‘Zounds!’ the Internet said. ‘Martin Scorsese doesn’t like Marvel movies?’ Cue the outrage, cue the hot takes, and scene. Congratulations, you think Martin Scorsese hates the MCU and you’ve completely missed the point. Here’s a clue: Scorsese doesn’t care about the MCU. He cares about publicity for an upcoming film. That’s why he’s, and brilliantly I might add, pulling the Great Social Media Switcheroo on all of the Internet.
Every time he’s mentioned in the news, they mention his film coming out in the month. Scorsese just scored a billion dollars’ worth of free publicity, and you helped him do it.
Kudos to the old guy, still taking us to school after fifty years. His body of work spans the entire spectrum of film-making, which it might seem almost plausible for him to wax poetic about the quality of movies these days. Why not? ‘Cranky old man complains about the next generation’ is a simple news cycle trope, and let’s face it, social media buzz is driven by outrage. If I know this, you have to imagine that he knows this.
So put yourself in Scorsese’s chair: you have a movie coming out and you want to generate as much buzz as you can. What do you do? Nobody seems to care about the true-life history of your next project, so don’t focus on that.
Instead, you focus on what people do know about: Superhero movies. Come up with a controversial opinion about Superhero movies that these J-school graduates writing your PR fluff pieces will salivate over. In every article they write, they’ll include the magic words: “That said, I will always love Scorsese, be grateful for his contribution to cinema, and can’t wait to see The Irishman.”
Game, set, match.
Forget the actual discussion. Nobody cares if Martin Scorsese like’s the MCU. You didn’t check in with him for permission before you watched Infinity War, why do you care now?
I’m going to make a prediction here and we’ll see if I’m write in about forty-five days. Scorsese is going to ride the wave of this topic until two weeks before his movie comes out (around Thanksgiving). Then, about that time, he’s going to go on an ‘Apology Tour,’ talking about how he’s had a change of heart.
Boom, Scorsese’s back in the news again, and so is his movie. He rides the wave of contrition around the world – his new movie front and center the entire time. By the time we land on Opening Day, Netflix and Scorsese will be laughing all the way to the bank.
Now, here’s another thing. I don’t personally care. Scorsese wants to use the purpose-built outrage machine to sell his work, who am I to argue. After all, I’m in the same game but at a much lower level.
That in and of itself creates it’s own challenges. Of course I want people to discover Mesh, but I’m really conscious about remaining authentic to myself and my readers. How do I sell my book without selling my soul? I’m still working to crack that nut, and I use moments like these to help me figure out what the right answer is.
In the meantime, this is the reason I’m not really listening to the discussion. I don’t care if Martin Scorsese likes Marvel movies, I have my own problems with them as it is. What I do care about is making and creating. Let the haters hate, our job is to create.