The Killers Of The Flower Moon director famously shared his belief in 2019 that superhero movies are “not cinema”. After being slammed on social media by ardent Marvel fans for his opinion, he can now add Avengers director Joe Russo to his list of apparent critics.
Russo, who co-directed both 2018′s Infinity War and 2019′s Endgame, the two highest-grossing Avengers films, posted a video on Instagram on Friday to boast about his success — and mock Scorsese’s accomplishments.
“Aw look, he’s got a schnauzer! I love schnauzers. And his name is Oscar. That’s really cute,” said Russo in the video following spliced-in footage of Scorsese with his dog, the aptly named Oscar, before Russo addressed his own dog. “OK, come on, Box Office.”
Russo, who has 2.9 million Instagram followers, received 35,000 likes for the post.
This entire discourse was spawned from a mere opinion Scorsese shared in 2019, when he told Empire magazine of Marvel films: “I don’t see them. I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema.”
“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,” he added.
“It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.”
The Instagram video landed the scorn of film critics, cinephiles and Scorsese fans, who argued Russo’s record-breaking box office numbers were a reflection of Marvel’s popularity — and not his directorial skills.
“Scorsese used his clout to cash his biggest check and make a jeremiad work on America’s founding sin and the bottomless pit of human sin,” wrote director Adam Piron on X, formerly Twitter. “Joe Russo used his success to frame a shot from inside Tom Holland’s anus.”
Jake Cole, a writer at Slant and member of the Atlanta Film Critics Circle, went even further.
“I could only watch a few seconds of that Joe Russo video bc it was so cringe so I just now found out he ends up bragging about [box office] which is pretty bold considering everything he makes that isn’t an IP delivery service is a money pit ... harming actors,” he said on X.
Russo’s video arrived during Scorsese’s candid press run for Killers, an epic crime drama about the Osage Nation murders in 1920s Oklahoma, in which he publicly reflected on his own mortality. The $200 million (£164 million) movie has only made $85 million (£70 million) since opening on 20 October.
Scorsese has long expressed distaste for box office bragging rights. He apparently spends his spare time working on film restoration and starring in TikTok videos with his daughter, Francesca, whose footage Russo used for his video.