Film Martin Scorsese - Marvel movies are 'not cinema'

Mark Pawelek

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A person is a sense-making machine and these things help to create meaning. Shared experience and all that. Not sure I really agree tbh.
"Shared experience" - what is that? My experience is individual. I admit that meaning is constrained and made by language but, even then, we try to make new meaning with new words, metaphors, sentences, stories. Movies try to impose their meanings on us. At the end of the day, it's up to individuals to accept or reject the stories they tell. They are only stories. Life is lived experience.
 

sullydnl

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"One can't get meaning by proxy from art or culture" is a hell of a statement to throw out given that's how art would usually be perceived as working.
 

Mark Pawelek

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"One can't get meaning by proxy from art or culture" is a hell of a statement to throw out given that's how art would usually be perceived as working.
The importance of art and culture in life and meaning is vastly overstated - by artists, media, and culture consumers everywhere. I threw out the statement to drag people back to reality; which for most of us consists of living = daily life, jobs, family, friendships, hobbies, civic participation, economics, politics, ...

Art and culture only appear to be more important than they are because the artefacts are enduring, communication media.
 

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"Shared experience" - what is that? My experience is individual. I admit that meaning is constrained and made by language but, even then, we try to make new meaning with new words, metaphors, sentences, stories. Movies try to impose their meanings on us. At the end of the day, it's up to individuals to accept or reject the stories they tell. They are only stories. Life is lived experience.
Well, you've answered my point so I think you understand what I meant.

I also don't think you're wrong to suggest people have to be willing to take on new ideas pushed by any communication medium, and I totally agree that people can (and should) accept/reject ideas that movies offer. In fact, I'd argue that's part of the fun because the best movies are rarely passive.

It's why I can't get onboard with Marvel movies. You know what's going to happen before its even started.
 
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Acole9

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I was watching x men apocalypse the other night as it was on tv, it looks rather dated for a film that was released only four years ago.
 

Inigo Montoya

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I was watching x men apocalypse the other night as it was on tv, it looks rather dated for a film that was released only four years ago.
That's because films that by and large succeed through visual SFX and have story lines that have been poorly written, don't fare as well
 

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That's because films that by and large succeed through visual SFX and have story lines that have been poorly written, don't fare as well
It wasn't particularly impressive at the time either
 

The holy trinity 68

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I was watching x men apocalypse the other night as it was on tv, it looks rather dated for a film that was released only four years ago.
To be fair First Class and Days of Future Past were both made before Apocalypse and don't look dated. It's because Apocalypse was pretty shite compared to the other two.
 
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As it was the masters birthday yesterday, let’s all take a little time to think about his greatest achievement ever: making people with anime avatars really mad.
 

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“As recently as 15 years ago, the term ‘content’ was heard only when people were discussing the cinema on a serious level, and it was contrasted with and measured against ‘form,'” Scorsese writes. “Then, gradually, it was used more and more by the people who took over media companies, most of whom knew nothing about the history of the art form, or even cared enough to think that they should. ‘Content’ became a business term for all moving images: a David Lean movie, a cat video, a Super Bowl commercial, a superhero sequel, a series episode. It was linked, of course, not to the theatrical experience but to home viewing, on the streaming platforms that have come to overtake the moviegoing experience, just as Amazon overtook physical stores.”

The packaging of all moving images as equitable content “has created a situation in which everything is presented to the viewer on a level playing field, which sounds democratic but isn’t,” Scorsese continues. “If further viewing is ‘suggested’ by algorithms based on what you’ve already seen, and the suggestions are based only on subject matter or genre, then what does that do to the art of cinema?” Scorsese adds, “Curating isn’t undemocratic or ‘elitist,’ a term that is now used so often that it’s become meaningless. It’s an act of generosity — you’re sharing what you love and what has inspired you. (The best streaming platforms, such as the Criterion Channel and MUBI and traditional outlets such as TCM, are based on curating — they’re actually curated.) Algorithms, by definition, are based on calculations that treat the viewer as a consumer and nothing else.”

Later in the essay, Scorsese writes “the cinema and the importance it holds in our culture” has changed and that cinephiles “can’t depend on the movie business, such as it is, to take care of cinema.”

