Article by: Diogo Martins
Comic book movies (or superhero movies) are starting to fade, even if just slightly. And that’s perfectly normal. I’m not talking about the Superman movies from the 70s or the Batman movies from 89 to 97. As you can see, I’m referring to the series of movies that started with Batman Begins and Iron Man.
Even though they gave us some pretty fantastic (Marvel) and serious (DC) pieces of entertainment, there is a feeling of exhaustion of this genre. And here are some of the reasons:
- The increasingly greater scope;
- The creation of cinematic universes;
- The unbelievable expectations, and resulting burnout of some people involved with these productions (Joss Whedon and Robert Downey Jr. for example);
- The battle of the above mentioned Marvel and DC, which is really just… pointless.
These are good reasons, but I think that the problem could stem from the fact that the familiarity brought by the theme and the fact that the fans – or a good portion of them – already knows a whole lot of the material that is produced – even though it may be an original take on the source – don’t really feel that awe that they may get from movies that are completely different, or just with an original story. Guardians of the Galaxy is the perfect example, which blew people away because it’s such an obscure property, and I had never even heard of it before its release.
And that made the movie so much more enjoyable. The feeling of being introduced to something new and something handled with a lot of comedy, love and care (and a green Zoe Saldana).
Batman v Superman was just released, and its reception is a perfect example to illustrate a point I want to, at least, try to make.
I liked the movie, and everything about it, that’s just my taste and opinion. But the reaction from the fans and critics was as black and white as it can get. Love, hate, up, down, this, that. Some of the said fans had a very interesting reaction regarding the upcoming DC cinematic universe. Especially that it was: too serious, too dark, too overstuffed with tie-ins for the movies that will follow.
My problem with this observation isn’t the critique of the tone. Not at all. I think it’s the perfect tone to take these characters and put them into a universe that is different but nonetheless very serious and ripe for interesting stories.
The reaction was more of a, shall I say, buckling of the seat belt.
Because people already know what is coming, oh they do. And it’s coming fast, and it’s going to hit hard (from both Marvel and DC). I’m not saying that the movies will be made just for the money (but it’s one reason for sure), or just to hold the rights to some of the characters (like Fant4stic). I’m saying that the companies making these movies know that there is a crowd for them, and know that they can use this to try out new strategies and IPs to the big screen.
Some succeed some fail. But even if they fail, they were made, and probably will never return (Green Lantern). Basically, whatever sticks, will stick, very likely, a whole lot of times. Iron Man is a great example. The first movie is very, very good. The sequels… it’s debatable, but the quality dropped, and I have a feeling that these sequels were made to hold people off until The Avengers and some other crossovers.
This, of course, causes people to feel that some of these are just placeholders for “the next real movie” and therefore feel that it cheapens the value of these movies. And, to some degree, it certainly does. But it’s the nature of the beast: we have to maintain their attention until we can pop another one of these out.
Anyway, these are some of the problems I see with this awesome, and young, genre of movies. I am excited for the upcoming DC universe (I like it more) and personally, and not judging at all, Marvel has lost its spark, and I don’t think that they will make another Iron Man or another Avengers.
But, I will still watch them. Because these are part of one of my favourite types of movies, and I will gladly watch and learn more about the characters, because some of them are very, again, interesting and charming (Black Widow, anyone?).
What about you? What side are you on?