Scorsese caused upset when he told Empire magazine that he had tried and failed to engage with Marvel films, and claimed they were “not cinema”.
Appearing on The Howard Stern Show, Downey Jr, who plays Iron Man, said he “appreciates” the renowned filmmaker’s opinion and that he himself viewed the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) as “this very large, multi-headed Hydra at this point”.
“I appreciate his opinion because I think, it’s like anything,” he continued, “we need all of the perspectives so we can come to centre and move on.” He later added that while he wasn’t personally offended by Scorsese’s claim, he believed the notion that Marvel films were not cinema made “no sense”.
“It’d be like saying Howard Stern isn’t radio,” he joked.
He dismissed the suggestion that Scorsese’s remark was out of jealousy: “Of course not, he’s Martin Scorsese,” he said. “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 form of cinema.
“When you come in like a stomping beast and you eliminate the competition in such a demonstrative way, it’s phenomenal.”
Downey Jr’s response was similarly nuanced to his co-star, Samuel L Jackson, who pointed out that not everyone likes Scorsese’s films, either.
“I mean, we happen to, but everybody doesn’t,” he told Variety, “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 OK. It’s not going to stop anyone from making movies.”
Meanwhile, Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn said he “saddened” by Scorsese’s comments. Karen Gillan said the films were “a very big representation of who [Gunn] is as a person and therefore it’s very cinematic”.
Avengers director Joss Whedon quoted the Incredible Hulk and tweeted: “I revere Marty, and I do see his point, but... Well there’s a reason why ‘I’m always angry’.”
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