Marvel Studios is like a refiner’s fire.
The intensity of the heat and pressure that directors feel when working with the studio leads to one of two outcomes.
Either a director will crumble into a mess of broken dreams, and their artistic vision will burn away into dross, as happened with Joss Whedon (you can’t take the sky from him, but you can take his love of superheroes).
Or, for those lucky few who prove resilient enough to be compatible with the Marvel method (and who deliver consistently amazing work), there opens up a whole range of possibilities for future work with the studio.
Work which, it seems, inevitably leads, as all roads within the MCU, to Infinity War.
The Russo Brothers have graduated from doing Captain America movies to taking Joss Whedon’s spot as the kings of the MCU (and the overseers of two Avengers movies).
As it turns out, James Gunn has similarly proven himself worthy (and, crucially, willing) to take on greater responsibilities, as he finds himself assisting Kevin Feige by working as a producer on Infinity War.
This snippet of news from the set of Infinity War has been provided by none other than Zoe Saldana, who has revealed that she too will be appearing in the upcoming Avengers movie.
While this surprises nobody, it is exciting to hear that James Gunn isn’t completely finished with the MCU.
Considering the success of Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel no doubt is eager to keep the movie’s director on their payroll for as long as he’s willing to accept their money. What’s been less certain, though, is whether or not Gunn himself feels comfortable devoting yet more time to building someone else’s fictional universe, rather than moving on to other projects.
It’s clear that, unlike the hollow husk of Joss Whedon which Marvel unceremoniously chucked into a dumpster following the release of Age of Ultron, James Gunn still has at least some life left in him, and he’s more than happy to devote that spark of humanity to serving the Great Grand Mickey Mouse Empire.
This is bad news for original science fiction, but fantastic news for anyone who thinks that Baby Groot is just the cutesy wootsiest.
It also means that there will hopefully not be too big of a disparity in style between Infinity War and Marvel’s other cosmic movies. The Russo Brothers have only ever tackled ground level, spandex-wearing political thrillers for Marvel up until this point. Getting Gunn on board will no doubt help make Infinity War feel more like Guardians or The Avengers, and less like a gritty commentary on the nature of modern espionage.
After all, who wants to see Cap and Iron Man engaging in yet another serious discussion on the legalities of war? We just want to see someone punch Thanos in his smug purple face.
If James Gunn is on hand to help this happen, we’re willing to overlook the dwindling chance that he might ever return to original story ideas in his movies.
And if somebody can check in on Joss Whedon and make sure he’s still eating, that’d be great.