Hollywood Has a Superhero Problem

Back in the 2000’s, when I first started going to the cinema the big releases of Superhero movies were a rare commodity. The first one I remember seeing (baring in mind my memory is terrible, so it is possible I saw one beforehand) was 2005’s Batman Begins. I went with school and I really enjoyed it, as I do to this day, to tell the truth Batman is my favourite comic book character (there’s probably a column in that someday.)

The year Batman Begins was released, 2005, only four movies based off mainstream comic were released. Conversely, last year NINE comic book movies were released that’s one comic book movie every 5.7 weeks (hooray for calculators).

Therein lies the problem, we’re being inundated with superhero/comic book movies faster than we can digest them, it’s overkill and what’s more, with Infinity War on the horizon and DC’s universe staggering on, it doesn’t look likely that they’re going to slow down.

I took the liberty of looking up what comic book movies are currently slated for release this year and in total there is scheduled to be another nine movies to add to the increasing total, and that isn’t taking into account straight-to-DVD animated releases, otherwise I could count to infinity (pun not intended).

The point I’m torturously trying to make is, the tidal wave of movies is potentially damaging not only to comic book movies themselves, but the movie industry as a whole. Hollywood now has a set precedent for how much they think these movies should make, it would only take a few high-profile flops for the kingdom to topple completely, leading to less being invested in genuinely interesting movies in favour of another production line Superhero film, mostly perfectly functional, but at this point, and with Marvel in particular, each movie just seems to serve as an advert for the next release, it’s all one deadly cycle, which is destined one day to backfire horribly.

Please don’t think I’m taking away from comic book movies, after all, my Top 10 of 2017 had no less than three comic book movies, so I understand if this rings somewhat hollow, but how can we enjoy these movies long term if we know there’s always a new one just around the corner?

The effect of the comic book movie is spreading too, you can’t seem to move now for ‘Movie Universes’ and it’s a worrying trend, as I say it only takes a few failures for the whole thing to fall apart. Take for example last years remake of ‘The Mummy’ before release it was touted to be the start of a so called ‘Dark Universe’ of films, yet upon release and it’s savaging at the hands of critics and audiences alike, this universe seems like it won’t be coming back anytime soon.

I’m not asking for a complete veto on comic book movies, I just think the producers should take a step back and determine if the movie they’re producing is actually a thing that’s worth making for artistic merit, rather than as an extremely expensive advert for the next movie.

After all, what would you rather have? A few comic book movies a year that make an impact, or a production line of movies that leave no lasting impact? Audience’s are sure to vote with their feet, and once they do, it’s bad news for all involved.

 

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