At long last, we have reached the Avengers: Endgame phase of the "superhero movies are not cinema" controversy started by Martin Scorsese back in October. The directors themselves, the Russo Brothers, have finally weighed in on the matter in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporterin support of their new film 21 Bridges. Joe Russo replied to the issue matter-of-factly:

“Ultimately, we define cinema as a film that can bring people together to have a shared, emotional experience … But, at the end of the day, what do we know? We’re just two guys from Cleveland, Ohio, and ‘cinema’ is a New York word. In Cleveland, we call them movies.”

The debacle has been sparking involvement from several filmmakers— including Jordan Peele, Adam McKay, and Kevin Feige— who have taken various forms of the stance that it’s unfair to judge what type of movie qualifies as "cinema". The carefully-chosen language of the Russo Brothers’ response indicates they took Scorsese’s initial words to heart— their use of the phrase "shared emotional experience" calls back to Scorsese's qualm that Marvel movies weren't able to "convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being." But at the end of the day, this long-running debate hasn't stopped Avengers: Endgame becoming the highest grossing movie of all time.

Anthony Russo basically shut down the argument with the statement: "Nobody owns cinema. We don’t own cinema. You don’t own cinema. Scorsese doesn’t own cinema." If you’ve been eagerly looking forward to each installment in this auteur vs. blockbuster drama-fest, you might feel a little disappointment to see it come to a close. Who knows, maybe this whole dispute will inspire its own movie. If that were to happen, would that movie be considered "cinema" or not? That’s pretty meta.

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