Seeing Cinema in a New Light: Criticism, Essays and Observations about Classic Cinema

Editorials, Rants

Why Martin Scorsese is Right About Marvel Movies

Acclaimed director, Martin Scorsese

Acclaimed director, Martin Scorsese

Needless to Say, I Stand with Scorsese

At this stage, it goes without saying where I stand on this entire Scorsese versus Marvel movies debate. Marvel movies are not cinema. But then again, neither are DC movies or the current crop of non-movies passing for movies, regardless of whether we’re talking about comic book movies, action-adventure movies, horror movies or any other genre of film. Most movies being made today are cheap, hollow movie-going experiences put out by film school graduates who’ve mastered the craft of MINOs, which may by all appearances look like movies but are lacking that one crucial element–giving moviegoers that classic “cinematic” experience we all know and love.

The outraged manbabies can respond all they want to Scorsese’s remarks with snide comments of their own about how he’s an elitist; an old man out of touch with the new generation of filmmakers; or someone who’s jealous of the success of comic book movies. All of that isn’t going to change the fact that comic book movies are not cinema. They are simply MINOs–Movies in Name Only–and should be called out as such.


  1. ary

    Agreed entirely. But I have to ask, and since I am but a film noob so no condescension intended, why does Joker not qualify as cinema? It’s could be a copy for sure but how is it a padded MINO? The point is sure it looks exactly like Taxi Driver but that means it’s at best an eyesore for experienced film viewers but how is it “padded”?

    I hope you get my point, writing wise it’s trash for sure.

    • Comment by post author

      Regarding Joker, it’s not that all MINOs are padded. Padding is a characteristic of MINOs, but a movie can be a MINO without being padded.

      For example, I talked about Disney’s Star Wars. These movies aren’t padded at all, but they’re MINOs because they’re shot and blocked like a TV series, and the storytelling played out like a children’s animated series, not a sweeping epic. The storytelling and direction, in other words, didn’t have the epic quality that separates cinema from a television show.

      It’s the same with Joker. It’s not that it was padded, but that the subject matter and story were not worthy of cinematic treatment. The fact that the Joker’s backstory wasn’t good enough to be made into a movie is why the film tried so hard to remind audiences of Scorsese’s works. Some are calling it homage, but it’s not so much homage as it is a self-consciousness that the story wasn’t really “movie” material.

    • Comment by post author

      I forgot to add one more thing: another reason why Joker is a MINO goes back to something that Martin Scorsese said when he complained about Marvel movies being “product”.

      Movies are a passion project. In other words, filmmakers shoot because they are driven by a creative vision, want to flex their creative muscles or want to do their part to change moviemaking for the better.

      “Joker” was not a passion project. It was both a cynical cash grab trying to capitalize on the “dark and gritty” comic book phenomenon, as well as a cynical attempt to give one of the most childish genres of all time–the comic book superhero–prestige. There was no personal vision in this movie, no real interest in the storyline or characters. It was a product.

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