In addition to the upcoming “Suicide Squad” film based on DC Comics characters, Gunn is perhaps best known for helming the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise for Marvel. The Guardians have had two installments under their belt and, after a bit of controversy, were secured for a third.
While promoting his latest movie on MTV’s “Happy Sad Confused” podcast, Gunn rehashed the controversy that surrounded Scorsese in 2019 when he decried Marvel movies as “not cinema” and likened them to “theme park” attractions.
Speaking to podcast host Josh Horowitz, Gunn said that he believes Scorsese’s comments were merely an effort to drum up press for his movie “The Irishman,” which was being released at the time in the shadow of “Avengers: Endgame,” which was one of the highest-grossing movies ever.
“I just think it seems awful cynical that he would keep coming out against Marvel and then that is the only thing that would get him press for his movie,” Gunn said (via Insider). “He’s creating his movie in the shadow of the Marvel films, and so he uses that to get attention for something he wasn’t getting as much attention as he wanted for it.”
James Gunn spoke out about Martin Scorsese bashing Marvel movies. (Getty Images)
Although he seemed dismissive of Scorsese’s opinions on the matter, Gunn noted that he believes he is still one of the “greatest filmmakers who’s ever existed.” In fact, he even went as far as to agree with some of what Scorsese said in the past.
“There are a lot of heartless, soulless, spectacle films out there that don’t reflect what should be happening,” Gunn said. “I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve talked to film directors before they went and made a big movie, and said, ‘Hey, we’re in this together, let’s do something different with these big movies. Let’s make them something different than everything that has come before them.’ And then see them cater to every single studio whim and be grossed out, frankly.”
Scorsese first courted controversy with Marvel fans when he spoke about them in an interview with Empire Magazine.
“I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema. Honestly, the closest I can think of them, as well-made as they are, with actors doing the best they can under the circumstances, is theme parks,” he said at the time. “It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.”
He brought up the topic again in subsequent interviews and even went as far as to elaborate more in an essay he penned for the New York Times.
This isn’t the first time that Gunn has spoken out about Scorsese’s comments. At the time the “Departed” filmmaker was getting headlines for bashing Marvel and other big-budget franchise movies, Gunn spoke out on Twitter.
“Martin Scorsese is one of my 5 favorite living filmmakers. I was outraged when people picketed ‘The Last Temptation of Christ’ without having seen the film. I’m saddened that he’s now judging mine in the same way,” he said at the time.