Your Voices: On Superhero Movies

your-voices

Your Voices is a simple concept created to encourage conversation and opinions between movie lovers. It works like this: I throw out a certain topic and I’ll take time to make my case or share my opinions. Then it’s time for Your Voices. Head to the comments section and let fellow readers and moviegoers know your thoughts on the topic for that day!

SUPER BATS

Lately there has been a lot of buzz regarding the oversaturation of superhero/comic book movies. Many people are starting to experience superhero fatigue thanks to the annual four or five films that hit theaters. It has really been an amazing thing to watch and no one at Marvel or DC could have anticipated these franchises to be so popular or so lucrative. But have they worn out their welcome? Are they becoming too routine and tiresome? Many moviegoers are beginning to think so.

Personally I’m not to that point yet mainly because most of the films we are getting have been good movies. They have been well made, well written, and a ton of fun. And while I understand the philosophy behind the fatigue, ultimately we are talking four or five movies a year out of over a hundred that hit theaters. That is a big number compared to other projects, but when it is considered as a genre, we get no more of them than we do raunchy comedies, rom-coms, etc. Could comic book films step outside of their obvious formula? Absolutely! But I’m still having a good time with them.

But my personal attachment to these characters could be slanting my position. I grew up reading comic books and I have a long and loving history with Batman, Captain America, and their fellow super-powered heroes and villains. That is why I think I am enjoying them still. They have been treated well on the big screen and that has translated well with me. But what about those who don’t have such a connection to them? Could their time have come and their welcome worn out?

YOUR VOICES: Are you still enjoying the annual superhero movies?

Now it’s time for Your Voices. With so many superhero movies to consider are you still having fun with them? Why do you like them? If you don’t, why do you dislike them and what could make them better? Please share Your Voices on today’s question. I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.

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40 thoughts on “Your Voices: On Superhero Movies

  1. Yeah, I’m still following them. I do think they are reaching a saturation point, though. Not in the same way of tiring of them — that is if they don’t slip in quality — but of crowding out other good original work not given an opportunity ‘cuz it doesn’t have a super-hero attached.

    • That’s a really interesting perspective that I haven’t pondered. I guess it could be said that filmmakers, actors, and studios are putting so much into these projects that keeps them from other things. Interesting.

  2. I’m enjoying it, definitely! I feel like the superhero genre has added primarily only good, well-made films over the past few years. Plus, they get to shine a light on some great comics they’re based off.

    However, I can understand those who tire of it a little. I get your point – we’re just going to get poorly made rom coms and raunchy comedies that add nothing to film except a weekend in the year to put butts in a seat. But I think part of the reason people are a little tired of the genre recently (and I feel similarly as well too) is that it’s not that there’s just been a lot of superhero movies made recently – it’s how big and popular they’ve become for the mainstream viewing population. A genre that used to be considered niche is no longer niche, and perhaps the overdone marketing of these films has exhausted some moviegoers.

    Overall though, I’m happy about it because I think a lot of great movies have come out of it, and I think it’s about time that film critics take this genre seriously :).

    • That’s another great point. The marketing puts them in front of everything else and that may not sit well with some. And I hadn’t thought of the reaction to them becoming mainstream entertainment.

      I’m with you though. I’m still having fun with them and as long as the quality is there I’m onboard.

      • Thanks, Keith! Perhaps it’s just me, but I think marketing for some projects has hurt my perspective of a movie (or series or genre) more than helped. I probably shouldn’t allow it to affect my opinion of the film, but as someone who is a Hunger Games and Frozen fan, my like of them has gone down with the overabundance of shares and likes and people’s obsession with them.

        I enjoyed reading this post because it’s thoughtful about a very current trend in movies right now. I actually recently wrote a post about trends in movies, and I included the superhero genre in the list.

        I feel like I need to write another All Eyes On Bloggers edition soon, because between yours and Ruth’s superhero genre posts, it’s become a great topic of conversation among bloggers. I did link to one of your more recent posts in my first edition – I hope you received a notification for it!

    • I agree that critics still don’t take superhero movies seriously yet. The Best Picture category at the oscars was expanded to 10 to include movies like The Dark Knight. And it wasn’t even included in the nominations! Movies like TDK and The Avengers were movie of the year quality, but because critics still think it is still a niche genre like you said, they won’t even consider them a contender for more than special effects.

  3. I also grew up with the comics of the 80’s and cant ever get enough of these superhero movies.

    I say as long as they continue to make quality movies, they should keep at it!

    Great topic Keith!