“In the movie business, which is now the mass visual entertainment business, the emphasis is always on the word ‘business,’ and value is always determined by the amount of money to be made from any given property — in that sense, everything from ‘Sunrise’ to ‘La Strada’ to ‘2001’ is now pretty much wrung dry and ready for the ‘Art Film’ swim lane on a streaming platform,” the essay reads. “Those of us who know the cinema and its history have to share our love and our knowledge with as many people as possible. And we have to make it crystal clear to the current legal owners of these films that they amount to much, much more than mere property to be exploited and then locked away. They are among the greatest treasures of our culture, and they must be treated accordingly.”

Scorsese concludes: “I suppose we also have to refine our notions of what cinema is and what it isn’t. Federico Fellini is a good place to start. You can say a lot of things about Fellini’s movies, but here’s one thing that is incontestable: they are cinema. Fellini’s work goes a long way toward defining the art form.”
 

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The best streaming platforms, such as the Criterion Channel and MUBI and traditional outlets such as TCM, are based on curating — they’re actually curated. Algorithms, by definition, are based on calculations that treat the viewer as a consumer and nothing else.

You'd be hardpressed to argue with him here. I find movies to rent on Prime by checking to see if they're on the website first and then searching in the app. It's very counterintuitive.
 

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I disagree with him. Cinema has always been like this. Loads of filler content keeping places ticking over with much fewer high quality films peppered throughout. For the majority of the history of cinema, you had no access at all to films unless they happened to be playing at a cinema near you, but he seems to be suggesting it's more difficult now to access those films than in the past.

Also, when people use the word 'content', they could be talking about literally anything that goes online. I produced a lot of content for my website with work over the last 12 months, for example, and only a small portion of it was film based. He's getting tied in a knot over terminology.
 

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The best streaming platforms, such as the Criterion Channel and MUBI and traditional outlets such as TCM, are based on curating — they’re actually curated. Algorithms, by definition, are based on calculations that treat the viewer as a consumer and nothing else.

You'd be hardpressed to argue with him here. I find movies to rent on Prime by checking to see if they're on the website first and then searching in the app. It's very counterintuitive.
They're not designed to be browsed and I find them to have dreadful UIX, even most of the curated ones such as BFI.
 

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You never hear people asking what the new Marvel is like do you? Why? Because they know it will be exactly like the previous ones.

I know it's based on a character from the DC universe not Marvel but I think that's why Joker went down so well with movie goers. It wasnt a traditional super hero / villain film full of explosions and chase scenes. It was a real film which focused on personal suffering and mental health.

Super hero movies have had their time. They need to go away again for 20 years. It's been done to death.
 

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The word "content" should only ever be applied to art as a means of showing utter contempt for it.
 

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You never hear people asking what the new Marvel is like do you? Why? Because they know it will be exactly like the previous ones.

I know it's based on a character from the DC universe not Marvel but I think that's why Joker went down so well with movie goers. It wasnt a traditional super hero / villain film full of explosions and chase scenes. It was a real film which focused on personal suffering and mental health.

Super hero movies have had their time. They need to go away again for 20 years. It's been done to death.
It went down well because it's a poor man's taxi driver with the Joker thrown in. You could make the exact same film without joker and I think it would have been received well but certainly watched less.

"You never hear people asking what the new Marvel is like do you" except you do. Pop in the wandavision thread and see for yourself.
 

Nou_Camp99

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It went down well because it's a poor man's taxi driver with the Joker thrown in. You could make the exact same film without joker and I think it would have been received well but certainly watched less.

"You never hear people asking what the new Marvel is like do you" except you do. Pop in the wandavision thread and see for yourself.
I preferred Taxi Driver too but I think you missed the point I was making there a bit. I'm saying that it wasn't a special as it's made out to be. It was just a welcome change from things blowing up that it always had a chance.

Joker isn't a bad movie though. Definitely a solid 7 out of 10 but definitely overrated. Joaquin phoenix's performance was a solid 9 though. He really did do a great job in my opinion.

I think Wandavision is their attempt to steer away from what I described too. Doesn't seem like it's working so far.
 

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You never hear people asking what the new Marvel is like do you? Why? Because they know it will be exactly like the previous ones.

I know it's based on a character from the DC universe not Marvel but I think that's why Joker went down so well with movie goers. It wasnt a traditional super hero / villain film full of explosions and chase scenes. It was a real film which focused on personal suffering and mental health.

Super hero movies have had their time. They need to go away again for 20 years. It's been done to death.
To be fair it wasn't a super hero/villain movie at all. It was just called Joker to get the studio on board to cash in on the name recognition, the Director admitted as much.
 

