Another day, another person weighing in on the recent Marvel drama that started with Martin Scorsese and has since ballooned into a massive, industry-wide debate. This time, it’s reached the top of the food chain as Disney CEO Bob Iger has weighed in, which took place during a recent chat with The Wall Street Journal.
For those who may need a quick refresher, legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese, the director of Goodfellas, Taxi Driver and a slew of other classics, recently compared Marvel movies to theme parks and said they aren’t “cinema.” Things got even more ugly when Apocalypse Now and The Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola said the following at the Lumiere Festival in France.
“Martin was kind when he said it’s not cinema. He didn’t say it’s despicable, which I just say it is,” Coppola said.
Iger is the head of Disney, Marvel’s parent company. Someone finally had the chance to ask Iger his thoughts on the matter and the powerful Hollywood figure didn’t mince words.
“I’m puzzled by it. If they want to b***h 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 “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.”
It’s hard to say whether or not Black Panther will go down in history as one of the greats alongside, say, The Departed, but the superhero flick was nominated for Best Picture and won several Oscars. It did earn its place at the table. And, to date, the MCU has grossed more than $22 billion worldwide. It’s no small thing.
“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 Coogler 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.”
Part of the issue for filmmakers like Scorsese or Coppola is that what they might consider cinema is having a tough time competing in the modern marketplace. But is the consumer to blame? People are voting with their dollars, in a big way, for comic book movies and not for other types of films. There must be something there that speaks to people beyond the equivalent of a ride.
In any event, comic book movies aren’t going anywhere. At least not anytime soon and, though this may cause some debate, Marvel doesn’t have anything to worry about.