James Gunn has branded Martin Scorsese's criticism of Marvel movies as "awful cynical".
The legendary director hit out at the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) two years ago and suggested that the films are "amusement parks" rather than serious cinema but James has accused the filmmaker of making the comments to generate publicity for his crime epic The Irishman.
Speaking on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, James said: "It just seems awful cynical that he kept coming out against Marvel, and that's the only thing that would get him press for his movie, so then he just kept coming out against Marvel so that he could get press for his movie.
"So he's creating his movie in the shadow of the Marvel films, and so he uses that to get attention for something that he wasn't getting as much attention as he wanted for it."
While the Guardians of the Galaxy director was angered by Scorsese's comments about Marvel, James admits that the Cape Fear director got a lot right about the film industry.
He explained: "(Scorsese's) one of the greatest filmmakers who's ever existed. I love his movies. I can watch his movies with no problem. And he said a lot of things that I agree with. There is a lot of things that are true about what he said.
"There are a lot of heartless, soulless spectacle films out there that don't reflect what should be happening."
Scorsese previously warned against comic book blockbusters "invading" the world of film.
The director said: "The value of a film that's like a theme park film, for example, the Marvel type pictures where the theatres become amusement parks, that's a different experience.
"As I was saying earlier, it's not cinema, it's something else. Whether you go for that or not, it is something else and we shouldn't be invaded by it.
"And so that's a big issue, and we need the theatre owners to step up for that to allow theatres to show films that are narrative films."