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You never hear people asking what the new Marvel is like do you? Why? Because they know it will be exactly like the previous ones.

I know it's based on a character from the DC universe not Marvel but I think that's why Joker went down so well with movie goers. It wasnt a traditional super hero / villain film full of explosions and chase scenes. It was a real film which focused on personal suffering and mental health.

Super hero movies have had their time. They need to go away again for 20 years. It's been done to death.
It's going nowhere and is going to get even better. Buckle up.
 

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Well given the success and peak of Endgame of course it can get worse.

I never understand people being up in arms about things they don't like being successful and then having a go to prove they are better for not liking it?
 

Vidyoyo

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Another thing to add - Scorsese's points are a bit similar to what Miyazaki has said in the past about the anime industry, specifically Otaku-ism. I think both like the idea of create meaningful movies and really dislike what is, effectively, a hyper accelerated form of 'fan culture'.

I've spoken to Marvel fans in meatspace before and they're obviously not interested in the movies based on what happens. Like @Nou_Camp99 says, they know what's going to happen because the films are templates of one another. Instead, they care about who it happens to. They want to project themselves into the movies and live vicariously through images on screen by picking a character they like and siding with them (always the right side btw).

I think the films are popular for this reason. They create, what I assume are, glorious images of men and women, charismatic or flawed. Hyper-forms of human beings who exist in another strata of reality so much more sensational than our own. You know, that boring one where we just browse our phones in a bid to forget the boredom. Marvel movies are, therefore, the truest form of escapism. The content is a drug. It's pure distilled excitement.

Scorsese will never understand this because he's not trying to hijack that side of people's brains. He doesn't make characters only so people can go, "ooo he's a cool dude" or "ooo he's a wrong'un". He believes people are complex and have moral values. He wants people to think instead. The fool.
 

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His conclusions are often questionable to say the least, but MatPat made an interesting video some time back where he predicts that movie theatres as we know them are going to die very soon(arthouses not included, obviously). Two things will take over:

1. Releasing the movie straight to streaming services, sometimes with a pay-per-view solution(initially). This has already started so it's not that surprising. But the next one terrifies my old heart:

2. Watching movies in actual stadiums. Movie-going will basically become a sports event. It will be a social experience where the main purpose is to take part in the "hype" with thousands of other people. The Marvel movies are essentially tailor made for such an experience already.
 

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2. Watching movies in actual stadiums. Movie-going will basically become a sports event. It will be a social experience where the main purpose is to take part in the "hype" with thousands of other people. The Marvel movies are essentially tailor made for such an experience already.
This sounds questionable because aren't cinemas the stadiums already? Cinemas (as in the chains) only exist to serve these movies. And in the case of Marvel movies, the culture is already there that you can yell at the screen and dress-up like a frigging alien warrior elf or whatever.

Agree wholly with point 1. This audience is very fickle and obviously prefers comfort - both physically and in terms of plot/structure/characters/etc.
 

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I understand his fear of protecting cinema but i think the way he expresses content and algorithms is incorrect.

Content is a blanket expression used to describe the main content within a system. An algorithm is just a new form of genre categorising. His films most likely will fall into numerous genres within say netflixs algorithm.

Hes correct to fear peoples tastes diminishing for classical cinema.

He should also be aware dramas/series are displacing movies as peoples preferred choice.
 

OleBoiii

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This sounds questionable because aren't cinemas the stadiums already? Cinemas (as in the chains) only exist to serve these movies. And in the case of Marvel movies, the culture is already there that you can yell at the screen and dress-up like a frigging alien warrior elf or whatever.
I think the difference between a stadium and a movie theatre is pretty big.

Firstly, from an audiovisual perspective it's never gonna be as good. Secondly, a movie theatre is still a movie theatre. Whether you're showing a slow-paced, artsy film or a typical Marvel movie, the movie theatre remains largely the same. Both formats are suited for this type venue. A stadium on the other hand is not. A movie shown in a stadium will be all about action scenes and one-liners.

You could argue that most films released to the big screen are suited for stadiums anyways, but there are still a lot of movies that aren't. Tarantino movies would suck to watch in a stadium. As would most foreign films and Oscar bait. And while I've been critical of Nolan(his dialogues in particular), even his films aren't really that suited for stadiums.

