Press "Enter" to skip to content

Every Martin Scorsese Movie Ranked by How True They Are to the Comics

We’re big cinephiles over here at The Hard Times, and no, we don’t just mean we like MCU movies. Our love of film goes all the way back to the origins of the medium, 1989’s “Batman.” As experts, we can assure you that Martin Scorsese’s criticisms of modern comic book movies are not only unfounded, they are downright hypocritical.

Scorsese claims that MCU films are not “cinema.” Let’s pretend for a second that such a statement is not a slanderous indictment worthy of the death penalty and compare the MCU to the thing Scorsese values above all, his own work.

We watched every one of these snoozefests, even the black and white ones (thank you Adderall) and not one of these so-called auteurs offerings is true to the comics on which films are based. Let’s break them down:

24. Shutter Island

“What if Legion didn’t have superpowers and you saw the twist coming a mile away?” Honestly, why does he bother?

23. New York, New York

He gets so wrapped up in the romance between two aspiring musicians he forgets to even introduce Marvel’s street-level heroes.

22. Gangs of New York

Thank God the Russo brothers got a crack at Marvel Civil War in 2016, because “Gangs of New York” doesn’t come close to doing the story justice. Scorsese sets the events in a completely different time period, the character changes are off the wall—Hulk is literally just a guy with a big stick—and with zero mention of the Sokovia Accords, it’s unclear why everyone is even fighting in the first place. Plus there’s sex in the movie, EEEEEWW, gross!

21. The Color of Money

Longshot is barely interesting enough to warrant his own movie, and making him all old and washed up doesn’t do the story any favors.

20. Kundun

We’re all for an origin story of The Ancient One, Stephen Strange’s Sorcerer Supreme predecessor, but this is ridiculous. Not only does Scorsese change the Ancient One’s gender to male (wrong side of history Martin!) neither he nor the other sorcerers of Kamar-Taj (renamed Tibet in the film, a way dumber name,) do not perform magic in the film! What is even the point of shaving your heads and wearing robes if you’re just going to let China push you around and not do any laser karate?! An insane take on a rich story completely unserviced.

19. Casino

How are you going to introduce Johny Storm in the first 5 minutes and then never have him use his powers for the rest of the movie? Casino is the worst Fantastic Four movie of all time, and that’s saying something!

18. Silence

Completely misunderstanding the source material on this one. Black Bolt is silent because his slightest whisper is loud enough to make mountains crumble, not because of religious devotion.

17. The Wolf of Wall Street

Scorsese’s first attempt at an Iron Man movie and not only does he radically change all of the characters, he focuses entirely on Tony Stark’s business acumen. It boggles the mind. That’s right, not once in this film does Leonardo DiCaprio’s Tony Stark (called Jordan in the film inexplicably,) build anything, don a mech suit, or even consort with the sorcerer supreme. Jonah Hill turns in a more colorful take on Happy Hogan that, while serviceable, is hampered by the script. Happy’s use of quaaludes is more interesting when it’s subtextual like in “Spiderman: Far From Home.”

16. The Aviator

Points for exploring Tony Stark’s darker side, but he spends the whole movie trying to build a plane? Tony Stark has a million planes, and he doesn’t even need them because he’s Iron Man. What a waste of time.

15. The Age of Innocence

2015’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” wasn’t perfect, but it’s a vast improvement over Scorsese’s 1993 attempt. He takes so many liberties with the story it is practically unrecognizable.

14. Bringing Out the Dead

It takes place in Hell’s Kitchen, he got that part right. Aside from that, this is simply not Daredevil. Matt Murdock (called “Frank” in the film) doesn’t become a costumed vigilante or even practice law. He drives an ambulance, and whether he is able to do so because his sonar sight is just more developed in this universe or if this version of Daredevil isn’t blind at all is never made clear through witty, reference-heavy exposition. Don’t even get us on Patricia Arquette’s Elektra, it does not work at all. Has Paul Schrader even read a comic?!

13. Hugo

How are you going to do an origin story for The Vision and not even mention the mind stone? This man has never read a comic book in his life.

12. The Irishman

As a die-hard MCU fan, the only parts of “The Irishman” that work for me are how fucked up and alienating everyone’s face looks and the needlessly long runtime.

11. Killers of the Flower Moon

Based on the main character’s baffling stupidity we’re guessing he’s supposed to be Peter Quill?

10. The Last Temptation of Christ

Scorsese seems to do some of his best work when not confined to source material. Here he takes one of Marvel’s most obscure characters, Jesus of Nazareth, and really just builds a whole world around him practically from scratch. Giving center stage to a character only briefly mentioned in Constantine and Lucifer comics was a bold, unconventional move and the payoff is huge.

9. Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

Once again Scorsese takes a perfect subject for an origin movie and completely butchers it. Whistler, Blade’s mentor, is one of the most captivating and complex background characters in all of Marvel. Omitting the inciting incident that caused him to dedicate his life to hunting vampires and focusing exclusively on his relationship with a waitress who wants to be a singer is a truly baffling choice.

8. The Departed

Winter Soldier did it better. Don’t @ me.

7. The King of Comedy

Worst. Joker. Ever. He doesn’t even kill anybody! By focusing on the clown prince of crime’s love of jokes and limiting him to just stalking, kidnapping, home invasion, and hijacking a television show Scorsese robs the character of the essential terror that makes him a true agent of chaos.

6. After Hours

While this competent, well-paced comedy is amusing and serves as a time capsule of the ’80s New York punk and art scene, it completely drops the ball in conveying the TVA’s importance within Marvel mythology. At no point is the sacred timeline even mentioned, and the only Loki variant is Cheech Marin.

5. Raging Bull

We applaud Martin Scorses for attempting a movie that covers the Incredible Hulk’s Joe Fixit era. He got a few things right here. The Hulk is indeed angry. He does talk, and he is grey in this iteration, true to the comics. Unfortunately, Scorsese didn’t stop with making the Hulk grey. EVERYTHING is grey in this movie! Not a scrap of color to be found. What movie did he think he was making, “Werewolf by Night?!” Pathetic.

4. Cape Fear

“Cape Fear” is actually a remake of the 1962 Gregory Peck/Robert Mitchum vehicle of the same name. It’s one of the few nearly undisputed cases of a remake greatly surpassing the original. That being said, would it have killed him to throw Hawkeye in there? Mr. Scorsese, do better.

3. Taxi Driver

Scorsese’s first Joker movie has the opposite problem of “The King of Comedy.” Travis Bickle is insane, menacing, and does indeed kill people, but where are the jokes? The guy isn’t even trying to be funny. “One day a real rain will come and wash all the scum away.” Okay, and? Where’s the punchline Travis? Between that and the lack of clown paint this thing is a mess.

2. Mean Streets

Of every live-action take on The Punisher, “Mean Streets” is perhaps the most ambitious. We never see him, he is in fact never mentioned in the film, but the entire movie is from his POV as he spies on some of the major players in New York’s criminal underworld, crouching in the shadows, waiting to make his move but ultimately becoming captivated by the complexity of their lives. Here Scorsese tries to make the case that the stories of regular people can be just as interesting as the stories of superheroes. That is of course categorically untrue, but an interesting experiment nonetheless.

1. Goodfellas

Aside from the insane decision to cut the final scene where Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist come and arrest everybody, this film is a masterpiece.