In the immortal words of CJ from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas,
In the wake of his fellow New Hollywood movie brat Martin Scorsese igniting the ire of fanboys everywhere with his less than glowing remarks regarding the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the effect that comic book movies in general and the Disney-ification of all things have had on the broader industry, Francis Ford Coppola has now waded into the fray, and he’s done so in typically Coppolian way not with a light touch but instead by brandishing a Baratheon-esque war hammer:
Francis Ford Coppola defends Scorsese's Marvel comments: "Martin was kind when he said it's not cinema. He didn't say it's despicable, which I just say it is" https://t.co/NiZ36KHpNa— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) October 20, 2019
The Man. The Myth. The Legend.— Lost in Film (@LostInFilm) October 20, 2019
Mr. Francis Ford Coppola. pic.twitter.com/o0qFARaJ2e
Twitter has, naturally, turned into a battleground as a result.
You know, the man who directed "Jack" doesn't have much of a moral high ground when it comes to accusing other people of making despicable films.https://t.co/EyN2qNaNov— John Scalzi (@scalzi) October 20, 2019
Omfg wtf is up with these directors hating on marvel all of a sudden?— VideoAngel113 (@VideoAngel113) October 20, 2019
Aside from it being obvious jealousy, I think to say there is no educational value in MCU movies is false. Like any good sci-fi, it is packed full of warnings and considerations for our future down roads of development we're on now. Marvel IS an exploration of transhumanism.— Thunderbrd (@thunderbrd1) October 20, 2019
We've gone from "MCU movies aren't real cinema" to "MCU movies are despicable."— Joseph: The Leader of #ZoriiBlissGang (@DoctorRagnarok) October 20, 2019
How hard is it to just say "I don't like them?"https://t.co/1YMLkyYTL0
All I got from this article are a bunch of old, bitter filmmakers whom are past their prime and are hating on Marvel destroying the box office— Keith Lyle (@chrono60637) October 20, 2019
Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola watching Marvel movies pic.twitter.com/2tqEzRHKCx— Francisco Pedro (@fpedro1988) October 20, 2019
As someone who defended a convicted pedophile, not to mention directing The Godfather Part III (1990) and Jack (1996), Coppola knows a thing or two about ‘despicable’. https://t.co/YBN80iX22R— 🎃Gary West🎃 (@flailingkermit) October 21, 2019
Find all the people out here defending Coppola and Scorsese, put them on a blocktogether list and send me the link please— Lexi Alexander (@Lexialex) October 21, 2019
Re: Coppola and Scorsese coming out against Marvel Films and comparing them to “theme park rides”. Something tells me they were way less critical of their buddies/contemporaries Spielberg and Lucas who essentially popularized that genre.— Paul Scheer (@paulscheer) October 20, 2019
Half of "Easy Riders and Raging Bulls" is peers ragging on Spielberg and Lucas for selling out. The '70s film school nerds were always as vicious to each other as they have been toward superhero stuff today.— Daniel Fienberg (@TheFienPrint) October 20, 2019
Before I even checked, I knew in my bones why they were coming for Coppola.— Scott Wampler™ 🎄 (@ScottWamplerBMD) October 20, 2019
As a bona fide Phase One Marvel writer, I'm not bothered by Coppola's remarks in the least. He's entitled to his tastes, he's Francis Ford Coppola for chrissakes. And if he thinks Thor is one of the worst movies he ever heard of, well… pic.twitter.com/dgNZv2Jzcm— Zack Stentz (@MuseZack) October 21, 2019
Movie pitch: Old guy misadventure comedy where Coppola & Scorsese are on their way to Cannes but accidentally find themselves at a Comic-Con & can’t seem to get out. They find themselves in cosplay, which is hilarious cuz nobody recognizes them anyway. I call it “Apocalypse POW!”— Luke BrundleBoyce 🎃 (@lukeslens) October 21, 2019
If you like comic book movies ur weak. fucking weak. frail. brittle. sick. ur like a little baby a stupid little baby.— Cinesthesia (@keylightblog) October 20, 2019
- Francis Ford Coppola
I’m trying to figure out how there are people who are surprised and upset Scorsese and Coppola aren’t big Avengers fans. Don’t tell them Pat Boone doesn’t dig Nine Inch Nails or they’ll lose their shit.— Pete, The Watcher in the Woods (@thatpetewoods) October 21, 2019
Love Coppola. Love Scorsese (he almost made my novel The Winter of Frankie Machine).— Don Winslow (@donwinslow) October 21, 2019
I disagree with their recent statements. It's not superhero films vs. other films.
It's *HOW* we get people into THEATERS to see ALL TYPES of different films.
And how to save adult dramas.