The question is: what will happen if mainstream movie theatres die? The way I see it, one of two things will happen. Probably a combination of both:

1. We'll see a rise in "dual releases" for movies that don't work well in a stadium. They will go straight to streaming(with initial pay-per-view) and be shown in arthouses for a premium price for those that want the classic cinema experience.

2. More and more movies will cater to the stadium experience, thus resulting in most(all?) big releases being Marvel-like.
 

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I think the difference between a stadium and a movie theatre is pretty big.

Firstly, from an audiovisual perspective it's never gonna be as good. Secondly, a movie theatre is still a movie theatre. Whether you're showing a slow-paced, artsy film or a typical Marvel movie, the movie theatre remains largely the same. Both formats are suited for this type venue. A stadium on the other hand is not. A movie shown in a stadium will be all about action scenes and one-liners.

You could argue that most films released to the big screen are suited for stadiums anyways, but there are still a lot of movies that aren't. Tarantino movies would suck to watch in a stadium. As would most foreign films and Oscar bait. And while I've been critical of Nolan(his dialogues in particular), even his films aren't really that suited for stadiums.

The question is: what will happen if mainstream movie theatres die? The way I see it, one of two things will happen. Probably a combination of both:

1. We'll see a rise in "dual releases" for movies that don't work well in a stadium. They will go straight to streaming(with initial pay-per-view) and be shown in arthouses for a premium price for those that want the classic cinema experience.

2. More and more movies will cater to the stadium experience, thus resulting in most(all?) big releases being Marvel-like.
Ah yes, then I agree. Stadiums would suit tentpole releases and could well be used if/when cinemas cease to be.

I thought you were talking about them destabilising cinemas at current and I think that's a way off yet (though Covid might have just accelerated it).
 

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Look, the thing is, I like blockbusters too. I can enjoy Speed, Con Air, The Rock, Terminator 2 etc.

Personally I don't like superhero/comic blockbusters in general.
 

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You never hear people asking what the new Marvel is like do you? Why? Because they know it will be exactly like the previous ones.

I know it's based on a character from the DC universe not Marvel but I think that's why Joker went down so well with movie goers. It wasnt a traditional super hero / villain film full of explosions and chase scenes. It was a real film which focused on personal suffering and mental health.

Super hero movies have had their time. They need to go away again for 20 years. It's been done to death.
It was certainly true for quite a while, but Marvel also know that — and them inviting the likes of Waititi and Zhao, independent directors with unique and recognizable style, is certainly a step towards solving this issue. Spiderverse & Wandavision are also quite unlike anything that Marvel have produced up to this point (the latter is quite clearly targeting the niche of new wacky supernatural series like Legion).

As for your last point — you'll only see more of them soon, for better or for worse (probably the latter).
 

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Future generations probably wont have the attention span for feature length movies anyway. They'd rather watch 100 20 second clips than 'waste' that time on one thing.
 

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His conclusions are often questionable to say the least, but MatPat made an interesting video some time back where he predicts that movie theatres as we know them are going to die very soon(arthouses not included, obviously). Two things will take over:

1. Releasing the movie straight to streaming services, sometimes with a pay-per-view solution(initially). This has already started so it's not that surprising. But the next one terrifies my old heart:

2. Watching movies in actual stadiums. Movie-going will basically become a sports event. It will be a social experience where the main purpose is to take part in the "hype" with thousands of other people. The Marvel movies are essentially tailor made for such an experience already.
Number 1 can work for a lot of films but it does not work for Superhero or lets say Michael Bay style films. When the Avenger last two movies (endgame and infinity) came out I had a young baby and couldn't go to the Cinema. I still have not watched those films and probably never will as their whole purpose is action and sound to be watched in the Cinema.

I think IMAX is the nice compromise between 1 and 2 and will always have a place. Movies like Avengers, Avatar, etc. are things I would still watch in Cinema as those movies are more of an experience than a movie.
 

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The holy trinity 68

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His conclusions are often questionable to say the least, but MatPat made an interesting video some time back where he predicts that movie theatres as we know them are going to die very soon(arthouses not included, obviously). Two things will take over:

1. Releasing the movie straight to streaming services, sometimes with a pay-per-view solution(initially). This has already started so it's not that surprising. But the next one terrifies my old heart:

2. Watching movies in actual stadiums. Movie-going will basically become a sports event. It will be a social experience where the main purpose is to take part in the "hype" with thousands of other people. The Marvel movies are essentially tailor made for such an experience already.
I hope this never happens.