We’re a few weeks into the endless outrage over Martin Scorsese saying he didn’t much care for Marvel movies, and if anything the furor has grown louder. The legendary filmmaker has inspired other colleagues to join his ranks, including Francis Ford Coppola, and as of yesterday acclaimed British filmmaker Ken Loach, who compared them to “hamburgers.” All the while the MCU’s directors, stars, and especially fans have tried to defend their beloved product from such marked criticism. (On the plus side, that means superhero movie-heads have gotten to learn about Ken Loach, who’s very good.)
So far these defenses, courtesy of James Gunn to Kevin Smith, have struggled to balance hurt feelings with respect for their storied work, as well as the idea that not everyone has to like Marvel movies. One exception, arguably, is Jon Favreau, who’s basically responsible for the MCU in the first place. His response, told to CNBC Tuesday morning (and picked up by The Hollywood Reporter), didn’t try to condescend to directors who, between them, have created many of the greatest motion pictures of all time.
“These two guys are my heroes, and they have earned the right to express their opinions,” Favreau said. “I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing if they didn’t carve the way. They served as a source of inspiration, you can go all the way back to Swingers.” He concluded: “They can express whatever opinion they like.”
As well-known by now, Scorsese — whose gangster epic The Irishman hits theaters next month, with a Netflix drop around Thanksgiving — said that Marvel movies are “not cinema,” and compared them to theme park rides. He recently tripled down on this statement. Coppola, meanwhile, called them “despicable,” and the fact that he made The Godfather trilogy, Apocalypse Now, and a very much improved recent recut of his 1984 gangster-music movie The Cotton Club did not stem the tide of angered Marvel fans.
Still, Favreau didn’t try to say the films are not for them, as Gunn and others have. The man who paid loving homage to Goodfellas’ iconic and acrobatic nightclub Steadicam long take via a similar one in Swingers didn’t qualify his comments; he let them get away with not enjoying the franchise he helped birth, having directed the first two Iron Man movies and has hung around as Happy Hogan. Perhaps he will inspire others to feel likewise.