James Gunn Names Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse His Favorite Comic Book Movie of All Time
The eyes of the comic book world are firmly affixed to James Gunn—his Marvel swan song, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, opened to positive reviews and box office returns in early April– and of course, his next mission is shaping the future of comic book cinema as co-chair and co-CEO of DC Studios, trying to bring his wit and irreverence to a franchise often lacking in those categories. In an interview with GQ, the Guardians mastermind was asked to name his five favorite “comic book movies.” Gunn’s picks? Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Superman (1978), A History of Violence, Oldboy, and Deadpool.
Deadpool is a logical choice for Gunn, who has always tried to inject a wry comic sensibility into his movie. He heaps praise on Ryan Reynolds’ as the title character, saying “along with Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man or Christopher Reeve as Superman, he is one of the all-time great comic book icons.”
After that, Gunn’s list veers unconventional, eschewing typical top five staples like Avengers: Endgame and The Dark Knight in favor of two choices many American fans may not even know originated as comic books. The acclaimed revenge thriller Oldboy originated as a manga series published between 1996 and 1998 before being adapted into a movie by Park Chan-Wook. A History of Violence is based on a 1997 graphic novel by John Wagner with illustration by Vince Locke– though screenwriter Josh Olson and director David Cronenberg notably deviated from the source material in significant ways. (Gunn admits not knowing either film was a comic adaptation when he first saw them.) In particular, Gunn highlighted the long hallway fight scene in Oldboy, citing it as inspiration for similar fight scenes in both Guardians Vol. 3 and The Suicide Squad.
Notably, Gunn selected 2018’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse as his favorite comic book movie of all time. “This movie works from start to finish. It does not have a bad beat in it,” Gunn said. “I just don’t think that there’s been a better superhero movie than Into the Spider-Verse.” Into the Spider-Verse, which won Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards, consistently appears on lists of the best superhero movies of all time among fans and critics alike.
Gunn also praised the film’s approach to the “multiverse” concept, something that many subsequent superhero films have struggled to integrate. “They did it in such a balanced and real way. There weren’t a lot of plotholes like there are in a lot of these multiverse movies. They thought everything through and it was just really tight,” he said.
In addition to his duties running DC, Gunn is currently working on his next directorial effort, Superman: Legacy. Not much is known about the film, though The Hollywood Reporter shared recently that actors being considered for Lois Lane include Rachel Brosnahan, Emma Mackey, and Samara Weaving. THR also reports that a rumored choice for the lead role is David Corenswet, who has appeared in Pearl and The Politician. Gunn spoke fondly about the 1978 Superman movie starring Christopher Reeve, saying that it reminded him of the magic he felt as a child watching Star Wars for the first time.
“At the time, they did exactly what we’re doing now, they [went] through tons and tons of actors to see who captures that spirit,” he said. Gunn also said that he had recently received “a bunch of pictures from Warner Bros. vaults of the actual original costumes,” implying that they are beginning to work on costume design for this next iteration of the world’s most recognizable superhero.
Gunn declined to include any of the comic book films he directed, saying, “My movies are like my children, so I can’t say one that I like better than the other.” He did talk through each of his directorial efforts, the three Guardians films and The Suicide Squad (no love for 2010’s dark superhero satire Super, starring Rainn Wilson). “For Guardians Vol. 3, I’m just really proud of the way that we really gave each of these characters the dignity they deserved and gave them the ending they deserved.”
The director, an avid comic fan, also included a handful of honorable mentions in his list, including V for Vendetta and Iron Man. “There are a lot of movies I love that almost made the list, but I could only choose five. I may wake up tomorrow and think I made an enormous mistake I can’t take back,” Gunn said.
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Originally Appeared on GQ