The end of the Superhero Movie Age?

Let’s just get one straight here- It’s really a good time to be a geek now. Now that we have acknowledged this, let’s move on. Can someone please explain to me what the major Hollywood studios are doing now? The popularity of the superhero blockbusters began with the X-men in the new millennium, was further cemented by Sony’s 2003 Spiderman release, made even popular by Nolan and his take on the Batman mythos and the final nail on the coffin- 2008’s The Dark Knight and Iron man, DC and Marvel movie respectively. And thus was started a beautiful war between Marvel and DC where they tried to outdo each other every time, with Marvel having the upper hand for now. And geeks all over the world rejoiced. As if Steve jobs and Apple didn’t make them popular enough, now everyone wanted to be a geek. Jocks included. Heck, there were even girls who pretended to know and/or give a crap about superhero movies- this was unthinkable a few years back and a hot girl approaching you and talking about superhero movies just existed as a fantasy in nearly every geek’s head. But I’m digressing…

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I’m no geek- I have not read the comics, even the popular ones. I’m just a fan of the movies and a recent convert. Which only made the process of enjoying movies for me much better- hey, what was Marvel trying to say when they showed a clip of a hammer stuck to the ground in the post credits scene of Iron Man 2? Thor? THE Thor? You mean the Norse god is also a Marvel character? And he is getting his own movie? And what was Nolan trying to imply by letting Gordon give Batman a Joker playing card in a plastic bag? Evidence left by a major Batman villain? And Jack Nicholson played this character in a Tim Burton Batman movie? And it was good?! Oh and can you explain to me what Stark meant by “assembling a team”, something that he said to General Ross at the end of “The Incredible Hulk”? A Superhero team?! And they are getting their own movie? This really is the best time to be alive!

So the process of discovering comic books and finding out more about its rich history was a really fun and thrilling process for me. I just couldn’t get enough of them and I devoured every article and news I could find about them, watched the old movies even the obscure, unheard ones like Sam Raimi’s Darkman, the 1978 Doctor Strange movie, the first Punisher movie and so on. Being a newbie to this genre has also made me like movies that most comic book nerds just love to hate like the Man of Steel movie, X Men origins- Wolverine or even the Green Lantern movie that stars Ryan Reynolds and have strong opinions about this genre. I love this genre and I want more of which is why I’m a tad bit concerned that all of this might just implode.

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Bringing me back to the question I asked earlier- Can someone please explain to me what the major Hollywood studios are doing now? As in why Marvel announced what could be the entire Phase 3 of the cinematic universe? Why DC is trying to emulate Marvel by trying to create a cinematic universe of their own? I mean, why the sudden interest all of a sudden, huh? Because you want similar profits? A slice of the cake? Is that the only reason? Is that why you are teaming Batman and Superman together, not for the sake of bringing these legendary characters to the big screen for the first time but just for the sake of attracting more audience goers? And what are you even doing, Sony? A Spider Gwen movie? Sinister Six? Venom? Carnage? An Aunt May movie?! Yet another unnecessary reboot?!! Do you even know what to do with your one cash cow? Let’s not talk about Sony right now. As I said before, this really is a great time to be alive as a geek but we have nearly 40+ Marvel and DC movies to be released over the next 5-6 years- this after not counting now Sony’s ruined plans of a Spiderman-centric universe. Since when did cinemas studios just start planning movies like that? It bother me greatly- when Jon Favreau was roped in by Marvel to direct Iron Man, the sole intention they had was to just create a good movie that the audience would enjoy and if possible, leave room for a sequel. Now Marvel is just dicking us around by announcing too much thereby ruining the element of surprise. A two part Avengers movie? Really?! I love spoilers but I also enjoy not knowing what to expect. A part of me enjoys the occasional surprise that, when revealed would make me jump in my chair a bit. Now I know exactly what to expect from Marvel-

