Superhero Movies: When Will They End?
A Conversation on Superhero Films, and the Threat of Oversaturation
Cast your mind back 10 years. Obama was running for President, Freddos were 20p, and no one of the common film going audience had heard of Iron Man.
Today, in modern cinema, Robert Downey Jr has help make the character one of the most popular in the genre.
Captain America is another, known purely for punching Hitler in the face. Chris Evans and the Russo brothers have moulded him into a freedom fighting face for change.
With the release of Justice League and Avengers: Infinity War within close proximity of each other, the idea of reinvention becomes a factor. Many genres have done this. Sci-fi went from space to dystopia, horror went from slasher to psychological, and Rom Com's went from happy to "realistic" endings, La La Land being one example.
Superhero movies have started to do this, genre bending and re-imagining characters to update the story and keep the audience interested. Logan is the most recent to do this, with positive reviews to boot. This has me hopeful for a diverse slate of films over the next few years, proving that breaking the "Marvel origin story" formula can be done, proving that ensemble films are entertaining, but can be over bearing if shown too much.
Justice League suffers from a severe lack of leadership, both in front and behind the camera. With no real direction creatively we were left with a bunch of characters we didn't know (in terms of the film's narrative), and and a story we had already seen twice done by Marvel, and done somewhat better.
In my opinion, DC has better comic stories and characters, spanning over 50 years. Warner Bros had an opportunity to show us something different, and they did that with Man Of Steel, Batman v Superman, and Wonder Woman. But, despite them performing well at the box office, they give us films like Suicide Squad and Justice League, two films that were thrown together and tossed around to appeal to the masses. This was a mistake. The beauty of these characters is the diversity. When you take that away, you're left with a husk of what was once a great ensemble.
Over saturation is a thing, and we're dangerously close to it. Infinity War was great, but what then? Avengers 4 seems to be more of the same, which at this moment is fine—the story has to conclude somewhere, but my worry is that it's a ball of string that never stops unraveling. How do they continue the MCU? Do we go back to the origin story formula, having to learn and get attached to new characters? I'm excited for Captain Marvel. The characters great, the cast is great, and it's something we haven't seen before. But it seems to be another origin story. Sometimes things are best left as open questions.
As of this article, Todd Phillips' The Joker movie has seemingly begun productionl this excites me. Elseworld and one off stories, I believe, is the future of this genre. Telling the story of a character you know, through different eyes and perspectives, gives me hope that we can have polarizing experiences in the cinema. Films can start conversations, instead of being run of the mill 3-set action films where the hero always wins. Again, that's why Logan is so special. Why not do Superman: Red Son, Kingdom Come,Spider-Man 2099, Spider-Verse? I could list hundreds of alternate Spider-people from the comics, and pigs.
Point being, I love these movies, and I'm grateful they're so popular and keep getting made, I just want to watch something that is going to shock me, and with exception to a couple, I'm pretty underwhelmed.