Director James Mangold has been making the interview rounds as of late, talking up next week's Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, and in a new interview with Variety he pulls back the curtain (just a bit!) on his eagerly-anticipated Swamp Thing movie, announced as one of the first installments in James Gunn's recently-relaunched DC cinematic universe. From where I'm standing, he's saying all the right things.
“While I’m sure DC views Swamp Thing as a franchise, I would be viewing it as a very simple, clean, Gothic horror movie about this man/monster.”
"Just doing my own thing with this, just a standalone.”
First things first: yes, Swamp Thing should absolutely be a "Gothic horror movie" about a monster man cursed to be made of foliage. Gunn draws a line between this project and another idea he'd been tinkering with for some time, "a kind of Frankenstein movie," and that's exactly what Swamp Thing should feel like. While this certainly won't be Mangold's first foray into the horror genre (see also: the criminally undervalued Identity), it's good to hear that he knows what Swamp Thing should be. Odds of Swamp Thing doing quips every two minutes seem low, as they should be.
Secondly, it's good to hear that Mangold is determined to make a standalone film, rather than a feature-length set-up for whatever Swamp Thing movie (or interconnected DC movie) comes next. This sort of thinking, if I may editorialize for a moment, is precisely what the superhero genre needs right now: films with self-contained narratives that don't spend a sizable portion of their runtime setting things up for another movie altogether. Again, yes, good!
It'll be a minute before we see Mangold's Swamp Thing - he'll first shoot his Bob Dylan biopic with Timothee Chalamet later this year - but we're eager to see what he does with the character, and are delighted to have a full-on superhero horror movie to look forward to. Stay tuned for further updates on this one as they roll in, gang.