As a self confessed geek it probably isn’t wise for me to say that, in recent years, I have grown extremely tired of the superhero genre.
Now before everyone runs at me with pitchforks and torches please hear me out, this only really relates to film. I have found it much easier to enjoy recent TV series of the same genre, particularly Marvel’s Jessica Jones and Marvel’s Agent Carter. Both of these shows do have the science fiction element, as expected with Marvel, but they have more of a sense of gritty crime drama about them, which I personally much prefer, and they don't get in the way like the films do - I’ll expand on that thought later, don't worry.
However recent superhero films have left me with a sort of apathy towards them. It's reached the point that I’m just not interested anymore!
Now, I’m not going to lie to you, the last superhero film I saw was Ant-Man back in July (I have not, and will not see the new so called Fantastic 4 - the reviews told me enough) and I actually thought it was pretty decent. I even have the poster on my wall! It was well acted, funny and from a technical standpoint very well made. But looking back on it, whilst one of the stronger entries from Marvel, it does just feel like yet another run of the mill origin story, and whilst I understand why they make origin stories, I’d rather they’d just skip that. It has been done to death now… I’m looking at you Spider-man! I can’t help but feel Netflix would be the best place for an origin story…
My main gripe with this genre is just how big and ‘important’ they've become and I feel they are getting in the way of smaller, better films in terms of marketing and then later at the box office. I believe Simon Pegg sums it up perfectly. Although he's referencing Star Wars here, he is talking about how these blockbusters seem to dominate Hollywood:
“Before Star Wars, the films that were box-office hits were The Godfather, Taxi Driver, Bonnie and Clyde, and The French Connection—gritty, amoral art movies. Then suddenly the onus switched over to spectacle and everything changed.”For example, Whiplash - my favourite film of 2015 (released in the UK in January 2015) and one of the finest pieces of cinema I’ve seen in a very long time - made a measly $2.4 million at the UK box office, whereas Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron (released in May 2015) made a whopping $76.6 million in the UK. Now, these didn’t exactly come out around the same time but there is a point here. It does seem that the general public are more interested in these loud, clichéd and banal movies and don't seem to appreciate more stimulating and thought provoking cinema which deserves more audiences than it gets.
I wonder how box office figures for the film adaptation of the iconic TV series Dad’s Army will compare to this year’s superhero films. I don't think it will do too well if I’m honest. I have seen little promotion and it’s come out so close to Deadpool which, I can’t lie, has had a phenomenal advertising campaign. But again, that stresses my point! These superhero films seem to get great promotion and not unexpectedly overshadow all of the smaller films. The ones which I’d much rather go and see.
Of course, having said all this, I will undoubtedly go and see some of the new superhero films coming out purely because I like to see a variety throughout the year.
I will see Deadpool because it seems different and more adult and I am hoping to be surprised by it. It may be surprising to hear that I am a big Batman fan (he is my favourite and I love the Chris Nolan films, and the Tim Burton ones will always have a place in my collection) but I couldn’t care less about Batman vs Superman. It just seems unnecessary to me, and I am not particularly interested in Civil War either.
As for Suicide Squad, this is one that I am actually greatly anticipating because it looks like it could be an awful lot of fun and I am intrigued to see just how dark DC might take it. And Doctor Strange I’ll probably see it because I like Benedict Cumberbatch… but that's about it really…
I’ve struggled to put my issues about this genre into words for a long time now and find it much easier to express when having an in-person conversation with someone, so I hope this made some sort of sense. But if it didn’t I shall sum up my feelings towards superhero films… I just don't care about them anymore and I feel the same with all of ‘comedies’ the studios keep churning out too. They’re getting in the way of interesting films and proper cinema experiences that are more worthy of the cost of a cinema ticket. That’s how I feel anyway.
To quote Clark Gabie in Gone With the Wind:
"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn"Nick is a 2000 year old alien who travels through time and space, saving the good and conquering the evil... or so he likes to think.