Different verse, same as the first: Not long after Martin Scorsese slammed superhero movies, saying they’re “not cinema,” one of his esteemed colleagues — and fellow co-director of the anthology picture New York Stories — has gone even further. Francis Ford Coppola backed Scorsese up and doubled down, calling the genre “despicable.” And just as Marvel fans, stars, and directors went after the man who made Raging Bull, Goodfellas, and the new The Irishman, some are gunning for the man behind The Godfather trilogy, Apocalypse Now, and the newly recut version of The Cotton Club.
Natalie Portman — aka Thor’s ex-girlfriend, who will soon become the female Thor — already issued a semi-diplomatic response to Coppola’s withering comments. James Gunn was a bit more forceful. The Guardians of the Galaxy series helmer — who’s currently busy with The Suicide Squad — proudly pushed back against Scorsese’s comments, and he did the same with Coppola in an Instagram post Sunday morning.
“Many of our grandfathers thought all gangster movies were the same, often calling them ‘despicable. Some of our great grandfathers thought the same of westerns, and believed the films of John Ford, Sam Peckinpah, and Sergio Leone were all exactly the same. I remember a great uncle to whom I was raving about Star Wars. He responded by saying, ‘I saw that when it was called 2001, and, boy, was it boring!’ Superheroes are simply today’s gangsters/cowboys/outer space adventurers. Some superhero films are awful, some are beautiful. Like westerns and gangster movies (and before that, just MOVIES), not everyone will be able to appreciate them, even some geniuses. And that’s okay.”
Gunn paired his lengthy post with a still of Rocket Raccoon looking at Groot.
Gunn isn’t the only Marvel employee who’s refused to take such criticisms sitting down. Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L. Jackson, and Kevin Smith have all tried to defend the most profitable movies in modern cinema while not insulting them.
Of course, this begs the question: Who will be the next towering auteur who will publicly come for superhero movies? Incidentally, Terrence Malick — film genius and Zoolander superfan — has a new movie coming out.