Traveling back in time, then traveling to the acid-crazed jungle set of Apocalypse Now, and then smugly doing the "shh let people enjoy things" lip grab thing to Francis Ford Coppola.— David Roth (@david_j_roth) October 21, 2019
BREAKING: Stanley Kubrick’s ghost disagrees with Scorsese and Coppola. “I f*cking loved Thor Ragnarok. And I’m dead!” pic.twitter.com/fzl8VxI4jP— 🆃🅷🅴 🆂🆃🆄🅳🅸🅾 🅴🆇🅴🅲 (@studioexec1) October 20, 2019
sophia coppola teaching francis how to open a groupchat with marty so they can share memes about hating mcu, u luv to see it— dilara elbir (@elbirdilara) October 20, 2019
Scorsese & Coppola are actually sticking up for filmmakers to get to make something that isn't anchored to IP and 85% mapped out by devs and "show bible" holders before a director is even announced, so it's great to see filmmakers wringing their hands to defend Walt Disney Co— Jake Cole (@jake_p_cole) October 20, 2019
Writer-director @JamesGunn has shared a message in response to "The Godfather" director Francis Ford Coppola calling @MarvelStudios movies "despicable"… https://t.co/CkPAe31JJK pic.twitter.com/YW2Tk03TyC— MCU Direct (@MCU_Direct) October 20, 2019
Hey maybe before Francis Ford Coppola criticized superhero movies he should have considered their contribution to society!!! pic.twitter.com/tE0gdvm9W0— jordan (@JordanUhl) October 20, 2019
Have we comprehended how funny James Gunn saying "You're geniuses, but don't get it," to the makers of The Godfather and Goodfellas is? Like they can't wrap their heads around the genius of Groot. Coppola, who made the four greatest movies ever. In a row. Just doesn't get it.— John Frankensteiner (@JFrankensteiner) October 20, 2019
the Marvel backlash is bad but imagine if Scorsese or Coppola had talked smack about the Fast & Furious movies— Sam Adams (@SamuelAAdams) October 20, 2019
How awesome would it be if Francis Ford Coppola’s criticisms of Marvel movies were extremely specific. “Listen, I want to like these films but when you try to make a big deal out of Captain America wielding Thor’s hammer after the Vision easily did, I’m sorry, but you lose me.”— Mike Lawrence (@TheMikeLawrence) October 20, 2019
I’m a Marvel fan. And a SW fan. And a lover of Disney animated films. But this model is hurting the art form, and we should be listening to these directors when they say so rather than trying to dismiss their reactions as jealousy and being out of touch.— Alison in Zombieland (@mitzy247) October 20, 2019
The "both sides" line doesn't work when one side is clearly culturally and materially dominant. Defenders of a forgotten and marginalized style of filmmaking vs defenders of the Hollywood status quo. Disingenuos to put those two camps on equal terms like it's just petty bickering— Andrew S. Vargas (@ConioMeng) October 20, 2019
It’s actually fine to dismiss anything directors in their 70s say as “old man yells at clouds” as long as you realize that the stuff you’re defending is going to get the same treatment much sooner than you think.— That Polter Geist (@mattzollerseitz) October 20, 2019
Nobody will give Coppola money to make the kinds of movies he used to make. His last two films were so small that all the equipment fit in the back of a van. His anger is partly a reaction to being pushed out of the mainstream. Like nearly everyone who isn't making IP movies.— That Polter Geist (@mattzollerseitz) October 20, 2019
It’s also quite telling that the immediate reaction of many superhero movie fans is to rush to find any reason to discredit any filmmaker who raises objections to their marketplace dominance rather than, you know, trying to understand their frustration.— That Polter Geist (@mattzollerseitz) October 20, 2019
It may be a little bit obvious from my selection of tweets there which side of the argument I am more sympathetic to. Nevertheless, there are a few key points to reiterate here:
There are plenty to things to criticise someone like Frances Ford Coppola and the old industry he was—and is—a part of for. As one of the greatest filmmakers in American history, however, his insight into the industry is not one of those things.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with being critical of the dominant media form of our time—nor of the colossal company that is responsible for the relentless assembly line churn and draconian film run dictation that has so ruthlessly established this dominance. Monopolies are bad—creatively, as well as pragmatically. That shouldn’t be a controversial point.
This isn’t a war between People Who Like Marvel and People Who Don’t Like Marvel, and it shouldn’t be taken personally. Coppola and Scorsese’s points should be seen for what they are: A systemic analysis of an industry that is changing, in many ways for the worse, and of the big players who are responsible for the change. Lashing out at Coppola by bringing up a bad movie or two he may have made is missing the point by a country mile. Everybody makes bad movies. Coppola is not criticising the individuals involved in comic book movies (many of whom are insanely talented); he’s critiquing the reality of the contemporary movie industry, which from a business standpoint has evolved into one where mega-budget superhero tent poles are fast becoming the only viable projects, and of the stifling atmosphere this inflicts on the collective creative imagination too.
I personally found Scorsese’s comments about comic book movies quite accurate, and fair. He said they were on the whole more similar to theme park rides than what he would traditionally consider ‘cinema’. That may sound snobbish but when considered in the grander picture of the industry it is not too far off the mark. Some of these movies are good, some bad, but the overarching goal behind them—the grand business and creative strategy—seems more in line with the theme park analogy than anything else. Despite the fact that categorising the movie industry as an eternal pseudo-Marxist struggle between ‘the creatives’ and ‘the suits’ would an obscene flattening of the narrative, it is the case that in many ways, as of now, the suits are winning. It wouldn’t be quite accurate to shrug these concerns off by comparing things to, say, the era of 90’s blockbusters either—as even if we just consider the power exercised by the one company in question today, the picture is almost unprecedented, and things are only getting worse. It’s not too much of a stretch of the imagination to look at movie theatres these days and to see a vast top-down project intended at turning all the multiplexes and smaller indie cinemas dotted around the globe into one gigantic extension of Disneyland. Soon, no matter which theatre you’ll go to, you will still just be enclosed within those borders. All of reality will be refracted only through the lens of superheroes and villains and Disney characters and we’ll all be totally unable to conceptually grapple with the lack of a caped heroic individual coming to rescue us from a planet set ablaze by corrupt systems.
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