Can Superhero Movies Be Considered Cinema?



Aaaahhh! Special effects in movies! Can we live without them? Personally, I think that there are some of them which I absolutely adore, and find that the movie would certainly not have had the same impact if it did not have them.


But there are exceptions, of course.  There are some which I am certainly not fond of.

Martin Scorsese, the Oscar-winning filmmaker we all know, gave an interview to Empire in October 2019. He was promoting his new movie, The Irishman, starring Al Pacino and Robert de Niro. Remember them?

Hollywood Land

The last time we saw them together, was in heat, a 1995 film directed by Michael Mann. You will be able to watch The Irishman on Netflix as from November 27th, 2019.  Personally, I am very excited!  But moving on swiftly back to the topic.

Ok, so, while chatting, Martin shared his view on the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Let’s talk about that!

Martin Scorsese and Marvel Movies

To sum up, Martin Scorsese thinks that movie theaters have become amusement parks. He tried to watch MCU films, ‘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‘.

In his opinion, ‘it isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being‘.  My understanding of that statement is that he is opposing narrative films to special effects movies because it no longer allows the viewer or cinema goer to bond or empathise with the characters on screen.

Cinema Screen

According to Francis Ford Coppola, marvel movies are ‘despicable‘. Well, what is cinema, then, and should we – as an audience – really be told what we should like and what we should not like, just because a “name” has told us so ?

What is Cinema?

It is what you want it to be, if you ask me. It is the art of moving images. It is a visual medium that tells stories and exposes reality as seen by the filmmaker. Scriptwriting, set design and editing are the norm.

In 2019, motion picture can be defined as the art of colorful moving images enhanced by voices, sounds and music, still telling stories, still entertaining and still selling popcorn, which raises the question: is cinema an art or a business?

Capital Theatre

Well, my answer will sound very consensual, I’m afraid. Filmmaking is an artistic expression and a huge business. And there is nothing wrong with that. All tastes are in nature. Your cup of tea might be indie movies, horror movies, spoofs and/or superhero movies. There has to be every genre for everybody.

In the process, everybody hopes for the best, from the producer who might earn millions of dollar for each movie produced, to the gaffer who might be fired any minute. Whether it expresses an artistic view or not, cinema is an industry, like some hospitals are. It is what it is.

Special Effects in Movies: The Art of Chroma Keying

There is nothing wrong with discovering a bit of science behind superheroes when you watch a Marvel movie. Between superhero movies and superhero comic books, I prefer the latter. In saying this, in terms of superheroes, I prefer anti-heroes like Transmetropolitan or Preacher.

Special effects in movies do not bother me, as long as there is a scenario. A succession of explosions is boring. Some special effects are truly spectacular, others are nonsense.


In any case, I will always be amazed at how actors and actresses manage to act in front of a green screen. What am I talking about? About chroma key compositing, which is the technique of layering 2 images based on color hues.

After Martin Scorsese, Friends actress Jennifer Aniston, said in an interview with Variety,  that she was not interested in living in a green screen. I get it, but, as an actor and as an actress, something tells me that it must be complicated to look natural when acting in front or behind or next to a green screen.

It seems very difficult to me and I would never think of expressing any contempt towards such a performance. Yes, to me, it is a performance.

My Opinion on Superhero Movies

I adored the Iron Man trilogy. I loved Deadpool, but I was very disappointed in Deadpool 2. I dread Deadpool 3. MCU now wants to produce 4 to 5 films per year. Well, quality matters to me.

Between the movies and the TV series, I’m afraid to lose the plot, I confess. But what matters most to me is that no one can tell me what cinema is. The feelings of a well-known director is not the law. He is entitled to his opinion and I am glad he expressed it. I am entitled to mine.

Globally, I am not a huge fan of superhero movies. They disappoint me 90% of the time. I prefer movies like The Station Agent, or Japanese Story. But, as I said, I absolutely adored the 3 episodes of Iron Man. I am a huge admirer of Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr.

