Did you know that research indicates a sick, or dark, sense of humor can be a sign of sharp wit in an individual? Enter James Gunn.
The St. Louis native had built two incredibly successful and durable blockbusters with the “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies, before Marvel fired him in the middle of prep for the third film. Old, dirty jokes on Twitter that included pedophile-seasoned sick humor got him canned, before the DIsney giant decided to bring him back. That came after Gunn was in development on a movie with Warner Brothers, whose DCEU division could be considered the Chicago Cubs to the St. Louis Cardinals when it came to movie rivalries.
Gunn’s “Suicide Squad,” the unofficial and sorta-connected follow-up to David Ayer’s “The Suicide Squad” in 2016, may not have been a huge hit for WB, but it showed them he had real vision. It was that sick sense of humor that powered Gunn’s take on the squad of deplorable yet not quite irredeemable villains, and what led to the decision this week to have WB name the filmmaker the new creative head of their DC Film division. It’s not every day you see a director ascend to the top of a big studio’s most talked-about creative food chain, but it sure is an inventive one.
Gunn gave the Marvel Cinematic Universe its first punk rock edition with “Guardians of the Galaxy,” heightened that fascination with intergalactic space warriors with a sequel, and has finished up a third film set to release next year. There’s even a guilty pleasure Christmas special with Chris Pratt and company this December. Then he goes to Warners and makes a smash with “Suicide Squad” and “Peacemaker” television series, which was an extension of SS with John Cena starring. Now, he will oversee the next fleet of comic book cinema from Warners, while writing and directing other features and shows as well.
An expert example of a guy being given the keys to a kingdom, it’s also a nice reminder to stop fucking looking up old tweets. If you pulled a few dialogue sessions out of my dad’s car when we drive around the city on Friday nights, you’d have us both in cancel culture jail. Whatever Gunn wrote on Twitter over a decade ago is useless today, same for me and you. The people who continue to walk back into the past to dig up dirt are the first people I will call when I have a spare seat getting launched into the sun.
Also, I like my filmmakers and creatives to think up and sometimes blurt out fucked up shit. It’s not action. It’s humor. If you knew Gunn’s history and where he wrote before making gigantic Hollywood films, it wouldn’t be a surprise. He wrote for Troma, which was like Deadspin meets TMZ with an extra twist of incarnated spice to its entertainment industry writings. Watch the “Guardians” movies or “Suicide Squad,” and you’ll notice that despicable yet hilarious sense of humor working.
What would Hollywood do without all of its sick senses of humor? It’d be boring and useless, like extra Lord of the Rings projects or four extra Avatar sequels. I’ll take the Gunns, Tarantinos, Peeles, and every other fucked up mind to create entertaining and unique content for my movie-deprived brain. Let the country club crowd and old Twitter golddiggers choke on their shovels. Digging for dirt is so much harder than embracing the good.
If you told me we had to delete Gunn’s sense of humor in order for him to fit into that lovely square peg the world has designed for him, I would say that plan is completely awful. Let him do his thing. The entertainment lovers have gotten three solid, rollicking adventures out of him so far, and a very good television series. There’s more on the way, and he’ll either be in charge or leading up the creative.