To Marvel and DC: Superhero Cinema needs reinventing

We’ve had enough of Avenging, not to mention ‘that hunky Wayne guy’.

To Marvel and DC: Superhero Cinema needs reinventing
Robert Downey Jr., immortalised as Iron Man

Superhero Cinema is undoubtedly one of the most popular film genres today, with both Marvel and DC producing many billion dollar blockbusters. One of the films in the catalogue, you must certainly know, became the highest grossing film of all time. So, what’s my problem? No, I’m not obsessed with Scorsese, and the prolixity of his films. I don’t think superhero movies are like ‘amusement parks’. I actually think they’re brilliant. So, again, what’s my problem? It’s what I like to call, ‘Hollywood Syndrome’: the habit of retreading old ground over and over again, with sequels, spin-offs, and reboots.

This year, both the juggernauts of superhero cinema have many films slated for release; Marvel has ‘Black Widow’ lined up for its 2020 summer blockbuster, and an all new line up heroes intended to replace the now non-existent Avengers, ‘The Eternals’. DC, on the other hand, has a staunchly feminist, empowering romp featuring the ‘Birds of Prey’ on the way, alongside ‘WW84’, revisiting Wonder Woman, beautiful Greek goddess with no apparent flaw whatsoever. It is obvious that these are all cash grabs, as they either revisit characters that are DEAD, or just have the same storylines as previous films; ‘The Eternals’ is an Avengers cop-out, and ‘Birds of Prey’ is basically ‘Deadpool’ with a feminist touch. Now, I understand film studios need profit, like all industries, and are not just intent on making works of art. But, maybe they should take a gamble, and walk away from these comic-immortalised characters. They should CREATE new characters, like no one has ever seen before, like Stan Lee and Jack Kirby did. This era of superhero cinema was fantastic, an ode to the creations of the original comic creators. But we need new creators, new characters, and a new era of superhero cinema. We’ve seen Marvel and DC venture deep into their respective mythologies, but it’s time to switch our focus; Welcome to the era of the ‘intimate superhero story’.

All the stories we have read and watched have been centred around people you couldn’t meet in everyday life. In that respect, they follow the rule of the dramatic tragedy. But, as Marlowe defied these conventions with ‘Dr Faustus’, I too am passionate about defying the typical superhero blockbuster expectation. It would surely be refreshing to see heroes with powers to be just like us, with flaws and faults, that drive them to do things we all want to do; things so taboo, we would run for the hills. To blur the line between heroes, and villains, to make them one. Everyone is the hero and villain of their own story, and if we see that expressed on the big screen, it will revolutionise superhero cinema for the better.

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Akshay Anand

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