What's Francis Ford Coppola got against Marvel movies, anyway?
The idea that elderly auteur Martin Scorsese might not be a huge fan of Marvel movies really shouldn’t have come as a surprise, but it sparked a debate over the merits of superhero films that ballooned until it included everyone from Samuel L. Jakson to Kevin Smith.
And now Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola has chimed in—and like Scorsese, he’s not feeling the Marvel renaissance.
"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," Coppola said, according to the Agence France Presse. "I don't know that anyone gets anything out of seeing the same movie over and over again."
Coppola spoke to journalists in Lyon, where he was awarded France’s Prix Lumière earlier this week for his work in film. And those weren’t even his harshest words for Marvel movies. "Martin was kind when he said it's not cinema," said Coppola. "He didn't say it's despicable, which I just say it is."
Of course, reports of Coppola’s remarks tossed a whole lot of gasoline on the simmering debate, with some social media users suggesting that Coppola’s status as the director of Jack somehow means that he can’t criticize other films.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, a big time superhero movie fan and Marvel comics author himself, gave a pretty measured assessment of the Scorsese controversy in his column for The Hollywood Reporter earlier this month. He wrote that while he feels sorry that Scorsese, who said he’d never seen a Marvel movie from beginning to end, "hasn’t experienced the sheer joy, humor and excitement," the films offer, the famed director wasn’t completely off the mark.
"Rembrandt’s The Storm on the Sea of Galilee is not on the same level as Coolidge’s Dogs Playing Poker, no matter how much those dogs make us smile,” wrote Abdul-Jabbar, "Nor will Peter Benchley’s novel Jaws ever match the magnificence of Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, despite selling millions more copies."
But let’s be honest—we’ll never settle this until someone rings up Jean-Luc Goddard and gets his take on Captain America.