Back in 2019, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Martin Scorsese came under fire for remarks he made about Marvel Studios during an interview with Empire Magazine. During the conversation, the Killers of the Flower Moon (2023) director compared MCU movies to “theme parks,” declaring them “not cinema.”

Since then, several Marvel alums, including Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth, have responded to Scorsese’s comments, with some understanding the filmmakers’ point of view, while others called his statements “super depressing.” But now that the dust has settled on whether Marvel blockbusters are considered “real cinema,” it seems like Loki Season 2 might be stirring the pot once again.

Credit: Marvel Studios

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Marvel’s fan-favorite God of Mischief is back for more time-traveling antics and Multiversal shenanigans in Season 2 of the Disney+ Loki show, which premiered on the streaming platform earlier this month. The Tom Hiddleston-fronted series sees many familiar faces reprising their roles, including Owen Wilson’s TVA Agent Mobius M. Mobius, Sophia Di Martino’s Sylvie, and Jonathan Majors’ Kang the Conqueror/He Who Remains, among others.

This season, the all-star returning cast is joined by franchise newcomers like Oscar-winner Ke Huy Quan, who plays the TVA’s go-to maintenance and repairs guru, O.B., and Rafael Casal, who plays Hunter X-5 and his Sacred Timeline alter-ego, movie star Brad Wolfe.

Credit: Marvel Studios

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So far, Loki is only two episodes into its sophomore season, but with the Multiverse at risk and Kang variant Victor Timely’s debut on the not-so-distant horizon, the stakes have never been higher for the Asgardian trickster and his allies.

Still, last week’s episode, titled “Breaking Brad,” — a not-so-subtle nod to the hit Netflix show, Breaking Bad — took some time to drive home the comedy while also laying the foundation for the remainder of the season. Picking up immediately after Loki and Mobius’ daring mission to fix the Temporal Loom in Episode 1, our heroes travel back in time to 1977, where Brad is celebrating the premiere of his latest release, Zaniac, before the duo captures him and takes him back to the TVA.

Credit: Marvel Studios

We get to see Mobius and Loki playing “good cop, bad cop” while interrogating Brad on Sylvie’s whereabouts after Hunter X-5 went rogue and discovered his identity on the Sacred Timeline as a famous film star, which puts his current life as a TVA operative to shame. He eventually caves into Loki and Mobius’ torture techniques, pointing them in the direction of Sylvie, now a McDonald’s employee living in Broxton, Oklahoma.

The newly-reunited trio then portals back to the TVA when news of an all-out war against the branched timeline, helmed by General Dox (Kate Dickie), breaks, but our heroes are too late — billions of lives have been pruned in the wide-scale attack, leaving Loki, Mobius, O.B., and the rest of the TVA to mourn the destruction of innocent universes.

Credit: Marvel Studios

But oddly enough, it wasn’t the episode’s dramatic cliffhanger ending that had fans raising eyebrows; rather, a blink-and-you-‘ll-miss-it line from the Zaniac premiere, which seemed to reference Scorsese’s scathing assessment of Marvel movies.

You see, after Hunter X-5 is revealed to be actor Brad Wolfe, he refers to his new movie as “cinema” and an “elevated thriller” when Mobius asks him about Zaniac‘s genre. Ring any bells? While it might not seem like little more than a throwaway line on the surface, the use of the word “cinema” seems to be a subtle jab at Scorsese deeming Marvel movies “not cinema,” especially considering that Zaniac doesn’t exactly look like a dense, hard-hitting drama.

Credit: Marvel Studios

But according to director Dan Deleeuw, this line wasn’t actually in the script and was instead partially improvised by Rafael Casal — if he’s to be believed. While chatting with ComicBook, the outlet asked if Brad’s review of Zaniac was a deliberate nod to Scorsese, to which he explained Mobius’ motivations when interrogating Brad, with the director giving the actors “the entire day to play” with the scene:

I love that it was an elevated thriller. That’s what happens, in all honesty, that’s what happens. We had where we needed to go in the script, we had to know that Mobius figures out that why is Brad acting so jumpy? But we had Owen [Wilson] and Rafael [Casal] there that day and were shooting that scene last, and they had the entire day to play.

Credit: Marvel Studios

Continuing to dodge the original question, Deleeuw detailed how he ended up with the final take featured in Loki, after he encouraged Wilson and Casel to “amp it up” and “tag team” off of each other during the shoot:

So I had first take, I’m like, ‘Alright, let’s do it straight. Let’s do what we talked about. Then the second take, ‘Let’s amp it up.’ And then the third take, I was like, ‘Alright, go for it.’ And it was just Owen and Rafael just tag teaming off each other, and the cut that’s in there now is with one little trim is, the two of them just running…[it’s] just the beauty of having two geniuses and two writers on your show.

While resurfacing some of the Scorsese-related Marvel drama probably wasn’t part of Deleeuw’s master plan for Loki Season 2, Episode 2, it’s a surprise that the legendary director hasn’t come under fire in superhero movies and TV shows more often. Plus, a show like Loki would be the perfect opportunity for Marvel to poke fun at the whole incident.

Credit: Marvel Studios

For now, it seems like Brad’s comment about “cinema” in the latest episode of Loki was nothing more than a bit of improv, with the actor flexing his acting chops while alternating between the hardheaded Hunter X-5 and his flashy movie star persona. But it’ll be interesting to hear if Casel has a different perspective on his quip once the SAG-AFTRA strike ends and the stars of Loki can share more behind-the-scenes details from the production.

New episodes of Loki arrive on Disney+ on Thursdays at 6 p.m. PT.

Do you think Brad Wolfe’s “cinema” line was a subtle jab at Martin Scorsese? How are you liking the new batch of Loki episodes so far? Let us know in the comments below.

 After making headlines for his scathing review of #Marvel Studios, #Loki Season 2 is bringing the #MartinScorsese drama back to the surface.  Read More