DC Boss Calls Out Laziness of Recent Superhero Movies

By Richard Nebens Posted:
James Gunn, Shang-Chi, Shazam

DC Studios co-CEO James Gunn voiced his opinion on both the quantity and the quality of new superhero movies and TV shows recently released.

Gunn now serves as one of the biggest voices in the world of superhero movies, being in the middle of the theatrical run for Marvel Studios' Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 while also starting his work as the co-head of DC Studios.

Both companies are set for massive new groups of projects in the next few years, with Gunn hard at work developing his Chapter 1: Gods and Monsters slate for the DCU while Marvel Studios pushes forward further into the MCU's Multiverse Saga.

DC Studios Head on Superhero Movie Spree

Kevin Feige, James Gunn
Marvel & DC

Joining the Inside of You with Michael Rosenbaum podcast, DC Studios co-CEO James Gunn called out both the quantity and the quality of the string of superhero movies that have been released in the last few years.

Rosenbaum reminisced on his time playing Lex Luthor in Smallville on the Warner Bros TV Network and The CW, with Gunn chiming in that there are "too many" superhero properties compared to when that show ran from 2001 to 2011: 

Rosenbaum: "Do you think that there are too many superhero shows and movies? Because I remember when I did 'Smallville', there were none."

Gunn: 'Yeah, I do think there’s too many."

When asked about what he wants to do about that, Gunn made it clear that the DC team isn't "going to overextend [itself]" and will make sure that every movie and TV show brings the quality that fans expect:

"But I don’t think it’s… It’s much less a problem of too many. And yes… we’re not going to overextend ourselves at DC. We’re going to be very careful with the product that we put out and making sure everything is as good as it can possibly be."

Gunn bluntly noted that creators "have gotten really lazy with their superhero stories," commenting on how so many focus on the chances of making a sequel rather than making the first movie something special that stands out:

"But I think that what’s happened is, people have gotten really lazy with their superhero stories. And they have gotten to the place where, 'Oh, it’s a superhero, let’s make a movie about it.' And they make, ‘Oh, let’s make a sequel, because the first one did pretty well,’ and they aren’t thinking about, 'Why is this story special? What makes this story stand apart from other stories? What is the story at the heart of it all? Why is this character important? What makes this story different that it fills a need for people in theaters to go see? Or on television?'"

He also got specific and pointed out that the "third acts of superhero films" he's seen recently don't make a lot of sense or have a lot of "reason to what’s happening," leading to him not caring so much about the characters:

"And I think that it’s just that… people have gotten a little lazy and there’s a lot of biff, pow, bam stuff happening in movies and I’m watching third acts of superhero films where I really just don’t feel like there’s a rhyme or reason to what’s happening… I don’t care about the characters. And they’ve gotten too generic."

Gunn sees a number of "middle-of-the-road" kinds of movies that don't utilize very many "different genres," wanting to see something other than "the same story told over and over again:"

"There’s this sort of middle-of-the-road, type of genre/tone that so many superhero movies have as opposed to having very different genres. I mean, I like very serious superhero movies, I like very comedic superhero movies, I like ones that are a murder mystery but it’s with superheroes. I like to see these different types of stories, as opposed to seeing the same story told over and over again. I don’t know how many times I… I don’t want to go off on anything…"

How Will James Gunn Work To Change Superhero Genre?

James Gunn currently has the huge responsibility of leading his own cinematic universe, particularly since it will come directly after the final projects that make up the former DC Extended Universe.

Gunn has also noted that his plan is to release two movies and two TV shows each year within his own universe, making sure to plan out his story so that the market isn't too overcrowded or rushed on his end.

Rumors have also pointed to the release order that Gunn has planned for these new projects, but for the time being, less than a handful of them have release dates set out (none of them are after 2025).

And with plans already in place to begin production on this new slate, even in lieu of the ongoing writers strike, Gunn and his team appear intent on doing their part to bring quality superhero projects to the big and small screen.

James Gunn's Chapter 1 slate will begin with Creature Commandos on Max before Superman: Legacy hits theaters on July 11, 2025.

- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.