Superhero Overload

by Joel Fernandez

It seems that movies based on comic books have become a force of nature in Hollywood. At any given point, we can look on the calendar and see a queue of upcoming movies that are based on comic book heroes or anti-heroes. For a time, it seemed like there was no way this new phenomenon could be labeled as too much of a good thing. But now that we are ten years into the superhero bull market, it seems that things are taking a turn for the worse. Today’s discussion will be about how in movies, sometimes less is more.

Once upon a time, movies like The Dark Knight managed to captivate audiences by successfully blending superhero fantasy with gritty realism in a way that gave movie-goers a reason to believe that the superhero movie genre can be so much more than it had been in the past. In the past, the notion that a movie that is based on comic book characters could have such a profound impact on audiences in general seemed like a pipe dream. But here we are, in a world where even C-list superheroes and their corresponding super-villains get their own movies and subsequent spin offs.

On paper, it all sounds like a great idea. A steady amount of content gives movie-goers a chance to indulge in over the top fantasies and take a break from reality. Anecdotally, it gives the crew over at SpyGN and mediocre YouTube channels like The Slow and Dirty Prince Gaming a chance to talk as if they are experts at fantasizing. As mildly amusing as parasitic critics can be, we should not digress.

It can be argued that the superhero genre has become too bloated for its own good. The good movies are few and far between and the mediocre experience has become commonplace. The effort to make cinematic history that immortalizes the cast on film is simply not there anymore. It’s perfectly understandable that Hollywood executives see the film industry as a business. They have every right to try and capitalize on the fact that people go to the movies because they want to be distracted from their real lives. But it gets to the point where it seems that the film makers assume that the audience is full of morons even though not everyone actually is one.

Before you assume that we are jumping to conclusions, ask yourself one very important question. Does every superhero movie dialogue remind of the last one that you saw play out on a movie screen? If the answer is yes, than you have now begun to understand why the quality of comic book movies has been steadily declining over the last few years. There’s no problem with wanting to see your favorite characters duke it out while you’re in a CGI induced trance. The problem is that the oversaturation of the genre has numbed the minds of audiences to the point where excellence has become all too optional.

Even the movies that do financially well somehow find a way to fit into the forgettable category. Please understand that a movie’s opening weekend has more to do with marketing than the actual quality of the film. That way, you can avoid justifying a mediocre movie experience by pointing to the ticket sales. That is not to say that comic book movies should cease to exist entirely. It is still a great genre and will be for many years to come. But there has to be some kind of effort to avoid being brainwashed into thinking that any excuse to fly off to a spandex and caped filled fantasy land will suffice. For any of our readers who need the break from reality badly enough to watch every single superhero movie in theaters, please forgive our cynicism. If you can’t do without them, please continue seeing all of them for your own sake.

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