SuperherNO: The Problem With Superhero Movies

If you take a look at the box office, you’ll notice that a strong plurality of recent movies made, especially within the past five to ten years, have been about superheroes. Marvel and DC Comics have invaded the silver screen and they won’t be leaving any time soon.

Superhero movies have always been popular. From Michael Keaton as Batman, to Val Kilmer as Batman, to Christian Bale as Batman, and to Ben Affleck as Batman, superhero movies have historically hit big in theaters. Everyone loves a story about a strong dude with superpowers (or a lot of money, in some cases) who beats up Nazis and makes jokes about sandwiches, or something like that. Who doesn’t want to see a relatable guy doing something incredible?

Production studios have learned this and they’ve taken advantage of it. Not so shockingly, within the past decade, there have been over 30 superhero movies released. And, I’m not counting any of the Batman Lego movies in that tally either. A whopping 29 of those movies were based on either Marvel or DC characters, including the Avengers, the Justice League, the Fantastic Four, and the X-Men to start. Also, at least six of those 29 were X-Men related movies. Just sayin’.

At least four more superhero movies will be released this year — Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok, and Justice League. Three of those are Marvel movies. In fact, Marvel has projected superhero movie releases until 2019, including two more Avengers movies — one in 2018 and one in 2019. A lot of people are excited about the volume of movies being released, but I’m more worried than anything else.

The Marvel crossover film franchise is kind of a mess. Since all of the main Avengers were introduced, they’ve found their way into every single movie following. With most movie series, to fully understand the movie, you have to have seen just the ones prior. So, theoretically, if you’ve seen The Avengers and The Avengers: Age of Ultron, you should be good to go see The Avengers: Infinity War when it comes out next year, right? Oh, if only. No, for these movies to make complete sense to you, you have to have seen all of them. And, by all of them, I mean the entire Marvel-Avengers franchise.

Where superhero movies used to be like love letters to the OG fans and fun for new fans to watch, they’ve turned into a financial fetish that cash-cow movie production companies like to get off on. Who cares about the plot anymore? Give the masses a 30-minute long fight sequence with no point whatsoever. That’s not enough? Throw in some CGI just because you can. That’ll keep ‘em coming!

In Captain America: Civil War, the airport fight sequence is 15-minutes long. That one sequence makes up for 10 percent of the whole two and a half hour movie. And, that’s just one fight sequence. Ten percent may not seem like a lot, but when you factor in the opening fight sequences, the fight in Bucharest, the final battle, and whatever scuffles in between, that averages out to at least half of the movie. So, you’ve just spent an hour and 15 minutes of your life watching a group angry man-boys and hypersexualized women punch each other in the face. Not to mention the unnecessary sexual tension between a random character you don’t know that much about and the CGI character that killed her brother that you had to witness. This may seem like a harsh analysis, but it’s what’s happened to our beloved heroes.

I don’t condemn the concept of superhero movies. I think superheroes are great. I love Superman, Starlord, Spider-Man. They’re great characters. It’s what the entertainment industry has turned them into that I’m condemning. I don’t think it’s right for production companies to be making so much money off of characters and plot that are loosely based on the traditional comic books. After each movie release, people complain about how the movie was nothing like the comic. People chastised Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker for being too awkward, and then chastised Andrew Garfield’s for not being awkward enough. But, it’s the shoddy workman who blames his tools. The production and writing behind the scripts doesn’t even begin to measure up with the way the traditional comics were written. Nevertheless, we should be able to have faith in these companies that they’ll create the best movies for us that they can. But, with the pace at which these companies are releasing these flicks, can we really trust them?

Superhero movies aren’t for the fans anymore. Why do you think you have to see all of the movies even remotely related to the franchise to understand the next? So, that you keep buying tickets. Movie production companies keep churning out these movies, because they know you’ll pay the $12.50 to watch a movie that you’ll leave still trying to figure out what they were actually fighting about. And, they know you’ll have to do this if you want to even think about seeing the “sequel.”

In summary, superheroes are great, but superhero movies are doin’ us dirty. It’s box office revenue that’s corrupted one of the purest forms of heroism we have left in this bleak world. We deserve better than the money-bait flicks flooding our theaters and taking over our silver screens. So, go ahead movie producers, make your superhero movies, but you damn well better make them right.