Robert Downey Jr has taken a measured view on Martin Scorsese's recent comments that the Marvel movies are 'not cinema'.
Downey Jr, who played Iron Man in the MCU from 2008 to 2019, was appearing on the Howard Stern show when the radio host asked him what he reckoned to Scorsese's view.
“I’ll tell you the truth, I didn’t expect [the MCU] to become what it became and it is this very large, multi-headed Hydra at this point,” he said.
“I’ve always had other interests, and according to Scorsese, it’s not cinema so I have to take a look at that, you know?
“It’s his opinion. I mean, well, it plays in theatres. I appreciate his opinion because I think, it’s like anything, we need all of the different perspectives so we can come to centre and move on.”
He went on to say that Scorsese's actual claim, that the movies don't constitute cinema, 'makes no sense’.
“It’ll be like saying Howard Stern isn’t radio,” he added. “By the way, there’s a lot to be said about how these genre movies – and I was happy to be a part of the ‘problem’, if there is one – denigrated the art form of cinema.
“When you come in like a stomping beast and you eliminate the competition in such a demonstrative way, it’s phenomenal.”
Scorsese made the remarks in an interview with Empire magazine.
“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.”
Read more: Marvel directors react to Scorsese comments
Since then, Samuel L. Jackson, and directors James Gunn and Joss Whedon have all defended the movie series.
Jackson said: “That’s kind of like saying Bugs Bunny ain’t funny.
“Films are films. You know, everybody doesn’t like his stuff either. I mean, we happen to, but everybody doesn’t.
“There are a lot of Italian-Americans that don’t think he should be making films about them like that. Everybody’s got an opinion, so it’s okay. It’s not going to stop anyone from making movies.”
Whatever Scorsese – who is poised to release new movie The Irishman via Netflix on 27 November – reckons, the MCU is the most successful franchise in cinema history.
Over 23 movies, it's made $22.5 billion at the worldwide box office.