Director Steven Soderbergh can’t get into the superhero genre as he doesn’t get the fantasy spectacle and thinks there’s no sex in them.
Director Steven Soderbergh thinks that superhero movies lack sex scenes. Soderbergh is the prolific director of the Oceans Eleven franchise, as well as films like Out of Sight, Traffic, Erin Brockovich, and Magic Mike. The director’s first film was the aptly-titled Sex, Lies, and Videotape, starring Andie McDowell and James Spader, which launched Soderbergh into a distinguished career as a filmmaker. His 2011 film Contagion has recently seen a surge in popularity as it has been frequently compared to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Superhero films, by and large, do not contain gratuitous sex scenes, but have always leaned into romantic relationships and occasionally do have sex scenes, depending on the property involved. Recently, Marvel had its first-ever feature film sex scene in The Eternals, while other properties have had much more expressive scenes. Some more gratuitous sex scenes have been featured with Ryan Reynolds and Morena Baccarin’s scenes in Deadpool, Patrick Wilson and Malin Akerman in Watchmen, and a host of others on a variety of superhero shows like the Marvel/Netflix shows Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage, as well as Amazon Prime’s The Boys and DC’s Doom Patrol. While the mainstream Marvel and DC feature films may avoid sex scenes, there are clearly a good amount of outliers that embrace it.
While talking to The Daily Beast, Soderbergh said that he has trouble imagining the superhero world without sex, which is a hindrance to his style of storytelling as it conflicts with how humans behave. The director says that the “fantasy-spectacle” universe typically “doesn’t involve a lot of f*cking” and doesn’t typically give insight into who is funding superheroes or how their jobs came to be. Soderbergh says he’s “not a snob” about superhero films, nor does he look down on them, but the genre is something he feels he doesn’t have the imagination for. Here’s his full quote, when asked if he’s ever approached to make spectacle-driven films:
Not really, and I’m not a snob; it’s not that I feel it’s some lower tier in any way. It really becomes about what universe you occupy as a storyteller. I’m just too earthbound to really release myself to a universe in which Newtonian physics don’t exist [laughs]. I just have a lack of imagination in that regard, which is why the one foray I had into pure science-fiction [2002’s Solaris] was essentially a character drama that happened to be set on a spaceship. Also, for a lot of these, 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 fucking. Nobody’s fucking! Like, I don’t know how to tell people how to behave in a world in which that is not a thing.
Soderbergh’s films and TV shows have typically leaned into the sexual aspect of the characters, but not necessarily as the leading theme of the film itself. Sex has played a role in many of his films, however, including the Magic Mike series, the Liberace biopic Behind The Candelabra with Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, and 2009’s The Girlfriend Experience, which was later turned into an anthology series on Starz. Soderbergh is currently preparing to direct a third sequel to Magic Mike, entitled Magic Mike’s Last Dance, which brings back star Channing Tatum to the famed stripper role. His latest film, Kimi, starring Zoe Kravitz, is set to debut on HBO Max on February 10th.
Soderbergh’s comments don’t appear to be malicious, but do come off rather presumptuous and misinformed about the broader scope of the genre. The simple fact is that there are sex scenes in superhero films, just not all superhero films. There are plenty of examples to pull from, which feature actual sex, nudity, and intimacy set within that genre. While it may not feature in a film like Spider-Man: No Way Home, it does feature in films like Deadpool or most recently in The Eternals. The more hardcore TV shows, including The Boys, Doom Patrol, or the now-canceled MCU-set Netflix shows, have taken sex scenes to far greater lengths, but there are still limits to films that appeal on a global scale and to a wider audience, particularly younger ones. Perhaps if Soderbergh explored the genre a bit more, he may find that it’s not only open to what he thinks is lacking, but is in need of his take, especially as it pertains to sexual relationships, just not for the big-budget fare, which he’s not typically aligned with anyway.
Next: Every Steven Soderbergh Movie Ranked From Worst to Best
Source: The Daily Beast
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