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Why Bloodshot is different from every other superhero movie - Exclusive

You haven't seen a superhero movie quite like Bloodshot before. Sure, Sony Pictures and Valiant Entertainment hope that the movie leads to a brand-new shared superhero universe in the same vein as the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the DC Extended Universe, but that doesn't mean that Bloodshot plays things by the book. When Bloodshot is at its best, the Vin Diesel-starring flick sheds new light on old superhero tropes, like the tragic origin story. Its action might be just as over the top as anything Marvel's ever made, but its story is rooted in real-life concerns.

According to director Dave Wilson, who makes his feature film debut with Bloodshot, that's by design. Wilson wasn't drawn to Bloodshot because of the superheroics, but rather because of its underlying themes. 

"I'm a massive science fiction nerd," Wilson tells Looper in an exclusive interview. "When the script came in, I really wanted to focus on a science-fact approach to it all. Very grounded in technology."

Wilson sees Bloodshot as a fable about a man who's been manipulated by technology, and doesn't see much of a difference between Diesel's Ray Garrison and the rest of us. In our always-online society, we're all just doing what technology tells us. 

"We sort of have this false sense of agency in our lives because we Google something, or Waze tells us which way to go, you swipe left or right or whatever it is," Wilson says. "These are curated responses, like menus for us to choose from. I felt like [Bloodshot] was the personification of that."

Rising Spirit Tech's other supersoldiers, who are outfitted with high-tech implants and prosthetics, also reflect Wilson's thoughts on modern technological trends: "What happens when physical capabilities, or even logical ones, are just something that you can buy?"

It's not a hypothetical question. "There are already these little pills you swallow that float around in your body and give you feedback on your blood pressure, your cholesterol levels, and your heart rate. It feeds into your Apple watch, which in turn uses the computing power of your phone," Wilson points out.

Of course, as Wilson observes, "no one goes to the theater for TED Talks." Even a film full of interesting ideas needs to get people in the theater. Hence, the superhero angle. Still, even Bloodshot's super-powered action isn't like Marvel or DC's offerings. "I'm a big Tony Scott fan, and more than anything I wanted to take a very aggressive filmmaking approach to the movie," Wilson says. "There's a lot in common with the '80s and '90s action movies that I grew up loving."

It's harder, edgier, and, Wilson hopes, more relatable. "It was grounded as a superhero movie," Wilson says, and he hopes that veering hard into sci-fi territory and ramping up the action helps Bloodshot stand apart from its peers. "I was just trying to carve out what little space was left for ourselves between the juggernauts that are out there," he says.

Welcome to the Bloodshot cinematic universe

Naturally, there's one area in which Bloodshot overlaps with the likes of Iron Man and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Even without a post-credits sequence and with some terrible reviews, if Bloodshot is successful, you can expect many more Valiant-themed movies to head your way.

When it comes to planning for a follow-up, Wilson says that Vin Diesel, who also serves on Bloodshot as a producer, has been key: "Vin has been a part of so many large franchises at this point, that it's almost impossible for him sometimes to separate himself from thinking beyond just the day."

When it was time to act, of course, Diesel was focused and committed. Once the cameras stopped rolling, though, he was able to use his franchise-building experience to make sure that Bloodshot was sequel-ready. "It is always about making sure there are enough breadcrumbs, enough avenues to explore the world further, beyond just the movie we're working on," Wilson shares. "Every day, it is a conversation of, 'How do we leave a little trail that can also plant the seed that will bear fruit in a second or third or fifth movie?'"

For his part, Wilson was focused mainly on making Bloodshot as good as it could be — "My job is just to make one good film, and then the powers can be can worry about everything else that's coming," he tells Looper — but there are other Valiant characters he'd like to work with in the future. Bloodshot cohorts Bloodhound and Bloodsquirt could pop up in future sequels, but there's one team of heroes that Wilson would particularly like to work with.

"Speaking about transhumanism, H.A.R.D. Corps is one that I love, just a group of degenerates that are given super powers through technology," Wilson says. "I love those characters." There's even a link between H.A.R.D. Corps and Bloodshot — in later versions of the comic, Bloodshot was a member of the team.

Still, Wilson isn't thinking too much about a Bloodshot sequel just yet: "As far as how it all pans out in the future, who knows? Again, I keep my head down and just make the best movie I can and hope for the best."

Bloodshot is in theaters now.