The lauded director has come under fire for proclaiming that action-packed superhero flicks are 'not cinema.'
Thank goodness Mark Ruffalo is much more even-tempered than his big, green onscreen alter ego.
The actor presented Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige and VP of Film Production Victoria Alonso with the Hollywood Blockbuster Award at the 23rd annual Hollywood Film Awards on Sunday, in honor of Avengers: Endgame's massive success. In his introduction, Ruffalo -- who starred as Bruce Banner, aka The Hulk, over the last decade of the Marvel Cinematic Universe -- made a pointed reference to Martin Scorsese's recent controversial comments about superhero films, which he said were "not cinema," comparing the popular movies to onscreen "theme parks."
"What really speaks to people about these movies, I think, is the heart and humanity of characters," Ruffalo told the crowd at the awards show. "That's what makes Avengers: Endgame so powerful to witness -- these characters that care about and reckon with the world around them... to watch them struggle and survive and sometimes even say goodbye. That's what makes it cinema."
Backstage, Ruffalo, Feige and Alonso spoke with ET's Lauren Zima, where they further addressed the legendary director's indictment of their work.
"I've worked with Marty. I love Marty," Ruffalo explained. "I hope he gets to see the film one day because so many of us as filmmakers have really actually stolen from him and learned so much from him. I think if he sees it, he'll see what a kind of homage it is to the cinema that he's created in the past."
"There's a great amount of respect we have for him as a filmmaker and we work really hard to make movies for everyone," Alonso agreed. "We will work even harder. Maybe someday he'll like what we do."
For his part, Scorsese stood by his comments when he spoke with ET at the premiere of his new film, The Irishman, last month.
"Well, look, the point is, in terms of this film, Netflix, theaters, what I'm talking about really are films that are made," he began. "Let's say a family wants to go to an amusement park, that's a good thing, you know. And at themes and parks, there's these cinematic expressions. They're a new art form. It's something different from films that are shown normally in theaters, that's all."
"For them, my concern is losing the screens to massive theme-park films, which I say again, they're [their] own new art form," Scorsese continued. "Cinema now is changing. We have so many venues, there are so many ways to make films. So enjoyable. Fine, go and it's an event and it's great to go to an event like an amusement park, but don't crowd out Greta Gerwig and don't crowd out Paul Thomas Anderson and Noah Baumbach and those people, just don't, in terms of theaters."
Like it or not, there are plenty of Marvel movies still to be made. While Endgame served as a denouement for many of the MCU's major characters, there's a new phase coming, full of unexplored heroes and continuing stories. "We're into it as we speak," Feige noted. "One [film] is in post, one's shooting, two others start next week. It's gonna be an amazing future."
As for the OG Avengers -- Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth and Jeremy Renner -- they're of course still in touch, via an extensive group text, according to Ruffalo. "We're like, 'We miss you, when are we getting back together? Where should we meet?'"
And he's not ruling out a return as the Big Green Guy in future films. "I'd like to see him hang out with some of the new folks, maybe be like a guru to some of the new [heroes], the younger ones, you know?"
See more about Marvel's upcoming Phase 4 in the video below.