James Gunn speaks candidly about the continuing controversy surrounding superhero movie weariness. Gunn’s popular superhero film work began with the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, which he wrote and directed for Marvel Studios. Gunn has now become one of the most influential people in the superhero bubble, having been named as one of DC Studios’ top two executives with Peter Safran. Gunn’s experience working at two of the main superhero movie companies has helped him build a view on the argument about superhero movie weariness.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Gunn was candid about the superhero movie weariness phenomenon, admitting that he believes it exists. However, the creator was keen to stress that the exhaustion was not due to the availability of superhero ventures, but rather to the type of tales being conveyed. Gunn was blunt, adding that “if it becomes simply a bunch of gibberish onscreen, it gets pretty dull,” implying that even films containing fantasy confrontations with Superman, Iron Man, and other heroes require a strong emotional core to compel spectators to care.
What Do New Marvel and DC Comics Say About Superhero Fatigue?
Gunn’s remarks ring true with recent developments at both DC and Marvel. While new Marvel Cinematic Universe movies were previously immediate blockbusters with both reviewers and moviegoers, the MCU has recently struggled. Sure, films like Spider-Man: No Way Home and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever were huge successes, but the just-finished MCU Phase 4 is undoubtedly the most contentious in the franchise’s history. With only a few of the original Avengers remaining in the MCU, Marvel has been forced to focus on creating new heroes.
A reformulation process may be delicate, and the mixed reaction to most of Marvel’s recent films and series demonstrates that the studio has not yet cracked down on it. Gunns’ reference to superhero weariness as a result of a recurrent concentration on fighting and Effects while “not having an emotionally anchored plot” may be applied to Marvel’s dilemma. The biggest complaint of the current MCU revolves around the movies feeling the same, with a focus on spectacle over plot, which has seriously harmed the MCU, especially given Marvel’s VFX department’s many behind-the-scenes troubles.
The largest example of Marvel’s predicament is Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, which is expected to be the lowest-grossing film in the Ant-Man trilogy despite all of the hype around its release. DC’s perspective is slightly different since the studio is undergoing a significant redesign under Gunn and Safran to move away from the previous DCEU, which was a key contributor to the superhero weariness discussion. The recent box office failure of Shazam! Fury of the Gods, one of the final DCEU films, demonstrates that viewers want originality, or else superhero fatigue will triumph. Fortunately, James Gunn is here to put a stop to that.