The State of Superhero Movies

Superhero movies are all the rage right now. Between the soon to be released Guardians of the Galaxy (which isn’t really a superhero movie but for the sake of argument let’s just say it is) and the recently released Captain America: The Winter Soldier, X-Men: Days of Future Past and The Amazing Spider-Man 2, that makes 4 this year alone. And that’s just Marvel characters. Over the next few years DC seem to be planning a shared universe of their own, similar to the Marvel Cinematic Universe over at Marvel Studios. So, all this begs the question, when is all this too much? When have we finally had enough of men in spandex beating up aliens?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love superhero movies. I love comic books and I love that all my friends know about these characters now and that I can actually talk to someone about Rocket Raccoon. Tell me that 3 years ago and I would have laughed you out of the room! However, the sheer volume of these movies really worries me. How long is it before moviegoers get bored of superheroes? It’s happened before, look at the state of found-footage movies! Name a big, blockbuster found-footage film that’s come out in the last year. Those things used to be all over the place! Every so often Hollywood becomes enamoured with a trend and ever since superhero movies started making mega-bucks, Hollywood studios have subjected us to adaptation after adaptation after adaptation. Again, I’m a huge fan of these movies but you’ve got to admit there’s some serious issues with this kind of plan. Moviegoers aren’t the same as comic book fans and more importantly, it costs a hell of a lot more time and money to see a movie than to read a comic book. Reading a comic book is a €4, 10 minute commitment, seeing a movie is a tenner and at least an hour and a half. Pretty big difference, right? Plus, the deeper you delve into the plethora of comic book stories, the more ridiculous stuff gets. I mean we’re dealing with the medium that gave us not only masterpieces like Watchmen and All-Star Superman, but comic books also gave us Quilt Man. And Vibe. At what point do we run out of classic stories like “Days of Future Past” to adapt? One of the biggest challenges for these filmmakers is getting us comic book people on side. To do that they usually take elements from existing stories right? There’s a finite list of good existing stories though. Eventually we’re going to have to start scraping the bottom of the barrel and believe me, no one wants to be around when we start scraping the bottom of this barrel.

Superhero Movies

So when do movie audiences stop going? I really have no idea. And neither do the people pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into these movies. These studios are trying to get their movies out as fast as possible so that they make as much money as possible while this fad is at its strongest. And that’s perfectly okay. Until 5 studios start doing that at once. Then it’s what’s known as a complete clusterfuck. By no means do I want people to stop making superhero movies (although if Warner Bros. could make better ones that’d be great) but please, please slow it down. Marvel Studios recently announced that they’d be releasing 5 movies, bringing the total for this timeframe up to 7, between 2017 and 2019. 7 movies. And that’s just Marvel studios. We’ll get at least one X-Men film, 2 Spidey movies, and probably a Fantastic Four flick too. And god only knows how many  DC movies we’ll get. That means, in all probability, we’ll get at least 11 superhero movies in 3 years. 11. Think about that. Do you honestly and truly believe the average moviegoer will see every one of those? It’s pretty unlikely if you ask me.

Look, genre films will always exist it’s true but for the most part (ASM 2 I’m looking at you) this year’s movies have been great. The real problem will arise when the quality drops. Someday, one of these movies is going to fail. One is going to flop eventually, it’s inevitable. And when that happens, will studios be willing to take risks on movies like GoTG? Will they even want to make superhero movies at all? Will the fad die out? We don’t know, but is this constant bombardment of superheroes really worth that risk? Wouldn’t it be better to just slow it down and wait a little longer to see your favourite heroes on the big screen, rather than risk them never making it at all?

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