Peacemaker’s James Gunn and Zack Snyder were both asked about making a live-action Rick & Morty movie, so what would those plans look like?
While Zack Snyder and James Gunn were asked about directing live action rick and morty movie, the two directors would likely have very different views on the material. The prospect of a live-action rick and morty may be hard to imagine, but that hasn’t stopped fans from speculating about the Adult Swim hit’s cinematic potential. Even if the bloody, twisted and absurd comedy of rick and morty might struggle to translate to the live-action cinema medium, fans of the series have even gone so far as to ask notable directors about their interest in the prospect of shooting a rick and morty movie.
In 2021, during an appearance on the Film Junkee Vodka Stream, Justice League director Zack Snyder has said he’s open to the idea of making a rick and morty movie. In 2022, The Suicide Squad director James Gunn had a different response when asked about the potential project on Twitter. As a result, fans of rick and morty inevitably began to wonder what a possible live-action adaptation of the sci-fi comedy series would look like from the two famed directors.
Like the fury on Zack Snyder Justice League cut and the success of Gunn’s work in the MCU prove it, both directors are legends of comic book cinema. However, although Gunn and Snyder were asked about a live action rick and morty movie, their responses couldn’t have been more different. Gunn said he couldn’t work on the project because he loves the original cartoon series so much, tweeting that “the anime series is so beautiful and perfect that i would never touch it.” In contrast, Snyder said he would like to do a rick and morty movie for the same reason. Asked about the idea of him doing a comedy, Snyder said, “if i did the rick and morty movie this is probably the closest i would get.” So what would the two very different directors bring to a big-screen iteration of rick and morty?
Could a Rick & Morty movie work?
A little like South Park will never have a live spin-off, rick and morty may be too inherently boundary-pushing and surreal to sustain a non-animated film adaptation. However, where South Park will always be limited by the issue of needing child actors to voice very adult jokes, live action Rick and Deathy film is at least conceivable, especially when projects like The Suicide Squadthe dead Pool movies, The boysand Peacemaker brought R-rated cartoon violence and self-aware comedy to the big and small screen. The sheer madness of rick and mortyThe animated Anarchy approach means it would be a challenge for any filmmaker, but it could be possible if a big name with significant cult appeal was attached to the project, like Zack Snyder or James Gunn.
What Zack Snyder’s Rick & Morty Movie Could Look Like
Although some fans online have been skeptical of Snyder’s potential as a rick and mortyThanks to his past working on darker and bolder projects, his funnier fare gives an idea of how the project might pan out. army of the dead and 2004 dawn of the dead remake (which, ironically, was scripted by Gunn) both have gory comedy moments that might suit the world of rick and mortywhile his two Justice League and watchmen have the striking exaggerated color palette of a live-action animated film. However, the tone of the film would still be the biggest issue since Snyder is known for his broad and dramatic characters where rick and mortyCharacterizations jump between irony and sincerity from scene to scene.
Would Snyder’s Rick & Morty Movie Work?
If there’s one thing Snyder is famous for when it comes to character, it’s great, heartfelt drama. From batman versus supermaninfamous “Martha” moment for watchmenLeonard Cohen’s equally infamous sex scene, Snyder’s films are full of scenes that wear their hearts on their sleeve and (for better or worse) disavow the kind of winking, self-aware irony at which many modern superheroes indulge. Snyder’s successes and failures with critics are rooted in this tendency towards sincerity, which makes the idea that he is shooting a rick and morty somewhat shocking. After all, the persistent cynicism and this self-conscious irony are part and parcel of rick and mortyThe appeal of and the show has bounced between ultra-violent action, tragic moments of pathos and goofy comedy since its pilot episode.
As proves rick and mortyThe Season 5 finale cut a wordless sequence detailing Rick’s devastating backstory straight to the anti-hero gleefully commenting “yes, dead woman, now everyone can shut up about it“, rick and morty consists in mixing irony and sincerity. It’s undeniably hard to imagine Snyder’s heartfelt tone striking the right balance for moments like this in live-action. However, the director has managed to bring difficult source material to life on screen before, as evidenced by watchmenmeaning it can be better equipped to capture the right tone for a rick and morty film than its more serious releases imply.
What James Gunn’s Rick & Morty Could Look Like
It’s interesting that Gunn vetoed the idea of him leading a rick and morty film because the project would fit perfectly with his existing CV. While “Rickdependence Spray” didn’t deserve the fan hatred the Season 5 episode received, the episode’s crude comedy and cartoonish gore brought to mind the shocking gags of Gunn’s early work on Troma. Combine that with the dark, R-rated humor of Great and To glide and Gunn’s style would be perfect for live action rick and morty, although the visuals can prove problematic. While Gunn has proven with The Suicide Squad and guardians of the galaxy that he can go from his grungier roots to making high-gloss, big-budget hit movies, even his superhero films don’t have the same weird, intense (and, admittedly, divisive) striking visuals that Snyder would bring to rick and mortyis the movie.
Would Gunn’s Rick & Morty Movie Work?
The financial failure of The Suicide Squad proves that even Gunn’s critically acclaimed signature style isn’t guaranteed to land with audiences. While one of DCEU’s highest-grossing properties has struggled at the box office under his leadership, a cult hit like rick and morty would risk having even more difficulty finding an audience. That said, guardians of the galaxy proved that with the right cast, Gunn could turn a mostly forgotten intellectual property into an outsized hit. As a result, there is an argument to be made that a beloved but less intensely publicized intellectual property like rick and mortyGunn’s live-action movie could be the perfect project to bring back Gunn’s blockbuster dominance.
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