In a recent interview published in Empire, Martin Scorsese spoke harshly about the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The legendary director said comic book movies are “not cinema” and instead referred to them as “theme parks.” Now, James Gunn, the filmmaker behind the Guardians of the Galaxy series and the upcoming Suicide Squad movie, has responded in defense of superhero blockbusters.

In a short series of tweets, Gunn called Scorsese “one of my five favorite living filmmakers” before comparing the acclaimed director’s comments to the controversy around one of Scorsese’s own films, The Last Temptation of Christ. “I was outraged when people picketed The Last Temptation of Christ without having seen the film,” wrote Gunn. “I’m saddened that he’s now judging my films in the same way.”

It’s true that people picketed 1988’s The Last Temptation of Christ, both for scenes that departed from the Gospel and for all the enthusiastic sex that Jesus was having. Of course, those protests were religiously inspired, which is where Gunn’s analogy starts to break down a bit. Scorsese didn’t say he was avoiding Marvel movies on principle, just that they weren’t to his taste.

(Read: 20 Years Ago, Blade Made Comic Book Movies Credible)


Gunn later clarified, “And I’m not saying religious zealotry is the same as not liking my movies, or in the same category. What I’m saying is I’m not fond of people judging things without actually seeing them, whether it’s a movie about Jesus or a genre.”

Of course, Scorsese did say he’d “tried” watching comic book movies, though perhaps Gunn has some more worthy recommendations to change the iconic director’s mind.

Gunn’s defense isn’t surprising considering he’s committed to the superhero genre for at least a couple more years. He’s been re-hired by Disney to direct Guardians of the Galaxy 3, and his Suicide Squad sequel is prepping for release in 2021.

Meanwhile, Scorsese’s latest piece of “true” cinema, The Irishman, has a limited theatrical run on November 1st before dropping on Netflix November 27th. From what we hear, it’s pretty good.