the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Gunn took aim at Scorsese's various critiques.

"It seems awful cynical that he would keep coming out against Marvel and then that is the only thing that would get him press for his movie," he said, per Entertainment Tonight Canada"So he just kept coming out against Marvel so that he could get press for his movie. He's creating his movie in the shadow of the Marvel films, and so he uses that to get attention for something he wasn't getting as much attention as he wanted for it."

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 World Premiere

Gunn proved the beef isn't that deep, saying that Scorsese is "one of the greatest filmmakers who's ever existed" and admitting, "I love his movies. I can watch his movies with no problem. And he said a lot of things I agree with. There are a lot of things that are true about what he said."

The Suicide Squad director later reiterated on Twitter that Scorsese is "probably the world's greatest living American filmmaker." 

Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic; Amy Sussman/Getty Images for AFI

He added in his Aug. 4 tweet, "I love & study his films & will continue to love & study his films. I disagree with him solely on one point: That films based on comic books are innately not cinema, that's all."

During the podcast, Gunn further explained his thoughts on the state of Hollywood, saying, "There are a lot of heartless, soulless, spectacle films out there that don't reflect what should be happening."

Gunn said he often talks to directors before they make a big blockbuster film and hears them say they want to do "something different with these big movies." Ultimately, he said he later sees them "cater to every single studio whim" and he feels "grossed out, frankly."

Marvel Studios/Kobal/Shutterstock

Scorsese, who won an Oscar in 2007 for The Departed, wrote in his column about what the "art form" of cinema means to him.

"So, you might ask, what's my problem? Why not just let superhero films and other franchise films be?" he asked. "The reason is simple. In many places around this country and around the world, franchise films are now your primary choice if you want to see something on the big screen. It's a perilous time in film exhibition, and there are fewer independent theaters than ever."

Notably, he directed The Irishman for Netflix in 2019, but added that it also was available in theaters. 

Scorsese went on to say that "we now have two separate fields: There's worldwide audiovisual entertainment, and there's cinema."

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 made $863 million at the box office worldwide in 2017, while The Irishman made less than $1 million due to its release on the streaming site. 

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