James Gunn Gets Opens About Superhero Movie Fatigue
The creative head of DC and director of Marvel Studio’s Guardians of the Galaxy, James Gunn, give honest opinions about the superhero fatigue debate.
Rega the ongoing discussion of whether superhero movies are becoming too numerous and repetitive, James Gunn has spoken candidly. Gunn first entered the superhero film industry as the writer and director of Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy franchise and has since become one of the most influential figures in the genre by being appointed, along with Peter Safran, as one of the top two executives at DC Studios.
With experience working for both significant superhero movie studios, Gunn has developed an informed viewpoint on the issue of superhero movie fatigue.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, James Gunn admitted that he acknowledges the existence of superhero movie fatigue but clarified that it is not caused by the mere presence of superhero films but rather by the quality of the stories being told.
Gunn emphasized the importance of having a solid emotional foundation for superhero films, stating that if the onscreen content is merely a meaningless spectacle, it can become tiresome for audiences. According to Gunn, even films featuring larger-than-life battles with iconic superheroes like Superman and Iron Man require a solid emotional core to maintain viewer interest.
What Can Be Learned About Superhero Fatigue From Recent Marvel and DC Releases?
James Gunn’s comments accurately reflect the current situation with both DC and Marvel. In the past, new releases in the Marvel Cinematic Universe were instant successes with both critics and viewers, but the franchise has faced challenges in recent years.
Although Spider-Man: No Way Home and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever have done exceptionally well, the latest Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has been the most controversial one in the franchise’s history. As there are only a few of the original Avengers left in the MCU, Marvel has had to turn its attention to creating new superheroes.
Revising a project can be a sensitive process, and the lukewarm reception of many recent Marvel films and series suggests that the studio has yet to master it fully. James Gunn’s comments about superhero fatigue stemming from an overemphasis on the action and visual effects rather than a grounded story could apply to Marvel’s current situation.
The main critique of the current MCU is that the films all feel similar, prioritizing spectacle over narrative, which has hurt the franchise. This issue has been exacerbated by problems within Marvel’s visual effects department.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is the most unambiguous indication of Marvel’s current situation, as it is expected to be the least successful entry in the Ant-Man franchise despite high anticipation before its release.
Conversely, DC Universe is presently undergoing a significant transformation led by Gunn and Safran to separate itself from the previous DCEU, which was one of the leading factors contributing to the conversation around superhero fatigue.
The underwhelming box office performance of Shazam! Fury of the Gods, one of the last DCEU films, demonstrates that audiences crave innovation, or superhero fatigue will triumph. Fortunately, James Gunn is on hand to address this issue.
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What Is ‘The Blip’ that James Mentioned
“Blip” refers to the five years in the Marvel Cinematic Universe after the antagonist Thanos triumphed at the end of “Avengers: Infinity War.” In that plotline, Thanos made use of the Infinity Gauntlet to eliminate half of the population of the universe by causing them to disappear in an instant.
The universe’s population was restored in subsequent films after the Marvel superheroes saved the day. This catastrophic event’s narrative challenges and predicted mayhem presented intriguing logical difficulties for the writers of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In an interview, Gunn explained that the conclusion of “Avengers: Endgame” presented a challenge for him, as it featured the Guardians of the Galaxy teaming up with Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth.
Gunn revealed that Marvel Studios decided to include this scene in editing, and he was surprised to find out about it being in the film. At the time of the scene’s inclusion, Gunn had already committed to directing “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” leaving him uncertain about how to incorporate Thor into his film. He admitted to having little input in editing “Endgame,” adding to his predicament.
Despite this, Taika Waititi’s film “Thor: Love and Thunder” resolved the issue of Thor teaming up with the Guardians. In the movie, Thor went on his journey, which allowed Gunn to write “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” without including Thor in the team.
James Gunn reveals that he was initially uncertain about how to proceed with the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise after the ending of Avengers: Endgame. He had doubts about how to incorporate Thor into the plot of the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
However, he was relieved when he learned that Thor would instead be featured in Taika Waititi’s Thor: Love and Thunder, as it meant he could focus solely on the Guardians in his film. Gunn expresses his gratitude towards Waititi, as he had no plans to include Thor in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and was planning to start the film without him.
Gunn was asked about superhero movie fatigue during an interview published by various media outlets, including Variety. He stated that he believes superhero fatigue exists, but the superhero genre does not cause it. Instead, it is due to the type of stories being told and whether or not they are focused on character development.
Gunn stressed that characters like Superman, Batman, and Iron Man are beloved because they are well-crafted and resonate with audiences. However, if a film or series becomes all about spectacle and needs more character depth, it becomes tedious and uninteresting.
Gunn explained that he gets tired of most movies that prioritize spectacle over story, regardless of whether they are superhero films. He emphasized that the critical factor has an emotionally grounded story at the base of the film.
Even if there are clever moments of action and impressive VFX designs, watching things bash each other repeatedly without a compelling story can become dull and lead to fatigue, which is a genuine problem.