James Gunn believes Marvel and DC upped the stakes too high, too fast for sustainable storytelling.
If you’re finding yourself increasingly less enthusiastic to visit theaters for the latest Marvel and DC outings such as Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and Shazam: Fury of the Gods, you’re not alone. Superhero fatigue is real, and it’s impacting everyone, including the newly appointed head of creative development at DC, James Gunn himself. The Suicide Squad filmmaker explained during a recent interview with Rolling Stone that it has become harder and harder to create compelling superhero content in recent years as the market has become oversaturated and less grounded in reality.
Specifically, Gunn takes aim at Thanos’ blip, which saw half of all life snapped out of the Marvel universe in 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War, only to return after five years when the Avengers ultimately defeated Thanos in 2019’s Avengers: Endgame. According to James Gunn, this process would be enough to drive everybody on Earth to madness, due to the massive implications the blip would have on an individual’s day-to-day life. This cataclysmic event would surely be the breaking point for the average human, whose car insurance rates are already astronomical due to the sheer frequency of superhero destruction plaguing most metropolitan cities.
While James Gunn is closing the chapter on his tenure with Marvel studios with the arrival of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 next month, he has made it a point to wish Marvel well in their future endeavors. Many of the recent Marvel outings have focussed a great deal on the blip, with Disney+ series such as The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Loki specifically centered on the incident and its growing ramifications across the universe. For Gunn, this presents such a challenge from a filmmaking perspective that it’s almost not worth continuing the expanded universe.
Instead, James Gunn hopes to take his crash course in universe planning from Kevin Feige and apply this knowledge to the future of DC. With the whole of the DCU being essentially rebooted in the coming years, Gunn hopes to mitigate superhero fatigue with a series of grounded, interconnected films that don’t raise the stakes too high too fast, avoiding the pitfalls of DC filmmakers before him, such as Zack Snyder and David Ayer. Still, the Guardians of the Galaxy filmmaker has stated that Marvel’s success is DC’s success, and the best possible outcome for audiences and studios alike is a pair of dueling franchises that both create consistently well-liked films.
This bodes well for the future of superhero content, as Disney has recently announced plans to restrict Marvel’s output, forcing the studio to hone their focus into only one or two high-quality projects per year, preventing them from pumping out hundreds of half-baked movies or shows. With James Gunn taking the wheel at DC, we could see a friendly rivalry between the comic book franchises that benefits everyone.
With James Gunn narrowing his focus for the future and acknowledging a growing trend of superhero fatigue among fans and moviegoers, the filmmaker is in a unique position. Gunn’s self-awareness will go a long way at the studio, especially given that many of the complaints plaguing DC films of years past have had to do with notes from out-of-touch studio executives encroaching on the space of creators. With James Gunn running the show at DC, we could be in for a renaissance of comic book movies, freeing us from the shackles of fatigue, for now, only time will tell.