The Irishman‘s impending arrival on Netflix and in theaters is finally making Robert De Niro and Al Pacino proud to be in a movie together again, but legendary director Martin Scorsese’s recent comments on Marvel Studios movies are pulling a bit of focus. That might be an overstatement, but Scorsese’s comments are certainly inspiring some lively discourse. To quickly recap, Scorsese declared that these superhero movies are “not cinema” and are “like theme parks.” James Gunn, who’s now directing for both Disney/Marvel Studios and Warner Bros./DC, declared himself to be “saddened” by the remarks while Samuel L. Jackson is “okay” with Scorsese’s fighting words because “everybody’s got an opinion.” Naturally, Howard Stern and Robert Downey Jr. couldn’t resist digging in on the subject together.
In typical Stern fashion on his Monday radio show, the former shock jock felt pretty passionate on the subject. Downey Jr., on the other hand, projected a wry air. He first communicated that he never really wanted to push for an Oscar (and he’s not part of the upcoming Disney campaign) while playing Tony Stark. Then while admitting his surprise on the enormity of the MCU, he dropped some initial Scorsese remarks:
“I’ll tell you the truth. I didn’t expect it [the Marvel Cinematic Universe] to become what it became and it is this very large, multi-headed Hydra at this point. I’ve always had other interests and according to Scorsese, it’s not cinema so I have to take a look at that, you know?
“It’s his opinion. I mean it plays in theaters. I appreciate his opinion because I think it’s like anything. We need all of the different perspectives so we can come to center and move on.”
However, even though Downey Jr. can “appreciate” that Scorsese has an opinion, he still stated that “it makes no sense” to say that comic book movies aren’t part of cinema. To the Sherlock Holmes actor, this is “like saying Howard Stern isn’t radio.” Well, Stern pressed harder while wondering if Scorsese is envious of the MCU’s unyielding profitability (even with characters like Ant-Man, which Stern didn’t mention, but seriously, no one would have imagined Scott Lang carrying films a decade ago), and that’s where Downey Jr. added some more insight. He doesn’t think Scorsese’s jealous, but he says that if the MCU is a problem, then it’s a good problem for cinema to have:
“Of course not, he’s Martin Scorsese. By the way, there’s a lot to be said about how these genre movies — and I was happy to be a part of the ‘problem,’ if there is one — denigrated the art form of cinema. When you come in like a stomping beast and you eliminate competition in such a demonstrative way, it’s phenomenal.”
You can watch the full interview segment below.