Celebrated director James Gunn, renowned for his work on comic book films, took to GQ to break down his top five favorite comic book movies. Having directed numerous superhero films, his repertoire has established him as an authority on the genre.
Gunn starts his list with the first two "Deadpool" movies at number five, appreciating their comedic flair, heartfelt moments, and the phenomenal performance by Ryan Reynolds. He applauds the film for successfully translating the comic book's tongue-in-cheek humor and fourth-wall breaks, while adding a grounded, emotional depth that surpasses its source material.
In fourth place, Gunn lauds "Oldboy," the adaptation of a manga, for redefining action and ushering in a new era of Korean cinema. He commends the movie's cinematic vibrancy, its balance of grotesque and beautiful visuals, and its surprising twist ending. Gunn also credits the iconic hallway fight scene as a significant inspiration for his own work.
At number three, "A History of Violence," directed by David Cronenberg, stands out to Gunn for its unique take on an ex-killer's struggle to live a normal life. He appreciates how the movie was able to stand on its own, without needing to live up to or overcome any preconceived expectations from its source material, a graphic novel.
Richard Donner's "Superman" takes the second spot, a film that had a profound impact on Gunn's life. He appreciates how the film made the concept of a flying man believable, and how the costume, although simple, worked perfectly. He cites the film as a significant influence on his work, particularly in constructing large practical sets for his films, much like the Fortress of Solitude in "Superman."
Topping Gunn's list is the animated film "Into the Spider-Verse," which he believes is the best superhero movie to date. He admires the film's flawless execution, from the action to the emotion to the voice acting, and appreciates its tight, focused narrative. This film has also influenced his approach to creating high-quality animation that matches the caliber of live-action films.
Gunn ends his discussion by reflecting on his own work in the genre, likening his films to his children and expressing pride in the unique accomplishments of each one. He particularly appreciates how his films have resonated with audiences on a personal level, transforming relationships and perspectives.
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