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  • Writer's pictureAaron Fonseca

James Gunn Explains How Cameos Ruin Superhero Movies

Fonseca on vacation will return in 2024 ... latest Your Nerd Side Show:

Gunn recently received backlash when he revealed more of Superman: Legacy's growing ensemble. Amidst criticisms the film might choke with so many characters sharing the spotlight, the director assured fans that the Superman reboot would focus on its main protagonist. He also asserted the supporting superheroes and villains would be integral to the plot as they lay the groundwork for the broader DC Universe. Gunn expounded on his vision for the DCU in a Threads post, where he also pointed out what he thinks is one of the primary causes of superhero fatigue.

"I call that 'Cameo Porn' and it has been one of the worst elements of recent superhero films," Gunn said, asserting that many movie cameos merely tick fan-service checkboxes. "If a character is in film, they have to have a reason to be there story-wise." Gunn's premise calls out the franchises that rely on such tactics to generate hype with empty promises. In contrast, an example of the effective use of cameos would be Thanos' debut in The Avengers' post-credit scene. That character gradually became more involved with the events of consequent MCU films, which culminated in Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame.

How Cameos Ruin Superhero Movies

Gunn clarified he is not against cameos that serve as Easter eggs or franchise references. "I don't mind actual cameos - if it's a glimpse or a moment, an Easter egg," he explained. "What bothers me is when they mangle an elegant story by shoehorning characters in - they aren't there because the story calls for it, but for some other reason." The Guardians of the Galaxydirector stopped short of mentioning films guilty of this mistake, but many franchises have indeed used cameos that tease sequels if the first movie makes a profit at the box office.

The rebooted DC Universe is in the right hands, considering Gunn's achievements in the superhero movie genre — he has successfully contributed to the Marvel and DC film franchises with Guardians of the Galaxy and The Suicide Squad. The latter is notable because it introduced and fleshed out low-tier DC characters in a perfectly paced, self-contained story. That movie also involved a huge cast of characters which Gunn dispensed and dispatched to great effect.

Superman: Legacy is slated to release in theaters on July 11, 2025.

Source: Threads

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