Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn offered a pointed response to the criticism leveled at superhero movies at the Oscars and Independent Spirit Awards, writing on Facebook, “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.”
Specifically, Gunn responded to Jack Black’s burn during his cameo in Neil Patrick Harris’ opening number at the Academy Awards — “Opening with lots of zeroes, all we get are superheroes: Spider-Man, Superman, Batman, Jedi Man, Sequel Man, Prequel Man, formulaic scripts,” he sang — and Nightcrawler director Dan Gilroy’s remarks at the ISAs bemoaning the “tsunami of superhero movies” in Hollywood.
Gunn had snide words for both, saying the writing at the Oscars “didn’t seem to be all that well thought out,” and suggesting that Gilroy might’ve been speaking off the cuff as many at awards shows, including himself, are wont to do. (He also noted the director’s wife, Rene Russo, has appeared in Marvel’s two Thor films.) But the director primarily focused on defending the superhero genre, not necessarily in the context of high vs. low culture — “popular fare in any medium has always been snubbed by the self-appointed elite,” he wrote — but by pointing out the genuine and disingenuous intentions of filmmakers in every genre.
Throughout his career, Gunn argued, he hasn’t noticed a huge disparity in the number of people making movies “for a buck or to feed their own vanity” and those who do it “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.”
“If you think people who make superhero movies are dumb, come out and say we’re dumb,” Gunn wrote. “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.”