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Francis Ford Coppola’s Slam on Marvel Films Fuels Debate Sparked by Martin Scorsese

Disparaging remarks by Francis Ford Coppola have further inflamed the debate sparked by Martin Scorsese and his criticism of Marvel and other comic book films.

At a press conference in Lyon, France, where he was being honored at the Lumiere festival, the “Godfather” director said he fully agreed with Scorsese’s assessment and went even further in criticizing Marvel-type movies. “Martin was being kind when he said it wasn’t cinema,” Coppola said. “He didn’t say it was despicable, which is what I say.”

Coppola’s comments brought a rapid retort from James Gunn, the writer-director of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise and the upcoming “The Suicide Squad.” Gunn, who had also taken issue with Scorsese’s remarks, said on his Instagram account that “many of our grandfathers thought all gangster movies were the same, often calling them ‘despicable.’ Some of our great grandfathers thought the same of westerns, and believed the films of John Ford, Sam Peckinpah, and Sergio Leone were all exactly the same.

“I remember a great uncle to whom I was raving about Star Wars,” Gunn wrote in his post, beneath a still from “Guardians of the Galaxy.” “He responded by saying, ‘I saw that when it was called 2001, and, boy, was it boring!’ Superheroes are simply today’s gangsters/cowboys/outer space adventurers.”

Gunn added: “Some superhero films are awful, some are beautiful. Like westerns and gangster movies (and before that, just MOVIES), not everyone will be able to appreciate them, even some geniuses. And that’s okay.”

Coppola’s comments Saturday came even as he spoke of his own big-budget project that he has been developing for many years, a film about utopia called “Megalopolis.” Coppola appeared also to criticize the devoted fan bases of the Marvel and other comic-book franchises.

“We expect from cinema that it brings us something, some enlightenment, some knowledge, some inspiration,” he said. “I don’t think anyone takes anything away from the experience of watching the same film over and over.”

A day earlier, during a Q&A at the Lumiere festival on Friday, Coppola touted his own, more “personal” approach to filmmaking. “If you make art that’s not personal, it’s a sin….When I was hired to do ‘The Godfather,’ I tried to do something that was personal, even though I was hired” to work on a pre-existing project, he said. “It’s not that you’re getting hired that’s bad, but just to think of it in terms of some sort of industry success. I would like everyone to make really personal films.”

Coppola’s slam on Marvel has been widely reported in the French media. In a headline on its website, the news channel BFM TV said: “Coppola slaughters Marvel movies.”

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Many of our grandfathers thought all gangster movies were the same, often calling them “despicable”. Some of our great grandfathers thought the same of westerns, and believed the films of John Ford, Sam Peckinpah, and Sergio Leone were all exactly the same. I remember a great uncle to whom I was raving about Star Wars. He responded by saying, “I saw that when it was called 2001, and, boy, was it boring!” Superheroes are simply today’s gangsters/cowboys/outer space adventurers. Some superhero films are awful, some are beautiful. Like westerns and gangster movies (and before that, just MOVIES), not everyone will be able to appreciate them, even some geniuses. And that’s okay. ❤️

A post shared by James Gunn (@jamesgunn) on

Meanwhile, Vincent Cassel, the French actor who starred in “Black Swan” and “Ocean’s Thirteen,” told radio station France Inter on Friday that “we are seeing the last shudders of a dinosaur named Hollywood.” Cassel, who is currently promoting his latest film, “The Specials,” which world premiered on closing night at the Cannes Film Festival, said that Hollywood “is continuing to make blockbusters to sell popcorn, but all of it is shallow and is coming to an end, and the series are there…to save us.”

Ben Croll contributed to this report.

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