James Gunn is not going to stand for Steven Soderbergh’s claim that the world of superheroes — at least on screen — doesn’t have any sex.
On Monday, Soderbergh became the latest director to slam superhero movies, saying he doesn’t really get approached to make superhero films, and even if he did, he likely wouldn’t take one on.
“For me to understand the world and how to write or supervise the writing of the story and the characters — apart from the fact that I can bend time and defy gravity and shoot beams out of my fingers — there’s no f—ing,” Soderbergh told The Daily Beast. “Nobody’s f—ing! Like, I don’t know how to tell people how to behave in a world in which that is not a thing.”
On Tuesday, “Suicide Squad” director Gunn politely fired back. “With all due respect, Steven Soderbergh, some people are f—ing,” Gunn tweeted.
Gunn, who’s directed superhero films for both Marvel and DC, accompanied his words with stills from his own projects, including “The Suicide Squad,” “Peacemaker” and “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2,” where the characters are post-coital.
Gunn then posted a follow-up tweet, singling out other directors in the Marvel and DC world who have included sex scenes in their films, but did concede that Soderbergh’s claim wasn’t totally “groundless.”
“Me & Zack Snyder & Richard Donner & Chloe Zhao & Tim Miller off the top of my head,” Gunn tweeted, in response to a fan calling him “the major exception.” “But, to Soderbergh’s credit, sex seems to be nonexistent in many comic book films, so it’s not like his statement is groundless.”
He then added one final tweet to the thread, in response to a fan asking why “sex or any implication of sex” is necessary in superhero films. “What does it add to the narrative or character development that can’t be handled differently?” they asked.
In response, Gunn backed up Soderbergh’s original claim that sex is a natural, and actually vital, part of the world.
“It isn’t necessary in any single story,” Gunn wrote. “But to have an entire antiseptic sexless film universe is a denial of who we are as human beings (and how every single one of us got here).”
This isn’t the first time Gunn has leapt to the defense of superhero films. He was one of the filmmakers who addressed Martin Scorsese’s comments in 2019 that Marvel films aren’t “cinema.”
“Some superhero films are awful, some are beautiful,” Gunn wrote on Instagram in late 2019. “Like westerns and gangster movies (and before that, just MOVIES), not everyone will be able to appreciate them, even some geniuses. And that’s okay.”