James Gunn Promises That Superman’s Flying Sequences Will Be ‘Much More Complex’ Than What Was Done For Adam Warlock, And I Certainly Hope So

 Will Poulter as Adam Warlock.
Will Poulter as Adam Warlock.

You will believe a man can fly. That was the unforgettable tagline for Richard Donner’s 1978 origin film Superman, which did indeed convince audience members that Kal-El, disguised as a human named Clark Kent, could soar into the heavens – something standard in a comic book but unusual on the big screen at that time. Since that initial flight, every Superman movie ever made has had to contend with the notion, “How do we convincingly make Superman fly on screen?” And this issue currently sits in the lap of James Gunn, who is hard at work on his 2025 summer blockbuster, also named Superman.

Gunn recently was asked on Threads if his approach to the flying scenes in Superman will be similar to what he used in his most recent Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, specifically for the new character of Adam Warlock (played by Will Poulter). And in response to the question, Gunn replied:

What we’re doing now for flying is much more complex than what was done for AW.

To which I have to say, “Thank God.” Because with all due respect to the good folks who worked on Adam Warlock’s flying sequences in that Marvel sequel, they didn’t look very sophisticated. They essentially had a stiff Will Poulter framed against space as a backdrop. Sometimes James Gunn would mount the camera to give you a POV of a Guardians team member’s reaction as Warlock flew into them. But these effects did not show off a villain who was in control of their flight patterns, or a director who really knew how to put an audience member into the shoes of a flying character. There’s very little wonder in the Warlock sequences of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

Here, rewatch this sequence for yourself and judge:

Then again, this might have been by design. James Gunn spoke about casting Will Poulter as Adam Warlock, and described him as being “basically a baby.” The writer/director explained:

It’s kind of more complicated than that. But he’s definitely not a good guy. What we’re seeing is the infant form of Warlock, newly out of the cocoon, and he does not understand life very well. He’s basically a baby.

That likely won’t describe James Gunn’s Superman, played in the upcoming DC movie by David Corenswet. We’ve been told that we will not go through the normal Superman origin story again on screen, and that when Gunn’s movie begins, Superman already will exist in a fully formed world that will have other heroes such as Hawkgirl and Green Lantern. So Corenswet’s Superman will be an experienced hero who should be used to flying by this point, and Gunn will have to figure out how to convey this experience through his camera work.

He will have big shoes to follow, as I also believe that Zack Snyder did an incredible job showcasing Superman’s flying abilities in his first Superman movie, Man of Steel.

But each new movie should work overtime to reinvent the look of Superman taking to the skies. We will have to wait a bit until we see what Gunn and his team have cooked up. Gunn’s Superman arrives in theaters in July 2025, and though we have seen a brief snippet of the hero’s suit, it’s going to be a while until we see how the director improved on his Adam Warlock flight sequences and applied them to Kal-El, the last son of Krypton.