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Robert Downey Jr. Responds To Martin Scorsese's Take On Superhero Movies: 'It Plays In Theaters'

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By Lynne Versluys
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1. An Iconic Character

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The Marvel Cinematic Universe. Have you heard of it? The multi-billion dollar franchise has become something of a cultural phenomenon, and that is largely due to Robert Downey Jr.'s performance as Tony Stark. Iron Man is the foundation upon which all of this is built, and Downey helped build that from the ground up.

2. A Strong Opinion

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Marvel movies are incredibly popular, but not with legendary director Martin Scorsese. While promoting his new film The Irishman, he was asked about superheroes in cinema and had this to say:

"I don’t see them. 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."

Scorsese certainly he as right to his opinion -- if anyone can define cinema, it's Scorsese -- but this caused quite an uproar online.

3. Downey Reponds

While he was a guest on The Howard Stern Show, Stern asked Downey what he thought of Scorsese's comments, and he obviously disagreed:

"I’ll tell you the truth: I didn’t expect it to become what it became, and it is this very large, multi-headed Hydra at this point. I’ve always had other interests, and according to Scorsese, it’s not cinema. I gotta take a look at that, you know? I mean, it plays in theaters."

"I appreciate his opinion because I think it’s like anything — we need all of the different perspectives, so we can come to center and move on."

4. Driven By Jealousy?

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Stern asked if he thought that Scorsese was jealous of Marvel's success (which is honestly an insane question), which Downey brushed off.

"Of course not … In his view, and by the way, there’s a lot to be said for how these genre movies — and I was happy to be a part of the problem, if there is one — denigrated the art form [of] cinema. By the way, when you come in like a stomping beast and eliminate the competition in such a demonstrative way, it’s phenomenal."

Perhaps the best way to approach this differing of opinion is to accept that you can't please everyone, and that it's ok to like both The Departed and The Avengers.

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