For years, fans of DC and Marvel have been fighting tooth and nail to prove that their chosen brand is the superior one. Now that the two comic publishing giants are at the height of their popularity thanks to superhero movies, the rivalry between the brands' supporters has become more bitter and heated than ever before.
If things were up to Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn, the rivalry would not even exist. In his ideal world for superhero fans of all ages, fans of both DC and Marvel would enjoy any superhero movie no matter which comic brand produced it.
James Gunn On 'Marvel Vs DC'
While promoting the upcoming thriller The Belko Experiment, a movie he wrote, Gunn shared his thoughts on the growing tension between fans of superhero movies. Despite being the director one of of Marvel's most successful movies to date, Gunn refused to brag and demean Marvel's immediate business rival, DC.
I just don’t find any room in my headspace for thinking my movies are superior or inferior to someone else’s. I really just think about how can I make, for instance right now, how can I make ‘Guardians Vol. 2’ the greatest spectacle film of all time? That’s all I care about so that’s what I concentrate on.
After explaining where his priorities lied when directing the highly anticipated sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy, he went into detail about the unity he'd like to see in the growing community of comic book movie fans.
I don’t really think about Marvel versus DC. And also any time a Marvel movie comes out that isn’t as good as I wished it was or anytime a DC movie comes out that isn’t as I wished it was, I’m disappointed because I love these characters. I grew up reading Marvel and DC comics. I want them all to be good.
Fan Unity Goes A Long Way
James Gunn never kept his love for superhero comic books a secret, and his open minded outlook on the superhero genre is the mindset fans need. Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to their favorite comic publisher and disagreements with are bound to happen, but there's no need to wish ill fortune upon the other brand.
We live in a time when superhero movies and almost anything that was ridiculed for being geeky is now taken seriously; a time many older comic fans never thought possible. Instead of further dividing themselves, fans of both sides should celebrate the fact that movies based on their childhood heroes are getting the respectable cinematic treatment they deserve. There are good and bad superhero movies but right now, the well-received ones outnumber those that are better off forgotten.
Fans should also recognize their power when it comes to superhero movies, since studios are now eager to impress them. Without knowing it, fans determined the fates of superhero movie before shooting even begins. By enjoying and criticizing superhero movies in unison, audiences give studios a better idea of what they want to see. Cases in point: Fan backlash forced DC to lessen Zack Snyder's control in Justice League while the divisive reception of the Mandarin and Iron Man 3 helped Marvel realize it was time for their movies to grow-up - hence Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
And in a time when a film director can deem superheroes as "cultural genocide," superhero movies need all the fan support they can get.
Superhero Rage Against The Elite
Hearing a well-known filmmaker like James Gunn defend superhero movies and their fans is also a nice change of pace - especially when the dislike for superhero movies is becoming just as prevalent as love from those who adore the genre.
Some choice quotes from established filmmakers include: Independence Day and disaster movie maestro Roland Emmerich deeming superheroes as "silly" and indie sensation and Nightcrawler director Dan Gilroy proclaiming that independent cinema is film's last line of defense against the "tsunami of superhero movies." Recently, iconic actor-director Mel Gibson blasted multi-million budgeted superhero movies by outright calling Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice a "piece of shit."
Everyone has different tastes and superhero movies may not be for everyone, which is fine. Live and let live, as they say. On the other hand, dismissing superhero movies simply because they lack the depth and occasional navel-gazing of Oscar Bait is not just unfair to those like James Gunn who work hard on their superhero projects but to fans of the genre as well. Fans of superheroes look up to these characters for motivation and inspiration, not just for killing time. Fans also see more to these comic heroes beyond superpowers and colorful costumes, from social commentary to statements about the genre as a whole. Giving superhero movies the chance to say their piece is always better than belittling them and calling them child's play.
As James Gunn said in his reply to Dan Gilroy's statements, underestimating a genre based on the funny pages does nothing but make one sound condescending.
...the truth is, popular fare in any medium has always been snubbed by the self-appointed elite... 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. 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.