    • Exactly. That’s my opinion in a nutshell. I am so attached to these characters and their rich histories. As long as the movies respect them and are high quality, I’m all over them.

      • I’m waiting for them to delve into some of the more obscure superheroes that most non-comic book readers have no clue about. Would love to see Captain Atom, Waverider, Sgt. Rock and Fury, Booster Gold, Legion of Superheroes and lots more on screen. Moviegoers have finally embraced the genre and there are so many great characters in both the DC and Marvel universes that there is no need to just stay with the mainstream characters we all know and love.

      • Sgt. Rock seems perfect for the big screen treatment. Man I grew up LOVING Rock and Easy Company. Captain Atom, Hawkman, The Inhumans, Thunderbolts, so many other great ones would be great to see get good, respectful big screen treatment.

      • I think they have started production one on sgt rock with arnie, but something fell thru. Lets hope for some great years ahead of us with this genre

  4. I think many of those who claim to be tired of them either aren’t actually watchin them or are watching the ones that are most similar. And I’m obviously not tired of them or I’d be closing up shop!

  5. I think if the recent superhero movies haven’t done the source material justice I would feel differently, but I have been greatly digging the exploding popularity of the superhero genre. It seems like ever since Iron Man came out in 2008, Marvel, Sony, Fox, and DC have stepped up their game and produced some beautiful, action-packed movies that tell good stories (some of the earlier attempts were a little iffy). I’ve been enjoying most the fact that others are starting to have fun and like characters that I have liked for years in the comics.

    And the whole shared cinematic universe that Marvel has created and others (like DC) have started to imitate is crazy awesome! Again, being the comic fan that I am, it’s so much fun to find easter eggs referencing the studio’s other movies.

    The only problem that I have witnessed, maybe it’s because it has happened with sequels, is that because the movies become so intertwined with each other, it can be difficult for those who don’t keep up to easily jump into the story without first investing time to watch one or more of the other films.

    If you think about it, the superhero genre is one of the most successful movie genres. Not just based on box office numbers, but because for as many films that have been released over the last, let’s say decade, many have received above average or better ratings. Not many genres can claim that. Once (if!) superhero films start dipping in quality, then I will have a problem with it.

    • Exactly, exactly, exactly. You make so many points that mirror my thoughts. I think my affection for the characters combined with the high quality of the productions make them incredibly enjoyable experiences. As you said, if the quality dips then there is a problem.

      If I did have a gripe it would be in the familiar formula that we see in every one of these films for the most part. The story starts off, then we have a point where things look unwinnable, then we have a 20 minute CGI heavy showdown. If you look closely at the movies, 90% of them follow that formula. I would love to see that changed up a bit.

      • But if you think about it, many hero movies, not necessarily SUPERhero movies, follow that same formula. Not always with heavy CGI, but some sort of action heavy sequences. It’s a tried-and-true story telling technique.

      • You’re right. I just think was so many in this particular genre it would be interesting to have a little variety. The Dark Knight was very unique in the way it ended.

      • Give it another ten years. When the genre is as saturated as other genres, I don’t think that will be an issue anymore. 😛

        Yea, TDK left things in a very peculiar place. Similarly, I think that is one of the reasons I enjoyed The Incredible Hulk, because it didn’t do the normal origin story. It still had the whole near impossible fight stuff, but it was able to get into the story quicker because it spent a few minutes (and the opening credits sequence) explaining the Hulk’s origin, rather than spend half the movie showing it.

  6. If a character is well served by a story, and there is something inventive, creative, or interesting in the plot, then a Superhero story is worth telling. I get worn out when the last twenty minutes is simply urban destruction on a massive scale and there is nothing resolved. X-Men Days of Future Past and Captain America: The Winter Soldier went a little beyond simply stopping this month’s destruction of the world. There were creative energies put into a plot line. One of the reasons that Guardians worked for me is that it is a different Universe, the final battle is more than just two foes throwing down, and the characters in the story are treated with some distinction. (I barely think of it as a Super hero film, to me it is more of a Sci Fi/Fantasy film) The last two Iron Man movies on the other hand, feel repetitive. The same with the second Thor film. The Avengers helped overcome this because of the combination of characters and the merging of ideas. The Dark Knight Rises probably ended the series at the right time because we were back to the same “destroy Gotham” mantra that got us started. It can’t just be, Raise the stakes and throw in some new villains, Otherwise you get the last Spiderman movie and that was not good.

    • It'[s amazing how you reflect my same thoughts on almost every movie you point to (both positively and negatively). As for Guardians, I too saw it more as fantasy sci-fi.

