Pop Cinema Icon Roger Corman Calls Marvel Movies “Simplistic”

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Nonstop Marvel Studios movies as cinema discourse isn’t slowing down in the month of October as yet another filmmaker enters the fray. Roger Corman is the man behind a lot of films beloved by film enthusiasts today, and he has spoken on Marvel Studios’ output. The director of Little Shop of Horrors said that the movies produced by the company were too simplistic in a conversation with The Hollywood Reporter. He even went so far to say that the Marvel movies aren’t apart of “the pure art form of cinema.” While he goes on to credit the craftsmanship that goes into building the modern spectacle blockbusters, like The Avengers, those words on the front end kind of reinforce the criticisms that Martin Scorsese leveled at the company that started this whole messy dialogue in the first place.

Corman told THR, “Well, I feel motion pictures are really the quintessential modern art form. They are the art of movement. Secondarily, they are a combination of business and art — and I think, except for the exceptional pure art film, all motion pictures are combinations of business and art. I’ve read what they said, and I think I agree with them to a certain extent. As pure cinema, as a pure art form, these films don’t qualify. But, if you say it is a combination of an art form and a business, then they do qualify. Even if the stories may be simplistic, the productions may be standard, they’re standard on a high professional level and particularly the special effects are wonderful. So I think you have to recognize there are various aspects to this.”

“One additional thing is, you might think of them as modern fairytales — so don’t think of them as a pure art form of cinema. Think of them as a combination of art and business showing a high level of craftsmanship with wonderful special effects and, to a certain extent, today’s version of fairytales,” he concluded.

This all comes weeks after Scorsese made his initial controversial comments about all things Marvel. The Oscar-winning filmmaker has stoked the fires of the news cycle for a while now. Scorsese has become something of a meme for Marvel fans all across the Internet. There were red Martin Scorsese shirts produced in the format of the Marvel Studios logo. The director even had his very own “recommendations” corner at a big box store consisting entirely of superhero films.

Those first comments came to light in an issue of Empire. Scorsese said those massive blockbuster films made by Marvel weren’t part of cinema. “I don’t see them. I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema,” he said. “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. It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.”

Scorsese doubled down on those comments not long afterward. “The value of a film that’s like a theme park film, for example, the Marvel type pictures where the theaters become amusement parks, that’s a different experience,” he clarified. “As I was saying earlier, it’s not cinema, it’s something else. Whether you go for that or not, it is something else and we shouldn’t be invaded by it. And so that’s a big issue, and we need the theater owners to step up for that to allow theaters to show films that are narrative films.”

There seems to be no end to this controversy in sight, so get ready for any person that’s ever had some success in the industry being asked to weigh in on this very incendiary question for at least a couple months more.

Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

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