The Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to thrive in both theaters and on the small screen at Disney+. The team at Marvel Studios seems to have the production cycle for these big-budget superhero projects down to an absolute science. This is to say that the way these films and shows get made seems to have largely been streamlined to make things easiest for those in front of and behind the camera.
But what about all those other blockbuster studios? Especially the ones who are keen to enter the MCU-style mega-franchise game? Well, it’s pretty telling that there hasn’t been a successful, viable cinematic universe outside of Marvel’s (although a case could be made for Legendary’s MonsterVerse.)
Many production houses often appear to rush things just to get a piece of the box office pie. They make grand plans for future releases years in advance and promise multiple sequels before the first film even releases (Looking at you, 2017 Power Rangers reboot.) And as it turns out, stalwart MCU presence and Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn has something to say about this.
James Gunn Weighs in on Would-Be Blockbusters
MCU director James Gunn took to Twitter to respond to a tweet from user @unbabybearably who asked the director:
“At what point in your career did you learn to relax and delegate to the experts you helped hire to make your movies? So many Directors seem to struggle with this.”
Gunn’s response explained how he's learned to trust people working for him more, including how he delegates certain tasks out to those capable of getting the job done:
“I’m not sure 'relaxing' & 'directing' are congruous terms, but as I’ve grown I’ve gained more & more people around me I trust - like my 1st AD Lars Winther my costume designer Judianna Makovsky. To various degrees I delegate to people I trust while also overseeing & guiding.”
He elaborated by adding that he believes those who are fortunate to have landed themselves in the director’s chair don’t always deserve that luxury.
“Directing is a privilege - we are so lucky to do it & there are so many talented people who want to do it. Seeing directors who aren’t grateful for that opportunity & respectful towards the talent & hard work of those around them pisses me off to no end.”
Doubling down on this take, James Gunn pointed his finger at highly disorganized productions and "unfinished scripts" as being the number one reason why today's Hollywood movies are "deteriorating" in quality:
“If you saw how disorganized most productions are, & how unfinished most scripts are on big movies as they start shooting (the number one reason for the deteriorating quality of feature films in my opinion), you’d see why usually this isn’t an option.”
Gunn also blamed "unprepared directors" as the second root cause for why features films are getting worse:
“I’d say, after shooting with unfinished scripts, unprepared directors are the number 2 issue. It aggravates me to no end that so many directors - not most, but many - squander people’s time, money, & talent by walking onto a set not knowing where they’re going to put the camera.”
Gunn Always Tells It Like It Is
James Gunn has always been a straight shooter and can be counted on as someone who will most always provide his honest opinions on moviemaking.
And the man has a point. As mentioned above, Hollywood continues to stall at the gate when trying to develop a competitor to the MCU. The studios either don’t have a good, solid plan in place, or they suffer from delusions of grandeur, get too big for their breeches, and end up making promises to audiences that they cannot possibly keep.
Still, that’s not to say that good movies aren’t still being made. One needn’t look any further than the box office tallies for proof that people will still flock to see good movies and sometimes, even not-so-good ones.
As for James Gunn, he’s deep into post-production on Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 which is due in theaters May 5, 2023.