To be fair, I understand why Martin Scorsese wrote this: “…the sameness of today’s franchise pictures is something else again. Many of the elements that define cinema as I know it are there in Marvel pictures. What’s not there is revelation, mystery or genuine emotional danger. Nothing is at risk. The pictures are made to satisfy a specific set of demands, and they are designed as variations on a finite number of themes.” (H/T: Hot Air Headlines) in defense of his earlier statement that the Marvel films are not cinema.
And I sympathize. No, I do. Scorsese grew up and worked in an era when revelatory and/or ‘risky’ movies (cinema, using his definition) could be more successfully marketed and shown in theaters. Or, as Scorsese put it later, “on the big screen, where the filmmaker intended her or his picture to be seen.” For a variety of reasons, that’s not as true anymore. But I think that this final sentence of his: “For anyone who dreams of making movies or who is just starting out, the situation at this moment is brutal and inhospitable to art” is not quite true. It’s possibly brutal and inhospitable if you want to make movies like Scorsese’s, AND if you consider big screens to be the ultimate cinematic viewing experience. For everybody else, it’s a goram Golden Age where having decent production values and special effects are affordable and achievable goals.
I’m pretty cool with that, honestly. So are a lot of independent filmmakers, who have adapted to the new possibilities in the way that artists have done so throughout history: quickly, sometimes hastily, often badly, but sometimes wonderfully. And usually with other people complaining about how it all used to be better In The Time Before.