James Gunn was one of the most prolific comic book directors of the 21st century, but even he understands why people get bored with the genre.
In a new appearance on the Podcast “Inside You”, DC Studios’ new co-CEO explained how he hopes to avoid franchise fatigue that has led to waning public interest in some superhero properties.
“We’re going to be very careful with the product we put out and make sure everything is as good as it can be,” Gunn said.
Gunn offered his diagnosis for what he sees as a decline in the quality of superhero movies, explaining that he thinks studios often push ahead with sequels and reboots before finding narrative justification for the films.
“People have gotten really lazy with their superhero stories,” he said. “And they got to the point where, ‘Oh, he’s a superhero, let’s make a movie about it.’ And then, ‘Oh, let’s do a sequel, because the first one did pretty well,’ and they’re not thinking, ‘Why is this story special? What distinguishes this story from other stories? What is the story at the heart of it all? Why is this character important? What makes this story different than satisfying people’s need in theaters to go see?’”
Gunn added that he believes some recent films have placed too much emphasis on spectacle at the expense of character.
“People have gotten a little lazy and there’s a lot of biff, pow, bam stuff that happens in movies and I’m watching third act superhero movies where I really don’t feel like there’s a rhyme or reason to that what is happening.” he said. “I’m not interested in the characters. And they have become too generic.
This weekend’s box office is an indication of superhero fatigue, as non-Gunn DC title “The Flash” in its second weekend sank in theaters while non-franchise films thrived.
Gunn said he hopes to fight repetition by bringing a variety of genres into his DC Universe. His first slate will start with 2025’s ‘Superman: Legacy’ and include projects as varied as a ‘Swamp Thing’ horror film and a Green Lantern series said to be inspired by ‘True Detective’.
“I like very serious superhero movies and I like very comedic superhero movies,” he said. “I like ones that are a murder mystery, but that’s with superheroes. I like seeing these different kinds of stories, instead of seeing the same story told over and over again.