Roxy Cinema

On the other hand, it is a pleasure to see my nephew – his name is Antonin – watch every movie of the Star wars franchise and then, in front of an ice cream, to listen to him telling me about adventures he has read on the matter, or that he has experienced through video games.

Those blockbusters can act as a dream: the viewer escapes from reality and enters a world where, in terms of magic and science-fiction, everything is possible. It lasts 2 hours and then things go back to normal. This is also what we need in life. Entertainment! And if people can make millions out of this, good for them!

Upcoming Superhero Movies

In terms of the MCU, you can read all about it here. In terms of the DC universe, let’s take a closer look. Here is a list, that still needs to be confirmed. Warning: it is endless!

  • Birds of Prey
  • Wonder Woman 1984
  • The Batman
  • The Suicide Squad 2
  • Aquaman 2
  • Untitled Black Adam movie
  • The Trench, a spinoff of Aquaman
  • The Flash
  • Shazam! 2
  • Batgirl
  • Green Lantern Corps
  • New Gods
  • Blackhawk
  • Untitled Jared Leto Joker movie
  • Untitled Joker/Harley Quinn movie
  • Supergirl
  • Nightwing
  • Justice League Dark
  • Gotham City Sirens
  • Blue Beetle
  • Plastic Man
  • Untitled Man of Steel sequel
  • Untitled Deathstroke movie
  • Untitled Lobo movie
  • Cyborg

Phew! That’s a lot! I think in terms of superhero movies, we are sorted for decades! What do you think of that? The Comment s section below is all yours!



8 thoughts on “Can Superhero Movies Be Considered Cinema?”

  1. Hello again!

    What an incredibly interesting article. I am a lover of most genres, and this certainly includes Super Hero cinema. I find it rather arrogant of Mr Scorsese to make the statement that he did. Don’t get me wrong, I think his films are truly brilliant, but, for me, that does not mean that movies , which are not directed by him, are not as good or as enjoyable as his. These “experts”, as they like to think of themselves, seem to have taken it upon themselves to tell us what we should and should not like. I have noticed that this has trickled down into various sectors. Food critics tell us where to eat, art dealers tell us what we should buy – all too pretentious for my liking. Thankfully I can make up my own mind and certainly don’t need to be told what my likes and dislikes should be. So, I will certainly (as a tribute to Mr Scorsese) be having a Super Hero binge marathon weekend starting on Saturday!

    See you again soon!

    1. Hi Renée, I so agree with you. We are individuals and what moves us is so personal. We all have a different history, or at least, a different perception of our own history. What we like and dislike are based on it. I imagine Martin Scorsese shared his view and was not trying to convince anyone that he was right. But still…

  2. Hello Anne-Sophie, I must say that this article is very helpful and informative. I am a big fan of superhero movies and I enjoyed watching them as a kid and now my son likes to watch them too. Ironman and Superman are my two favorites so far as I like their action on saving the world lol.

    1. Hi Danijel. I am glad to see that superhero movies can be seen by a dad together with his son. I think that this is vey cute and that it could be another definition of what cinema is about: sharing.

  3. Can Superhero Movies Be Considered Cinema? 🤔

    I think the definition of cinema has been rebranded from the way it used to be before. It can now be defined in any way we want. Lol.

    Green screen really amazed me the very first time I got to know about it and I must confess that movie actors are doing a great job performing in front of those screens.

  4. Ya, answer should be yes. Superhero movies can be considered as cinema these days. The meaning of some terms do change and I think the meaning of cinema has changed too.

    Some superhero movies can be really freaking annoying and disappointing as you have said. Some stuffs should not be done, but personally, these movies don’t freak me out.

    Btw, I love the look of your website.

    1. Hi Mr Biizy! I don’t think that the meaning of cinema has changed. But I think that, unfortunately, since success is measured by the results at the box-office, millions earned at the box-office imply quality. I think that’s wrong.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *