After Nightcrawler director Dan Gilroy raised an eyebrow at the influx of superhero movies at the 2015 Independent Spirit Awards, Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn is coming to their rescue.
During his acceptance speech for best first feature, Gilroy said, “Independent film, the foundation and everybody here today, I think are holdouts against a tsunami of superhero movies that have swept over this industry. We have survived and we have thrived and I think that’s true spirit.” (Perhaps worth noting: Gilroy’s wife, Rene Russo, portrayed Thor’s mother Frigga in both Thor films.)
Gunn took to Facebook on Monday to respond. “What bothers me slightly,” he wrote, “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.”
He continued: “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.”
Jack Black also took a shot at comic book movies during the opening number at this year’s Oscars when he sang, “All we get are superheroes. Superman, Spider-man, Batman, Jediman, Sequelman, Prequelman—formulaic scripts! And after Fifty Shades of Grey, they’ll all have leather whips!”
While it may have been just a joke, it was a pointedly relevant one: Nine of this year’s acting nominees starred in such films including Michael Keaton in Tim Burton’s Batman, Bradley Cooper in Guardians of the Galaxy, Marion Cotillard in The Dark Knight Rises, J.K. Simmons in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man, Emma Stone in The Amazing Spider-Man, and Benedict Cumberbatch’s title role in Marvel’s upcoming Doctor Strange movie.
Three more high-profile superhero movies are scheduled to come out this summer (Avengers: Age of Ultron, May 1; Ant-Man, July 17; and Fantastic Four, Aug. 7) and 2016 will see plenty more (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Captain America: Civil War and Suicide Squad).
And no one else has spoken up yet, but we’re holding out for Agents of F.I.L.M. – Indies v. Superheroes.