Many comic book fans took notice that several people at the Oscars on Sunday took jabs at superhero films. Everyone from host Neil Patrick Harris to Jack Black had some harsh criticism of comic book movies, raving about “Superman, Spider-Man, Batman, Jediman, Sequelman, Prequelman,” and “formulaic scripts.” Among those annoyed by this little digs was the director of Guardians of the Galaxy, James Gunn.
According to Nerdist, James Gunn wrote a post on his Facebook fan page defending superhero films like Guardians of the Galaxy, in direct response to the shaming that has occurred among award-winners at shows even outside the Oscars. For example, at the Independent Spirit Awards, Nightcrawler director Dan Gilroy claimed to be among the “holdouts against a tsunami of superhero movies that have swept over this industry.” James Gunn decided he wouldn’t put up with this abuse, and shared a lengthy post with his opinion on the matter.
“Whatever the case, the truth is, popular fare in any medium has always been snubbed by the self-appointed elite,” said James Gunn. “I’ve already won more awards than I ever expected for Guardians. What bothers me slightly is that many people assume because you make big films that you put less love, care, and thought into them then people do who make independent films or who make what are considered more serious Hollywood films.”
This is James Gunn’s main point, that just because superhero movies are popular, that doesn’t mean they don’t take talent and effort. Despite raking in major box-office bucks, superhero movies have some of the highest expectations among fans and biggest budgets of any Hollywood movies. And while directors like James Gunn don’t typically win Oscars, fans tend to keep a list of which superhero movies are high quality and which are thrown-together. Even so, James Gunn’s film Guardians of the Galaxy did get nominated for visual effects and makeup and hairstyling.
“I find there are plenty of people everywhere making movies for a buck or to feed their own vanity,” James Gunn continued. “And then there are people who do what they do because they love story-telling, they love cinema, and they want to add back to the world some of the same magic they’ve taken from the works of others. In all honesty, I do no [sic] find a strikingly different percentage of those with integrity and those without working within any of these fields of film.”
As Slash Films points out, Jack Black and Dan Gilroy weren’t necessarily criticizing the quality of movies like the ones James Gunn makes, but more so how prevalent they are in Hollywood–particularly due to never-ending sequels.
What do you think? Do you agree with James Gunn?