Marvel movie stars Natalie Portman and Sebastian Stan have responded after director Francis Ford Coppola called the superhero films "despicable".

Just weeks after fellow filmmaker Martin Scorsese labelled films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) "not cinema", The Godfather director defended his peer as he added: "Martin was kind when he said it's not cinema. He didn't say it's despicable, which I just say it is."

Speaking to journalists in France as he was awarded the Prix Lumiere for his contribution to cinema, Coppola added that he thinks moviegoers need to learn something from what they see on screen.

"We expect to learn something from cinema, we expect to gain something, some enlightenment, some knowledge, some inspiration. I don't know that anyone gets anything out of seeing the same movie over and over again," he explained.

Portman addressed the remark as she attended the L.A. Dance Project gala in Los Angeles on Saturday night, telling Variety: "I think there's room for all types of cinema. There's not one way to make art."

The actress played Jane Foster in 2011's Thor and sequel The Dark World in 2013, and will be starring opposite Chris Hemsworth once again in the upcoming Thor: Love And Thunder.

Meanwhile, Stan, who is most famous for playing James 'Bucky' Barnes/Winter Soldier in the films, also hit back at Coppola's comments as he took part in a panel discussion during the 2019 Fandemic Tour on Sunday in Houston, Texas.

"He's (Coppola) one of my heroes and I was listening to him and meanwhile, I just spent the day with all of you," he said. "People have been going up to me like, 'Thank you so much for this character,' 'This movie helped me out so much,' 'This movie inspired me. Now I feel better. Now I feel less alone,' so how can you say these movies are not helping people?"