Director James Gunn Says Current Superhero Films are “Boring”

 

In an interview with the Irish Times, the controversial film director who helmed Guardians of the Galaxy and now has the newly debuted Suicide Squad sequel to his credits, is telling everybody he’s not impressed with the latest slate of superhero fare:

 

“We know about the way cowboy films went, and the way war films went,” says Gunn. “I don’t know, I think you don’t have to be a genius to put two and two together and see that there’s a cycle to those sorts of films, you know and that the only hope for the future of the comic book and superhero films is to change them up. They’re really dumb. And they’re mostly boring for me right now.

 

This coming from somebody who, if memory serves, was to direct a live action Scooby Doo film? Now he tells us! In that case, why didn’t he seek out the kind of stuff Martin Scorsese specialized in for many years? It just doesn’t make sense. Gunn continues to explain:

 

“I loved them at the beginning. I was really excited when they first started making those movies. It was about the visual effects when I saw Superman as a kid. I still love that movie. Okay, I know, that’s a guy on wires and bluescreen with this sort of crappy visual effects. And then when Iron Man came out, I was in. You’re able to make a guy fly around who looks like a guy flying around. And that was a beautiful thing to be able to do. But if the movies don’t change, it’s gonna get really, really boring.

I was always influenced by Dave Gibbons art and Alan Moore’s Watchmen where the costumes didn’t fit the superheroes perfectly, and they had a little bit of a paunch. They weren’t all perfect bodies; they weren’t all beautiful. When they fought, they were kind of getting in the stupid Bartleby thing of getting into bar fights. There are people trying to do some different things with superheroes. So it’s not it’s not 100 per cent a rule that everybody isn’t, but a lot of superhero films are boring. And so for me, I think it’s just about bringing in other elements.”

 

So Gunn was influenced by – surprise, surprise – darkness embodied by projects like the Watchmen. And that’s been the problem with Hollywood’s PC crowd for years (same with special effects, while performance merit is less their concern). It practically affected 2013’s Man of Steel movie. And it goes without saying such directions are unhealthy in the long run. Mainly because it’s gotten to the point where villains are seen as “more interesting”:

 

“The adventure was so broad and so big. And to be able to bring that into the modern day with a studio and to build the biggest set that was ever built before. And we’re using more practical special effects than we’ve ever used in any movie. And to be able to really build this spectacle war film, having Super Villains as the protagonists gave me a great excuse to be able to create a film in the genre I’ve loved since I was a little kid, and to do it a big huge way, and not have to hold back in any respect. It just makes it more fun to shoot when I’m actually blowing things up as opposed to having silly looking CGI explosions.”

 

If this includes putting villains in romantic and sexual relations that’re less chaste than what a superhero might be seen in today, that only makes this whole issue a lot more irritating. Because it proves the whole argument heroes shouldn’t be seen as perfect was a lie. These kind of PC advocates can say what they like, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out they never appreciated Stan Lee’s methods either.

 

The paper brought up Gunn’s offensive jokes a decade ago on Twitter, and wouldn’t you know it, they’re predictably lenient:

 

In 2018, it briefly looked as if James Gunn had been – to use a thoroughly 21st century term – cancelled. When years-old tweets in which Gunn joked about pedophilia and rape emerged, Disney promptly fired the director from such Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3 for attitudes deemed “…indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values,” as Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn had it.

Gunn, in turn, characterised himself “… a provocateur, making movies and telling jokes that were outrageous and taboo. As I have discussed publicly many times, as I’ve developed as a person, so has my work and my humour.”

It was a complicated controversy for many cancel culture enthusiasts. Gunn’s long-forgotten tweets were dusted down by the Trumpian Daily Caller website in response to the director’s ongoing critique of the former 45th POTUS. “We’re in a national crisis with an incompetent president forging a full-blown attack on facts and journalism in the style of Hitler and Putin,” tweeted Gunn in 2017.

Hollywood chums rallied. Stars from the first two films cried out for Gunn to return to the franchise including Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, and Chris Pratt. Dave Bautista said he wouldn’t return unless Gunn was reinstated. The filmmaker has subsequently been rehired by Disney to helm Guardians 3, due in 2023. One senses he’s only half-joking when he says The Suicide Squad is about politics.

 

So their excuse to forgive Gunn is that the Sherlocks who dug up his abominable jokes were just a bunch of right-wingers, huh? Pathetic. Problems won’t be solved this way, and the film cast’s defenses for Gunn are exactly why I’d rather not spend money on those films. But of course he couldn’t be joking about politics. At the end:

 

“I mean, this is about a little bit about the United States,” he says. “And it’s about the way we treat human beings. And that’s a part of what The Suicide Squad was from the beginning. And it’s a little bit about how we treat other countries as well as ourselves.

“And, then there’s the politics of the film in terms of the character of Bloodsport and what it means to be a man, you know? What is toxic masculinity? How is he able to survive this life when he has been taught by a father who was the worst person alive? And now he is around incredibly powerful people of different genders. It makes a difference.”

 

Given his leanings and mindset, it’s chilling to wonder if Gunn could be sympathetic to some really bad sources like totalitarian Islamic countries, which would make his comment about “toxic masculinity” pretty ironic. So many of these major releases now have become disturbingly “woke”, it’s ill-advised to plunk money into the ticket booth now.

 

 

Since 2013’s Man of Steel was mentioned, further confirmation’s come up that Henry Cavill is unlikely to return to the Superman role:

 

Warner Bros. has yet to comment regarding the matter but if it’s true that Cavill is actually not contracted for any DC Film, then it must truly mean that he is out of the picture as Superman. If that’s the case, then it continues to prove that the studio doesn’t know what to do with the DCEU which quite frankly has become a giant mess since the Justice League issue was made public. Sure, it’s not too late for them to turn things around but losing their flagship actor isn’t a step in the right direction.

 

Well they’ve been going the SJW route with Superman, hiring a far-left screenwriter pretty much based on his political perspective, and that doesn’t give confidence they’re interested in a healthy film development. Even a near decade ago, it was politically correct to make the Man of Steel’s vision noticeably darker than previous efforts, and if that’s where they were going then, I hesitate to think what could be in store now. And to think, that in contrast to at least 3 recent Batman solo films, there’d be only one solo outing for the Man of Steel? If that’s not a sign of artistic bankruptcy and bias, I don’t know what is. Frankly, I don’t think the modern DC cinematic franchise was ever handled well if this was all it amounted to.

 

But what’s funny when you think about it is that, if Gunn wants superhero movies to change, well that’s just what they did: to darker and more grisly, if we take DC’s movies as examples. And he somehow didn’t notice? Weird.

 

Originally published here.

Avi Green

Avi Green was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. He enjoyed reading comics when he was young, the first being Fantastic Four. He maintains a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy of facts. He considers himself a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. Follow him on his blog at Four Color Media Monitor or on Twitter at @avigreen1

JUST KEEPING THE LIGHTS ON