Breaking News
More () »

Cleveland's Russo brothers respond to Martin Scorsese's criticism of Marvel films

Scorsese said Marvel films are 'not cinema', to which the Russo brothers said, 'Nobody owns cinema.'
Credit: Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP
Joe Russo, left, and Anthony Russo participate in a conversation with the Russo Brothers on day two of Comic-Con International on Friday, July 19, 2019, in San Diego. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

Joe and Anthony Russo are the masterminds behind some of Hollywood's biggest box office hits.

The Cleveland natives have directed some of the highest grossing films in history, such as "Avengers: Endgame" and "Avengers: Infinity War." But despite their success, the brothers have still been a target of criticism from their Hollywood peers.

According to Hollywood Reporter, the Russo brothers finally spoke out on criticism they received from fellow filmmaker Martin Scorsese last month. 

Scorsese didn't have high praise for Marvel movies when asked about them during an interview with "Empire," comparing the films to a visit at a theme park.

"I don’t see them," Scorsese said. "I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema. Honestly, the closest I can think of them, as well-made as they are, with actors doing the best they can under the circumstances, is theme parks. It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being." 

"Guardians of the Galaxy" director James Gunn turned to Twitter to express his disappointment in Scorsese's remarks.

But the Russo brothers remained mum on the subject until recently, telling Hollywood Reporter they define cinematic success differently.

"Ultimately, we define cinema as a film that can bring people together to have a shared, emotional experience," Joe Russo told "Hollywood Reporter" on Sunday. "When we look at the box office [of] Avengers: Endgame, we don't see that as a signifier of financial success, we see it as a signifier of emotional success. It's a movie that had an unprecedented impact on audiences around the world in the way that they shared that narrative and the way that they experienced it, and the emotions they felt watching it." 

Anthony Russo added, "The other way to think about it, too, is nobody owns cinema. We don't own cinema. You don't own cinema. Scorsese doesn't own cinema." 

Scorsese followed up his initial remarks with an op-ed in "The New York Times", writing, "In the past 20 years, as we all know, the movie business has changed on all fronts. But the most ominous change has happened stealthily and under cover of night: the gradual but steady elimination of risk. Many films today are perfect products manufactured for immediate consumption. Many of them are well made by teams of talented individuals. All the same, they lack something essential to cinema: the unifying vision of an individual artist. Because, of course, the individual artist is the riskiest factor of all."

Scorsese also wrote that streaming channels like Netflix and Hulu have changed the game for movies, as filmmakers battle for attention on the big screen. His own Netflix film, "The Irishman" starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, debuts Nov. 27.

Meanwhile, the Russo brothers have been in Cleveland recently for the filming of "Cherry", their latest production starring Tom Holland.

RELATED: Northeast Ohio shows support for filming of Russo brothers’ movie 'Cherry'

"But, at the end of the day, what do we know?" Joe Russo added Sunday. "We're just two guys from Cleveland, Ohio, and cinema is a New York word. In Cleveland, we call them movies."

RELATED: 'Spider-Man' star Tom Holland spotted with director Joe Russo at Mansfield Reformatory and Ghoul Bros. haunted house in Akron

Before You Leave, Check This Out