Tag Archives: superhero movies

Superhero Movies Face No Kryptonite as They Soar into 2018

A great year ahead for superhero movies.

Author: Anna Galich

When it comes to fighting for the share of a film audience, the battleground is extremely tough. However, amidst the blockbusters, period pieces, and Oscar fodder, one genre has risen above all others and against all odds reigned supreme both in terms of commercial success and cultural reception. That’s right, superhero movies provide us with some of the most lucrative and successful films in recent years, and their star is only going to continue to rise. But what does the future hold for superhero films? And will the current trajectory ever slow down?

Super Success

2017 was a good year for superhero flicks. According to Box Office Mojo Wonder Woman grossed $412,563,408, and was the 3rd highest grossing film of the year, while Thor: Ragnarok achieved $312,641,320 and 7th place, and Justice League closed out the Top 10. The success shows that superhero movies are still drawing in the public and achieving box office targets. As long as the targets are being met, the studios will still continue to produce films about superheroes. The first female-led superhero movie bolstered the position for DC, with Gal Gadot’s performance as Wonder Woman being highly praised – and with that success comes a possible new subgenre for countless other female superheroes who may have been overlooked over the years.

Hope for the Future

2018 looks to continue the rise of the superhero movie genre, with Avengers: Infinity War, Deadpool 2, and Ant-Man and the Wasp providing sequels of previously successful films. Based on the eponymous villain, Venom will offer an alternate view of the Spider-Man series – which itself received a revamp in 2017, replacing Andrew Garfield with Tom Holland for the Spider-Man Homecoming origin story. Revamps are common in the genre and actually in fitting with the comic books they are based on, which regularly kill off characters, such as when Spider-Man was killed in 2012 only to be revived again. The trick the studios have to pull is to stick to the genre’s roots while finding new and exciting ways to explore superhero backstories and mythos.

Fresh Meat

But with the regurgitation of heroes in sequel after sequel (Iron Man and Captain America both have 3 films each, with appearances in crossovers and the everyone-involved Avengers films), and the retelling of the same story (Spider-Man has had 3 different actors; Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland in only 15 fifteen years), there leaves little space for new superheroes to change the genre up. However, one hero, whose exploits were documented in the 1986 movie Highlander, is in the pipeline for a remake. The remake will introduce newer fans to the character, who already has a fan base and in niche areas even appeared as a popular game on the homepage of Betway Casino, featured as an online slot game. The game features content from the classic franchise and can give you a sense of how popular the movie (directed by Chad Stahleski of John Wick fame) will be.

Superhero movie franchises abound.

Franchise and Fans

The superhero movie continues to see a positive return at the box office due to the franchise nature of the genre. The films are based on premises, not plots, which are conducive to expanded arcs, backstories, and fleshed out worlds of characters long forgotten in comic books. As many are based on comic books, which have established audiences, and come from a genre, which also has dedicated fans, studios are more likely to produce superhero movies due to the likelihood of a higher turnout. The established fan base could explain why so many superhero films are given the green light, but easy fans wouldn’t account for the genuine financial success the films achieve.

Marvel vs DC

The Marvel vs DC battle, which dominates the comic world, and has begun to dominate the world of cinema, is another factor that keeps superhero films alive. If only one franchise existed, filmmakers could grow complacent and produce subpar stories knowing people will watch them. The healthy competition and so-called battle the companies are involved in helps keep each franchise fresh in order to stay ahead of the competition. With DC’s release of the Wonder Woman film, Marvel are already considering further exploring Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow in her own feature. The character starred in many of her own comics, which explored the backstory revealed in Age of Ultron. The opening of major action movies to female leads provides a wealth of avenues that the superhero films can go down – just don’t mention Halle Berry’s 2004 flop as Catwoman!

The Comic Book Industry

The superhero genre of films also helps keep the comic book industry alive. By introducing fans to a character, they can then delve into the entire back catalogue of that character, and everything they have done before. Given that many started in the 1950s, fans potentially have a large amount of material to sift through, helping to build the franchise effect that keeps audiences interested film after film.

The superhero genre, after years of hard work and failed attempts, has finally solidified itself as the head of the box office and a creator of sure-fire hits. The future of the genre looks bright, and filmmakers have to just decide which aspect to focus on. While flops can still occur, the unwavering success of the last spate of films shows just how successful the genre actually can be.

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under Comics, Commentary, Guest Column, movies, superhero movies, Superheroes, Superman

Movie Review: ‘Fantastic Four’

Fantastic-Four-2015

Critics have not been kind and I don’t think there’s anyone holding their breath expecting this latest “Fantastic Four” movie to blow them away. Given the appeal of superhero movies, this movie could end up a top grosser for 2015.

Miles Teller in happier and crazier times in "Whiplash"

Miles Teller in happier and crazier times in “Whiplash”

Miles Teller as Reed Richards, the super elastic leader of Marvel’s very first superteam. Sound like a stretch? Well, I don’t know. I figured Miles capable of anything. Maybe if Miles Teller had been provided with a drum set and a maniacal band director, then we would have gotten something truly out of this world. But we can’t really blame Miles. It’s the script that takes us down a long and ponderous road which no superhero fan, let alone any moviegoer, should be made to endure.

Fantastic-Four-Miles-Teller

How do you like your comics? Dark? Light? With just a smidgen of sugar? Well, it’s not like you can turn this into a recipe and then hope for the best. That’s the crux of the problem. We’re just not seeing the love for the Fantastic Four in this latest effort to get it right. When in doubt, create a origin story, right? No, if anything else, just create a great story. Haven’t we all been on this superhero franchise road long enough to deserve that?

Great production but a tedious story at best. Ah, well. People will say it’s the Fantastic Four curse. But all it would take is a great story and that can still happen in the future. Well, maybe. Just take Jonathan Hickman’s recent run on FF and you shouldn’t go wrong. Wasn’t “Guardians of the Galaxy” sort of a gamble? A very calculated gamble but still these were totally unknown characters to the general public. And it worked! And it’s working with “Ant-Man.” Unfortunately, when it comes to the FF universe, Hollywood tightens up when it should relax.

“Fantastic Four” ends up a shining reminder that even superhero movies have their ups and downs. Having taken the time to catch an early screening, I have to say that I came away disappointed. This movie seems to take itself seriously with long-drawn-out explorations of each character. But, at the end of the day, there is little to no story and no one to really root for.

6 Comments

Filed under Comics, Fantastic Four, Marvel Comics, Movie Reviews, movies