  7. While I agree that the quality of comic book films is pretty good and high, just the fact that they’re doing so well at the box office just makes me feel that as long as they do, we’re going to be seeing more and more of them, and studios will be less willing to spend money on perhaps a more original film. Dunno, think I’m reaching saturation point. Especially with the sheer amount of comic book adaptations popping up on TV this fall season.

    • You could be right although I will say this, if the quality does drop they will lose a lot of defenders like me. If all of the movies start plodding along like the recent Spider-man movie I will be checking out. I really hope that doesn’t happen.

  8. I grew up on 80s comics, too, so no I’m not tiring of superhero movies at all. However, and I mentioned this on Ruth’s blog, I am tiring of all the hype surrounding every little stage of development for each movie. I really don’t need daily updates on movies that are a year or two away. It’s to the point where I can’t get online without hearing some update about Superman vs. Batman, find some speculation about Avengers 2, or whatever other superhero flick is in the works. I suspect a lot of people are the same. Give me the movies all you want, just stop with the ridiculous amounts of unnecessary information. Instead of building anticipation the way studios want, it’s building dread as every “leaked” tidbit is endlessly speculated over. For instance, to go back to the Supes/Bats movie, had they announced it and went and made the movie without saying anything else, I’d be jumping out of my skin waiting for it and would’ve been among the first in line when it finally made it to theaters. Now, I know so much about it, and most of it sounds so bad, I’m hesitant to say I’ll see it in theaters at all. Even if it didn’t all sound bad, I’d still be tired of hearing about it because there is so much talk about it. Now I’m ranting. Suffice it to say, I love the movies, I just wish everyone would shut up about them at least until we’ve seen them and know if they’re any good or not.

    • Yep, I know what you’re saying. I’ve gotten to where I don’t read any ‘news’ leading up to big movies like that. Star Wars is getting the same treatment. It’s really annoying.

  9. As long as they’re good films then I’ll keep seeing them. I love superhero characters so I’m reasonably forgiving when it comes to the films. I saw Guardians of the Galaxy the other day and thought it was fantastic and one of my favourite superhero films so far.

  10. If they keep the quality at at-least good then I don’t see them falling away. Am sure they’ll have to pull back a bit though. You can’t have 4 studios releasing 2 superhero films each a year, there’s not enough audience to support 8 big budget superhero films and every other film coming out.

    That being said if I recall Warner Bros. had a plan that for each year they’d release one big budget superhero film and one medium budget film, which would be something new. Not all superheroes need $200M budgets 😀

    • I really like that Warner Brothers idea. Marvel is in a different boat. Those early locked deals for the X-Men, Spider-Man, and Fantastic Four franchises have come back to bite them.

  11. I’m definitely not growing tired. Each character has a wealth of history to draw from so we can be assured of quality stories. The money is there to bring them to life on screen. My favorite part is the intertwining of all the story lines, so you aren’t just watching a superhero movie (many times), you’re watching part of a larger story woven into many other films.

    To be honest, the multitude of superhero flicks have actually made me keep a closer eye for independent or unique films out there so I don’t get to a point where I’m watching nothing but superheroes duke it out.

    • Yep, I’m with you on everything you said. There is sooo much material in the histories of these characters. There is a ton the can draw from and that is exciting. Just maintain the quality of the films and everything should be just fine.

  12. I doubt that those who say they are tired will actually stop them watching, cause they’re good entertainment, not flawless but good entertainment regardless. Additionally no-one says you have to watch all the superhero films, just the films which have a hero/character you particularly like.

    • That’s my thinking as well. There’s no law stating that you have to watch every one of them. Marvel does reward that with the interconnectivity of their cinematic universe but there are those you can skip if they don’t interest you.

  13. I’ve never really been into them so I mostly don’t bother. I did like The Avengers and all The X-Men movies but I think that’s because they have such good characters. Other they’re just boring.

    • I know several people who share your perspective. They don’t really have ‘superhero movie fatigue’ because they never watched or cared for the films to start with. Ha

    • I mention that very complaint in my recent review of Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s absolutely legitimate. That is one thing that I (as a fan of the genre) would like to see change.

  14. Never have been a huge comic book movie fan. I do check them out, but usually when they’re out on dvd. Don’t think they are oversaturating the movies with them.

    • It’s interesting to hear from someone that doesn’t really have a long time connection with them. Honestly, I can understand where you may grow tired of them. It’s hard for me to gauge whether it’s my past love for them that’s carrying me on or what.

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