Gunn Responds To Comic Book Movie Critics. Last weekend’s Academy Awards ceremony occurred during the height of awards season and represented the pinnacle of Hollywood elitism. While films like Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel and Birdman received nomination after nomination, the closest comic book movies came to Oscar glory was Disney’s animated adventure Big Hero 6 (which is a loose adaptation of a little known Marvel property). Not only do fantasy, sci-fi and comic book movies rarely receive award show glory, these genres aren’t even guaranteed award recognition in categories that lend themselves to their strengths. Award categories ideal for the spectacle of comic book films such as visual effects and costume design are consistently passed up for awards recognition because period pieces like Mr. Turner often take up several of the nomination slots in those respective categories.
Although comic book movie fans are accustomed to their favourite films not receiving the respect of critics, they’re ire can still be raised when they feel the movies they love are under attack. Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn recently took to his Facebook page to respond to the genre’s critics. Gunn, rose through the Hollywood film ranks, going from small budget indie film-maker to directing a Hollywood blockbuster and is one of the few directors in the industry with the credibility and insight to be a rallying voice for comic book movie fans.
The following is Gunn’s Facebook page post expressing his opinion on Hollywood’s elitism when it comes to comic book movies.
I didn’t really find the Jack Black superhero jokes offensive, did you guys? It was, like, a joke. I’m not sure if you guys noticed, but the writing on the Oscars didn’t seem to be all that well thought out.
As far as Dan Gilroy saying that attendees of the Independent Spirit Awards have survived against a “tsunami of superhero films” – well it seems a bit weird coming from a guy whose wife has acted in two Thor films – really, that seems like you’ve drowned horribly in that tsunami. But I know I just kind of make up stuff as I go along on these awards shows, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.
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 film-maker or a “serious” film-maker, 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.
I’ll play devil’s advocate for a moment and say that I can see where some of the critical disdain for comic book movies comes from. At their worst, comic book movies are one of corporate Hollywood’s money sucking tendrils, designed to vacuum cash from the pockets of the widest possible audience, usually at the expense of dumbing the material down and offending the property’s core fans. It is extremely rare that a director can express his/her artistic vision while working under the watchful eyes of dozens of studio executives that are more concerned about recouping finances than creating touching stories and fulfilling character arcs.
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