If you were keeping track last night during the 87th Annual Academy Awards, host Neil Patrick Harris and the various presenters took their fair share of potshots at superhero cinema. Granted, these big-budget, seemingly ubiquitous films are easy targets with their massive followings, populist appeal, and larger-than-life source material. Still, an air of condescension was thick in the Dolby Theater during last night’s ceremony, and it rubbed many people the wrong way, including Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn.
During the ceremony, Jack Black took several potshots towards superhero cinema during his bit, and Nightcrawler director Dan Gilroy derisively mentioned the “tsunami of superhero movies” during his acceptance speech at the Independent Spirit Awards. Rather than taking this lying down, Gunn took to his Facebook page to address the doomsaying attitude many critics have expressed towards comic book movies in the wake of films like Birdman (which nabbed “Best Picture” last night).
“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 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.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves, James Gunn. While it seems like we’re hurtling towards superhero oversaturation sometimes, these films are, quite often than not, as worthy of your consideration as many of the indie movies or prestige pictures that tend to dominate awards season conversation. Discounting them because of the source material is ludicrous. What Gunn is asking here is for people to judge films on their merit, not their source material. Of course, based on the voting in the 5th Annual Nerdist Movie Awards, I’m preaching to the choir since you all clearly have excellent taste.
What do you think? Do you agree with Gunn or is he off-base? Let us know in the comments below.
HT: Badass Digest