Tom Holland Disagrees with Martin Scorsese's Assessment of Superhero Films: 'He's Never Made One'

Tom Holland said big-budget superhero films and "Oscar movies" are "all the same, just done on a different scale"

Tom Holland Martin Scorsese
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Tom Holland and Martin Scorsese don't see eye to eye on superhero filmmaking.

Holland, who currently stars in Marvel and Sony's Spider-Man: No Way Home, recently shared his thoughts on the Oscar-winning director's critical assessments of the genre, disagreeing wholeheartedly in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. (Scorsese, 79, once infamously lambasted superhero movies as "not cinema" in his opinion.)

"You can ask Scorsese, 'Would you want to make a Marvel movie?' but he doesn't know what it's like because he's never made one," said Holland, 25, who has also starred in movies like The Impossible and The Devil All the Time.

"I've made Marvel movies and I've also made movies that have been in the conversation in the world of the Oscars, and the only difference, really, is one is much more expensive than the other," he continued. "But the way I break down the character, the way the director etches out the arc of the story and characters — it's all the same, just done on a different scale. So I do think they're real art."

Sony Pictures’ “Spider-Man: No Way Home” Los Angeles Premiere – Arrivals
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Holland added that his Avengers costars would back him up.

"When you're making these films, you know that good or bad, millions of people will see them," he explained, "whereas when you're making a small indie film, if it's not very good no one will watch it, so it comes with different levels of pressure."

"I mean, you can also ask Benedict Cumberbatch or Robert Downey Jr. or Scarlett Johansson — people who have made the kinds of movies that are 'Oscar-worthy' and also made superhero movies — and they will tell you that they're the same, just on a different scale."

Adding in one more difference between the two types of movies, he joked, "and there's less Spandex in 'Oscar movies.' "

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Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige also told THR in the interview that he hopes award-granting bodies like the Academy Awards realize the "artistry that goes into storytelling that connects with a wide range of people on a very emotional level" with popular blockbusters.

"I think both of these types of films deserve recognition," he said. "It's a good thing when people are in a theater and they stand up and cheer. It's a good thing when people are wiping tears because they're thinking back on their last 20 years of moviegoing and what it has meant to them. That, to me, is a very good thing — the sort of thing the Academy was founded, back in the day, to recognize."

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Back in 2019, Scorsese opened up to Empire about his feelings on superhero movies dominating the box office. "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 at the time.

"It isn't the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being," he added.

A month later, Scorsese wrote an op-ed for The New York Times further explaining and clarifying his standpoint.

"Some people seem to have seized on the last part of my answer as insulting, or as evidence of hatred for Marvel on my part. If anyone is intent on characterizing my words in that light, there's nothing I can do to stand in the way," he wrote. "Many franchise films are made by people of considerable talent and artistry. You can see it on the screen. The fact that the films themselves don't interest me is a matter of personal taste and temperament."

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