Natalie Portman Defends Marvel Films Amid Criticism from Martin Scorsese & Francis Ford Coppola

"I think there's room for all types of cinema," said Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman is standing up for Marvel Studios.

As directors like Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola have come out against popular superhero films, Portman — who will star in the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder — had plenty to say about the value of the brand.

“I think there’s room for all types of cinema,” the actress, 38, told The Hollywood Reporter on Saturday at the Los Angeles Dance Project Gala. “There’s not one way to make art.”

“I think that Marvel films are so popular because they’re really entertaining and people desire entertainment when they have their special time after work, after dealing with their hardships in real life,” she added.

Debate over Marvel blockbusters started when Scorsese, 76, gave his honest opinion of the studio’s output earlier this month, saying the films are “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,” he said in an interview with Empire via The Guardian. “It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.”

Martin Scorsese, Natalie Portman, Francis Ford Coppola
Rob Kim/Getty; Andreas Rentz/Getty; Stephane Cardinale/Corbis via Getty

Over the weekend, Coppola added his voice to the conversation as he took Scorsese’s side.

“When Martin Scorsese says that the Marvel pictures are not cinema, he’s right because we expect to learn something from cinema, we expect to gain something, some enlightenment, some knowledge, some inspiration,” The Godfather director, 80, told journalists after accepting the Prix Lumiere in France, according to the AFP.

“I don’t know that anyone gets anything out of seeing the same movie over and over again,” he continued. “Martin was kind when he said it’s not cinema. He didn’t say it’s despicable, which I just say it is.”

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James Gunn, the director and writer behind the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, released a lengthy statement on Sunday, noting that Coppola’s comments were an example of the pushback newer genres of film have always received from older generations over the years.

“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,” he wrote. “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,” he continued.”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.”

Chris Pratt and Rocket (Bradley Cooper) in Guardians of the Galaxy 2.

James Gunn had previously shared that while he was “saddened” by Scorsese’s remarks, he still had respect for the filmmaker.

“Martin Scorsese is one of my 5 favorite living filmmakers. I was outraged when people picketed The Last Temptation of Christ without having seen the film. I’m saddened that he’s now judging my films in the same way,” he tweeted. “That said, I will always love Scorsese, be grateful for his contribution to cinema, and can’t wait to see The Irishman.”

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