Writer-director James Gunn, who helmed the fan-favorite box office smash Guardians of the Galaxy and is currently hard at work on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, is not one to mince words. He often wears his heart on his sleeve. Not to mention, he’s generally very open to the fans with comments on his Facebook page. It looks like Gunn has taken to his Facebook page yet again to defend Marvel Studios over a remark made by an anonymous source in a recent story from Deadline looking at that film’s insane amount of box office success.
To clarify, while Deadpool might be a Marvel Comics character and property, 20th Century Fox currently owns all the live-action film rights to mutant and X-Men characters, including Deadpool. As such, Marvel Studios did not really have a hand in the film’s production. Deadpool is being hailed for its edgy, R-rated style and fourth-wall breaking humor, which is a hallmark of the Deadpool character. Marvel Studios films have built a bit of a reputation for usually being very light and fun, despite the fact that the Marvel Netflix shows, which are set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, are very dark, brutal, adult and violent.
Regarding Deadpool, an anonymous studio insider claimed: “The film has a self-deprecating tone that’s riotous. It’s never been done before. It’s poking fun at Marvel. That label takes itself so seriously, can you imagine them making fun of themselves in a movie? They’d rather stab themselves.”
James Gunn did not take kindly to that remark. For starters, one can argue that his film Guardians of the Galaxy does not take itself too seriously at all. It’s a very unconventional film based on a more obscure Marvel comic book and team of heroes, one of which is a talking raccoon, and another is a talking, anthropomorphic tree. You can read Gunn’s full rant below:
“The film has a self-deprecating tone that’s riotous. It’s never been done before. It’s poking fun at Marvel. That label takes itself so seriously, can you imagine them making fun of themselves in a movie? They’d rather stab themselves.”
That’s a quote from Deadline Hollywood, attributing it to a Hollywood “suit.” I love Deadline and get a lot of my film business news from them. And I love Deadpool even more – the film is hilariously funny, has lots of heart, and is exactly what we need right now, taking true risks in spectacle film – but COME THE F*** ON. That’s no reason to rewrite history. This quote has to have been said by the dumbest f***ing Hollywood exec in the history of dumb f***ing Hollywood execs.
Let’s ignore Guardians for a moment, a movie that survives from moment to moment building itself up and cutting itself down – God knows I’m biased about that one. But what do you think Favreau and Downey did in Iron Man? What the f*** was Ant-Man??!
Come on, Deadline.
After every movie smashes records people here in Hollywood love to throw out the definitive reasons why the movie was a hit. I saw it happen with Guardians. It “wasn’t afraid to be fun” or it “was colorful and funny” etc etc etc. And next thing I know I hear of a hundred film projects being set up “like Guardians,” and I start seeing dozens of trailers exactly like the Guardians trailer with a big pop song and a bunch of quips. Ugh.
Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.
Deadpool wasn’t that. Deadpool was its own thing. THAT’S what people are reacting to. It’s original, it’s damn good, it was made with love by the filmmakers, and it wasn’t afraid to take risks.
For the theatrical experience to survive, spectacle films need to expand their definition of what they can be. They need to be unique and true voices of the filmmakers behind them. They can’t just be copying what came before them.
So, over the next few months, if you pay attention to the trades, you’ll see Hollywood misunderstanding the lesson they should be learning with Deadpool. They’ll be green lighting films “like Deadpool” – but, by that, they won’t mean “good and original” but “a raunchy superhero film” or “it breaks the fourth wall.” They’ll treat you like you’re stupid, which is the one thing Deadpool didn’t do.
But hopefully in the midst of all this there will be a studio or two that will take the right lesson from this – like Fox did with Guardians by green-lighting Deadpool – and say – “Boy, maybe we can give them something they don’t already have.”
And that’s who is going to succeed.
Have a great day.
James Gunn’s next film, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, hits theaters on May 5, 2017.