By James Hibberd
October 08, 2019 at 10:10 AM EDT

The Avengers continue to assemble in the wake of legendary director Martin Scorsese’s comments about Marvel movies.

Now it’s Robert Downey Jr.’s turn to defend the blockbuster franchise.

The former Iron Man was chatting with Howard Stern on Monday when the actor himself brought up the director’s “not cinema” diss.

“I didn’t expect it to become what it became and it is this very large multi-headed hydra at this point,” Downey Jr. said about the franchise. “I’ve always had other interests. And according to Scorsese, it’s ‘not cinema,’ I gotta take a look at that.”

Stern interjected: “But it is cinema isn’t it?”

“Well, it plays in theaters,” Downey Jr. said.

Stern asked: “But what did he mean by that?”

“I appreciate his opinion because we can come to center and move on,” Downey Jr. said.

Stern pressed: “But were you insulted when he said it’s not cinema?”

“Well, look, it’s like saying ‘Howard Stern isn’t radio,’ it makes no sense to say it.”

Stern: “Was he jealous of the success?”

“Of course not. He’s Martin Scorsese.”

Stern: “Then what did he mean by that?”

“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 part of the problem if there is one — denigrated the art form of cinema,” Downey Jr. said. “When you come in like a stomping beast and you eliminate the competition in such a demonstrative way, it’s phenomenal.”

The chat follows Avengers franchise star Samuel L. Jackson also commenting on the matter. “That’s kind of like saying Bugs Bunny ain’t funny,” Jackson said. “Films are films. You know, everybody doesn’t like his stuff either. I mean, we happen to, but everybody doesn’t. There are a lot of Italian-Americans that don’t think he should be making films about them like that. Everybody’s got an opinion, so it’s okay. It’s not going to stop anyone from making movies.”

Marvel directors James Gunn and Joss Whedon have also defended Marvel movies in the wake of the famed director’s comments.

Related:
Which Marvel movie does Martin Scorsese probably hate the least? An EW investigation
Joss Whedon, James Gunn react to Martin Scorsese criticizing Marvel movies

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