Are Marvel Movies REAL Cinema? // sharing my opinion on this *delicate* topic

Ever since Martin Scorcese made his infamous comment claiming that Marvel movies aren’t “real art”, I’ve dwelled on it longer than I care to admit. And honestly? I think it’s worth a discussion post!

Ah yes, Marvel. The sole king of movies at the moment, with Spider-Man No Way Home poised to break even more box office records than it already has. Avengers: Endgame is the number one movie of all time according to box office records. And who doesn’t know who Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor are? Of course, this does beg the question: are Marvel movies considered cinema?

in my opinion (the one that you didn’t ask for)? yes and no.

Marvel movies are money-makers and for good reason. When we have heroes on-screen, we like to root for them. We like to watch complex villains. We like enjoyable action scenes and stories. Most of all, though, we like to watch our favorite aspects of all these categories come together in a grand crossover event. But…are they actually good movies?

The Marvel movies are largely taken from comic books, which isn’t a bad thing. They also can be relied upon to do better in sales (heaven help your soul if your movie is releasing the same weekend as a Marvel movie). However, this does bring up a valid point: is having such a monopoly over the box office a good thing? Is the creativity of cinema being stifled by the action-packed adventures of superheroes?

If we measure a film’s success based on Oscars, sales, and audience/critic reviews, Marvel movies don’t totally win every category. However, the issue then becomes what happens when they are nominated for Best Picture regularly? I love Marvel movies, don’t get me wrong. I love the universes, the characters, the soundtracks, the stories.

But let’s face it: most of the movies are relatively cookie-cutter in that they are one genre influenced by others for the most part (action influenced by sci-fi). What does that say about what audiences like? Does that mean that the spaces for other types of movies are lessening? When was the last time we got a movie that was comparable to Mean Girls, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, or Stand By Me? I wonder if the recent remake/spin-off/sequel craze of Hollywood isn’t partially influenced by the fact that creative, original ideas are swallowed up whole by the bigger idea of money and sales. I’m not saying to blame Marvel for anything. I’m certainly not saying that their movies are bad. Because I do have a point I want to make on the opposite end of this argument…

The popularity of Marvel is a good thing in that it offers a space for POC to get large roles. Would a non-Marvel movie like Black Panther or Shang-Chi get the same amount of hype and exposure? Does the type of movie lessen the impact of an actor or actress’s performance? Seeing a biracial black-and-white girl in Zendaya playing as Spider-Man’s love interest (although her character is obviously deeper than that) made me happy. And it isn’t like these movies aren’t good. Same with the TV shows. Wandavision is one of the most creative, endearing, emotional shows I’ve ever seen. So you could very easily make the argument that Marvel enables creativity and underrepresented talent.

Honestly? That’s all I have to say. I think that it is dangerous to let Marvel completely determine the direction of cinema because there won’t be any room left for other movies to shine. What happens if the only movies that sell are the same exact kind of movie? On the other hand, I believe that it is unfair to write them off entirely. Marvel does do some unique things with its lineup. More importantly, it allows for so many different cultures to be seen on the big screen. It allows for POC workers in the film industry to get exposure. Tell me: what are your thoughts on this subject? Do you agree? Disagree?

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12 thoughts on “Are Marvel Movies REAL Cinema? // sharing my opinion on this *delicate* topic

  1. Oh wow such an eloquently thought out post. I thought about this question too when it came up in the news recently. I also think yes and no. I too love the POC exposure it can bring when they choose to do stories in those areas that are well crafted. I’m 100% gonna be buying that Simu Liu memoir lol.

    But I also see that it drives ppl to compare to this franchise and only want stories like it to make a profit if that’s what audiences want. I do feel room for creativity is needed sometimes. But like with bestselling books, I think there are spaces for those underrated but precious gem of a story to shine through in moments and I hope the cinema world will likewise create such a space for these stories to be told (with profitable success hopefully).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! That’s a great point! And yess, Simu Liu is everything. I didn’t realize he had a memoir coming out but now I’m intrigued lol!

      Yes, exactly. That’s a really interesting perspective and I agree, sometimes an underrated gem made from the heart just really takes over the world. Hopefully, a nice balance can be struck! Thanks for weighing in💜

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’ get into movie industry politics. Politics is everywhere and it’s definitely dirty. All I care about is entertainment and Marvel movies have them so I love them but that doesn’t mean I don’t watch other movies. I have come across movies that I love that aren’t Marvel. Art is art and if I get good one I say it’s good. I don’t want to look at what label it has. great discussion!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Haha, I laughed at the heaven help u part. Riddhi’s blog led me to this post. Stand By Me was a good movie, and it had depth and was thought out. I think they are cinema, but taken a little to seriously.

    Liked by 1 person

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