Ridley Scott’s Problem With Superhero Movies Comes Down To The Scripts

The Martin Scorsese kerfuffle and Ridley Scott’s comments show there is a clear generation gap. Scorsese and Cronenberg are both 79, and Francis Ford Coppola and Scott are in their 80s, while whippersnappers Taika Waititi, Kevin Smith, and also James Gunn are 46, 51, and 55, respectively. In his Hollywood Reporter interview, Smith gave the clearest indication of why the gap makes such a difference:

“My feeling is, Martin Scorsese never sat in a movie theater with his dad and watched the movies of Steven Spielberg in the early ’80s or George Lucas in the late ’70s. He didn’t feel that sense of magic and wonder.”

Putting aside that Scorsese was hitting 40 in the early ’80s, Smith is referring to movies like “Star Wars” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” part of the blockbuster trend that began with “Jaws” and contributed to the shift away from the auteur-led films of New Hollywood that Scorsese and Coppola were key figures in.

Scott’s blunt takedown of superhero movies got Marvel fans frothing, but it didn’t receive the same backlash as Scorsese’s argument. The “Goodfellas” director went on to say he was more concerned with the way franchises crowd out smaller releases and leave little room for more character-driven films, which has damaging implications for the kind of movies filmmakers get to make in the future.

The older directors consumed their fare share of escapist media when they were kids; maybe not as much as Kevin Smith, but Coppola cited “Dracula” and “The Thief of Baghdad” as childhood favorites, while Cronenberg has spoken of his love for sci-fi and comic books growing up. I guess the difference was without the all-conquering franchises around, there was more room to appreciate the other stuff, too.

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