James Gunn Defends Superhero Movies from “Serious” Filmmakers

     February 23, 2015


I’ve loved James Gunn ever since Slither but I love him even more now. While superhero movies aren’t my favorite genre (in fact Guardians of the Galaxy is the only one in recent years that I have truly loved), I can’t stand genre elitism. Horror, comedy, superhero films… they’re all hard to pull off. They’re just as difficult to get right as any prestige picture, they just don’t happen to belong in the “prestige genre,” which is very much a thing at this point. The conversation around movies like Birdman seems to be centered around the notion that these things are drivel, when the argument could be made that Rocket the Raccoon is actually a more nuanced character than anyone in Alejandro González Iñárritu‘s film.

guardians-of-the-galaxy-james-gunn-sean-gunnAfter the Oscars, and some perhaps ill considered statements made by the otherwise lovely Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler is fucking amazing) at the Independent Spirit Awards, Gunn took to his Facebook page to share his thoughts.

“Whatever the case, the truth is, popular fare in any medium has always been snubbed by the self-appointed elite. 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.


I’ve made B-movies, independent films, children’s movies, horror films, and gigantic spectacles. I find there are plenty of people everywhere making movies for a buck or to feed their own vanity. 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 find a strikingly different percentage of those with integrity and those without working within any of these fields of film.

If you think people who make superhero movies are dumb, come out and say we’re dumb. But if you, as an independent filmmaker or a “serious” filmmaker, think you put more love into your characters than the Russo Brothers do Captain America, or Joss Whedon does the Hulk, or I do a talking raccoon, you are simply mistaken.”

Amen. And I’ll add something else, it’s often times the financial success of these films that allows studios to take on riskier, smaller films. However infrequent that phenomenon may be these days.


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