Martin Scorsese says plethora of comic book movies are a ‘danger’ to culture

Martin Scorsese has waded into the comic book movie debate once again.

The Taxi Driver and Raging Bull director caused a stir in October 2019 after sharing the belief that the Avengers films were “not cinema” and were comparable to “theme park” rides.

He then elaborated on his views weeks later, saying of superhero films: “We shouldn’t be invaded by it. We need cinemas to step up and show films that are narrative films.”

Now, the director, whose next film is the drama Killers of the Flower Moon, has opened up about what he believes the “danger” is when it comes to such film releases.

“The danger there is what it’s doing to our culture, because there are going to be generations now that think movies are only those – that’s what movies are,” he told GQ.

Scorsese said this “means that we have to then fight back stronger”, adding: “It’s got to come from the grassroots level. It’s gotta come from the filmmakers themselves. And you’ll have, you know, the Safdie brothers, and you’ll have Chris Nolan, you know what I mean? And hit ’em from all sides. Hit ’em from all sides, and don’t give up. Let’s see what you got. Go out there and do it. Go reinvent. Don’t complain about it.

He added: “But it’s true, because we’ve got to save cinema.”

Scorsese previously said of cinema chains’s decision to dedicate the majority of screens to new superhero films: “Theatres have become amusement parks. That is all fine and good but don’t invade everything else in that sense.

“That is fine and good for those who enjoy that type of film and, by the way, knowing what goes into them now, I admire what they do. It’s not my kind of thing, it simply is not. It’s creating another kind of audience that thinks cinema is that.”

Killers of the Flower Moon is an adaption of David Grann’s non-fiction book documenting the string of murders that plagued the Osage Indian tribe in Oklahoma during the 1920s after oil was found on their land. The case was deemed the FBI’s first homicide investigation.

Lily Gladstone and Leonardo DiCaprio in ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ (AppleTV+)
Lily Gladstone and Leonardo DiCaprio in ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ (AppleTV+)

The adaptation will mark the eighth time Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio have worked together. Killers of the Flower Moon is set to be released theatrically on 20 October ahead of its premiere on Apple TV+.

It also stars Lily Gladstone, Robert De Niro and Jesse Plemons. The film premiered at Cannes Film Festival in May, where it received a nine-minute standing ovation.

The Independent’s film critic Clarisse Loughrey, in her five-star review, said the film carries Scorsese’s “tradition fixations: the rotted core of man’s heart; how power breeds the impulse for destruction; the myths of cowboys and outlaws and the dirty truth to them”.

Killers of the Flower Moon will be the 80-year-old filmmaker’s first film since The Irishman, which was released in 2019. It will receive its UK premiere at the BFI London Film Festival, with Scorsese himself set to participate in a Screen Talks Q&A on 7 October.