phase 3 And I also know that Chadwick Boseman will play Black Panther, will make a cameo in Captain America, Benedict Cumberbatch will play Doctor Strange, and Ultron and his movie won’t really matter because of the civil war and the arrival of Thanos. Meanwhile on the DC side, we have the trinity sharing the screen for the first time which could later lead to a justice league movie starring Ezra Miller as The Flash and a Suicide Squad movie with Viola Davis who if confirmed could star in multiple DC movies. They haven’t decided much yet because “Batman v Superman; Dawn of Justice” is too risky a bet. But we have Fox who are currently making X men movies which will try to wipe out their old X-men movies; Deadpool and Gambit movies are already announced, X force and Cable is an idea they are toying with and then there’s Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four- a movie that could be so shitty, we haven’t even had an official plot synopsis, first look, nothing and even then they are talking about a sequel. All of this scares me a little and makes me apprehensive about the future of the superhero age because it’s all just a bit too much. It’s all happening a bit too quickly, don’t you think? I now really don’t feel like going to watch these movies because they just sound more like an excuse to make more money by being a continuation to another story which you have to watch if you want to understand it all and keep up with this growing set of cinematic universes rather than an original, fresh take on something that is bound to entertain and enthral you. Marvel’s recent announcement doesn’t really excite me because; of the ten movies they have released so far, only three of them, in my opinion could be considered to be exciting or entertaining in any way- Iron Man, Guardians of the Galaxy and The Winter Soldier. Excluding these three, the rest of their movies were either fillers or average introductions to characters who would play a crucial part in Marvel’s The Avengers- a sub average movie that had nothing new in terms of characters and their growth, lack of a proper story way too much unnecessary boring action, numerous plot holes and a convenient ending that wrapped up all loose endings. And with the exception of The Winter Soldier which was more of a brilliant political thriller than a super hero movie, Marvel’s sequels like Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World were just plain boring, were mere fillers and did nothing to excite you in any way. They just conveniently wasted a good chunk of your time and did nothing for you except for teasing the next boring Marvel movie. Phase 3 doesn’t even excite me because a) Though it contains a lot of new introduction movies like Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel, Black panther and The Inhumans, a lot of us don’t really want to sit through an introduction movie yet again- these movies just hold the promise that they could be good because Iron Man and Guardians of the Galaxy were good and b) Marvel’s concluding chapter of Phase 3, “Ant Man”’ a movie that looks so similar to all other previous Marvel movies, it could also ruin their phase 3 plans if it becomes Marvel’s first flop and it looks like it could be- it’s cliché ridden trailer didn’t really excite me or most of the others who make up the general audience unlike “Avengers: Age of Ultron”.

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DC on the other hand just wants to cash in on this sudden public interest in super hero movies and hence they have decided to unleash their big guns all at ones thereby literally putting all their eggs in one basket. Why else would Batman be in the movie and share the title of the so called “Man of Steel” sequel? To save the movie, of course. I loved “Man of Steel” but most didn’t but it made money and DC knows that yet another poorly received movie will set them back for a long time and even yet another reboot way down the line wouldn’t save them- hence, Batman because he was loved by people in the Nolan trilogy. But that’s a very risky bet! And rebooting the Joker in the Suicide Squad movie with Jared Leto is a bit too quick- a lot of us are still in love with “The Dark Knight” and Heath Ledger and that’s how it’s gonna be for quite some time now. And if you still really need to do that then why don’t you give him his own movie? He deserves it. Why put him in a Suicide Squad movie? It doesn’t matter if Joker is a part of it or is really making an appearance- he is only there to boost sales and attract audiences and reluctant fans and besides it’s confusing. You already have a Suicide Squad in “Arrow” CW’S TV series. Do we need a cinematic representation of this unheard of squad?

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With a lot of studios trying to emulate Marvel’s success formula by creating their own cinematic universes, soon enough it’ll get very hard to keep track of all these interlinking sequels between superheroes from different studios, the sequels, reboots and finally, there will come a time when people will just stop giving a crap. And the first crack of this dam could be cause by Marvel themselves for all we know. Do you really want to know why Guardians of the Galaxy succeeded? Because although it was a Marvel movie, it had no prior connection to the previous movies. It was just a space movie with quirky, odd ball characters whose reinterpreted take appealed to the audiences and it also promised a fun, relaxed time with light hearted, laughable moments- no seriousness, none of that gritty, dark style that was popularized by Nolan. Refreshing, Original- it was really a breather and an escape from all the other usual, predictable sort of boring super hero movies. And that is what people want- an escape from reality which movies readily provide. It takes us to worlds that we could have never visited, worlds unlike ours. We as an audience want a break from reality. After the ridiculous, campy movies that were ended by “Batman and Robin”, audiences all over found it refreshing to see and experience a new take on a beloved character, a take that was realistic, dark and gritty. But with various imitators all around now we want a change again and are starting to prefer light hearted, fun material instead of this old tosh. What I really fear is that with Marvel and DC now planning movies way ahead of time, movies that now feels unoriginal and lacking creativity, they could….they might just bring an end to the superhero age for a very long time, possibly forever. And I just love superhero movies and the very concept of a cinematic universe to see that happen. My sincere request to you, Hollywood, is to please not screw up this genre. Don’t let it fade away or implode- do something about it. Stop trying to scrape the bottom of the barrel and throw everything you got against the wall in hopes that something will stick and make you money. Create something original, laud creativity, embrace new ideas and take risks- this is what got you your current success in the first place. Make original, independent movies that you yourself would love to watch- please stop creating rubbish. And while we are on the topic- seriously, Marvel? Lady Thor and Black Captain America?

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Seriously? With your 8000 superheroes both men and women, you try to change the sex and race of two popular characters in hopes of making a profit? With black characters like Luke Cage, Battlestar, Bedlam, Gabe Jones, Goliath, Patriot, Powerman, Wildstreak and so on, you take your one existing, popular black character and put him in the costume of your popular white character? What are you even doing? Hollywood- please do not ruin Super hero movies with your sequels, reboots and cinematic universes. Marvel- you have a good thing going on. You also have a chance to reinterpret and introduce new characters and stories. Do not screw things up. I’m new to this genre and I like this. Don’t mess it up before I even get a chance to experience it fully.

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One comment

  1. sharathvasistha · January 10, 2015

    Reblogged this on TheGreatStrange.

    Like

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