Morbius might not have been the critical delight and audience pleaser that Sony was hoping for, but it received an overwhelmingly positive review from Martin Scorsese. The beloved filmmaker commented, “I was aghast to find out it was based on a comic book. This is the truest height of cinema and even I cannot top it.”
Needless to say, the review was fake, but that doesn’t mean that the director doesn’t have tons of other unpopular opinions about movies and the movie industry in general. Between criticizing streamers that have given him hundreds of millions of dollars, defending terrible horror sequels, and what he thinks his most violent movie is, Scorsese doesn’t stop at Marvel.
Marvel Movies Aren’t Cinema
Scorsese has made so many headlines over recent years not for his epic movies but for his opinion on superhero films. It’s no secret that the director dislikes them after calling them “theme park rides” (via Variety), and he has often refined and added to his point of view ever since his first comments in 2019.
However, interestingly, according to Far Out Magazine, the director does have a soft spot for Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, explaining, “Sam Raimi’s films I like actually. And I’m really glad that was a big success.” It’s a wonder what Scorsese thinks of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which was also directed by Raimi and features Raimi’s signature filmmaking style, so it could be the first MCU movie Scorsese might like.
Studios Shouldn’t Focus On Numbers
Scorsese doesn’t take aim at Marvel with his most recent outspoken comment about Hollywood, but the way studios make decisions based on box office gross. The director explained, “As a filmmaker, and as a person who can’t imagine life without cinema, I always find it really insulting.”
It’s such a strange comment to make, especially by someone who was given $200 million from Netflix to make The Irishman (via Deadline), and another $200 from Apple to make the upcoming Killers of the Flower Moon (via Indie Wire). As great as The Irishman is, if it was financed by a movie studio and had a theatrical release, it would never have broken even and would have lost the studio millions, and that’s a prime example of why studios should and will always think about numbers first.
The Age Of Innocence Is His Most Violent Movie
Scorsese has become one of the most beloved filmmakers of all time thanks to his gritty and borderline excessively violent movies like Goodfellas and The Departed. The director even had to desaturate the shots of blood in Taxi Driver’s finale so it wouldn’t get an X rating. However, out of all his movies, the director believes his most violent of them all is the Renaissance-era romantic drama, The Age of Innocence.
According to Little White Lies, the director mentioned, “What has always stuck in my head is the brutality under the manners. People hide what they mean under the surface of language.” In fairness, just like in The Departed and Raging Bull the characters in The Age of Innocence end up completely alienated, and it has an emotional pull that few other Scorsese movies do.
His Movies Don’t Lack Female Characters
While it seems obnoxious to tell a director how they should have made their movies, Scorsese’s films do harbor the same constant criticisms. Many believe that his films don’t have strong female characters, as all the most important women in his films mostly fit into the “mob wife” archetype, whether it’s Henry Hill’s wife, Colin Sullivan’s fiancée, or Frank Sheeran’s daughter.
However, Scorsese couldn’t disagree more and doesn’t think his movies lack well-written female characters. Scorsese argued, “That’s not even a valid point. It’s a question I’ve had for so many years. It is a waste of everybody’s time.” But Scorsese hasn’t directed a female-led movie in 50 years, with the only example being 1972’s Boxcar Bertha, so he doesn’t have much of a strong argument.
Scorsese Likes The Exorcist II: The Heretic
The Exorcist is one of the greatest horror movies ever made, and it’s one of only seven horror movies nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. The sequel, on the other hand, holds a shocking 3.8 on IMDb and a 10% on Rotten Tomatoes, making it one of the worst sequels of all time to one of the greatest movies of all time.
But that’s why it comes as such a shock that Scorsese enjoys the 1977 horror sequel. Not only that, but according to Far Out Magazine, the filmmaker prefers the sequel to the original movie. The director commented, “I like the first Exorcist, because of the Catholic guilt I have, and because it scared the hell out of me; but The Heretic surpasses it. Maybe Boorman failed to execute the material, but the movie still deserved better than it got.”
Rotten Tomatoes Is Not Real Film Criticism
Scorsese calls the idea of score aggregators, specifically citing Rotten Tomatoes, “hostile.” While there’s an argument to be made when it comes to ratings from general audiences, as review-bombing is becoming way too common, Rotten Tomatoes absolutely serves a purpose.
The website gives audiences a general idea of how a particular film has been perceived by critics, and it isn’t totally based on arbitrary scores that critics have given. But Scorsese then turns his criticisms of the aggregate website to the “critics” themselves, comparing them to “the increasingly desperate and bloodthirsty crowd near the end of Darren Aronofsky’s mother,”
Joker Is Cinema… But He Still Hasn’t Watched It
Following his controversial comments about superhero movies, Scorsese called Joker “remarkable” and that “it has a real energy. Though that isn’t a particularly unpopular opinion, given that it arrived weeks after he called comic book movies “theme park rides,” he’s seemingly grouping superhero movies into two different groups — “cinema” and “not cinema” — based on his own criteria.
And as if it wasn’t already suspect given that he was a producer on Joker and stood to gain financially based on its success, he called it “cinema” even though he hadn’t seen it. A couple of months later, the director revealed, “I saw clips of it. I know it. So it’s like, why do I need to? I get it. It’s fine” (via Cinema Blend).
Streaming Content Devalues Cinema
Scorsese believes that streaming devalues cinema, arguing, “the art of cinema is being systematically devalued, sidelined, demeaned, and reduced to its lowest common denominator, ‘content.'” However, Scorsese is again currently working on his second movie that will be primarily available on a streamer, and Scorsese’s next project, The Wager, which will also star Leonardo DiCaprio, will be another AppleTV+ exclusive too.
If it wasn’t for streaming, The Irishman never would have escaped development hell. And relative to other formats, streaming is still completely in its infancy, and while the platform might have its flaws, there’s still plenty of time for them to be ironed out. Streamers are also good for original low-to-mid-budget movies, as so few movie studios are greenlighting them anymore.
3D Is Liberating
Some of Scorsese’s comments in recent years have shown how set in his ways the visionary auteur is, but he has always been quick to experiment with the technological advancements in cinema. Whether it’s shooting digitally or de-aging, Scorsese has always helped advance the art of cinema, and that was no different with 3D.
The filmmaker directed the kids’ movie Hugo in 3D, and he explained, “3D is liberating. Every shot is rethinking cinema” (via The Guardian). But based on the lack of 3D movies released since then, it’s clear that the format wasn’t quite as revolutionary that the director thought it’d be. It’s also telling that none of Scorsese’s three movies since Hugo have been in 3D either.