Debate of the Day: Where Do Superhero Movies Go From Here?

This spring/summer marks the release of two of the biggest superhero movies well…ever. The Avengers is out Friday, and The Dark Knight Rises in July. I just posted a brand new trailer for that film an hour ago, and I suggest you check it out if you haven’t yet.

The Avengers is the result of more than half decade of features, Marvel making each piece in a cog that leads up to this grand amalgam of its heroes. In short, it’s about as big as superhero movies get. The Dark Knight Rises is Nolan/Bale’s last Batman film, and the series has had two of the most memorable superhero films in history, and the third will probably not disappoint many.

But the question is, now what? The past decade, since I’d say X-Men in ’99 has been that of the superhero, but now, it seems that the train is losing steam. We’re not rebooting films mere years after they came out. Spider-man is staring over. Man of Steel aims to correct the mistakes of Superman returns. After the Avengers, the members will probably go back to their own films. But at what point do we start to get fatigued with all this? At what point can we let go of these characters, and focus on other types of blockbuster properties instead?

But this is what we get when we ask for something different.

Unfortunately, when looking at the alternatives, superheroes still seem like our best bet. The other options for summer spectacle films are now based on toys (Transformers) or board games (Battleship) and even recycled superhero films look downright innovative by comparison. And I don’t think the solution is pulling in new heroes either. I don’t need to see a Wonder Woman movie, even if she a recognizable character that exists.

It’s just a shame that there aren’t more James Camerons and Christopher Nolans out there. Spectacle features like Avatar and Inception ended up being some of the most memorable films released in years, and I’d prefer more original work to yet another retelling of a famed superhero saga. What? Clark Kent came from SPACE? Get out of here!

Do you think there’s a solution for superhero fatigue, or are you not suffering from it?

  • Lys

    Where I’d like to go would be to the more off-beat, less stereotypical superheroes like Hellboy, Fables, and Sandman. I think they’d give us our dose of superheroics but spare us the spandex. I doubt the industry will swing that way though, because those types of comics just don’t have the popular appeal of the standard superhero. Sadly I think we’re going to keep seeing the same type of superhero for the next few years.

    I am a bit sad though that we’re over ten years into this trend and we have yet to see a successful movie with a female hero lead. Sure, we’ve had some really great women in ensembles, but I can only think of two movies with leads (Elektra and Catwoman) and they failed miserably because of horrible writing. I’d love to see someone like Wonder Woman or Super Girl get the same attention, care in writing, and promotion that Iron Man and Magneto get.

  • trashcanman

    Expect business as usual ad nauseum. Reboot, remake, sequel, spin-off; lather rinse repeat.

  • Diarmuid212

    There’s still plenty of comic book enterprises, book series, and old tv series, and cartoons that Hollywood can exploit. And yeah don’t discount remaking old classics over and over again.

    As an industry Hollywood isn’t going anywhere, there is far too much quick money to be made. The blockbusters might become less and less frequent and we may lose a few movie studios over the years, but our society is too enamoured with being easily entertained for movies to go away.

  • Javier

    makes me think of this Futurama comic I have where Fry and the gang go to a comic book store and Fry is surprised to see so many people (re: comic con nerds but mainstream with everybody on board)…turns out by the year 3000 every comic book ever had been turned into a movie and the plot turns into Fry starring in a gritty re-imagining of his favorite comic book

  • banko

    Well, movies based on popular comics and movies based on popular books are where you go for blockbusters these days. The comic well is running a little dry, but book series I think are gaining in popularity. Now look at Game of Thrones, tv’s Lord of the Rings. And what’s to say Mass Effect can’t be the new Star Wars. We’re in the age of the Nerd, anything is possible.

  • Joey

    I hated Avatar. For all the CGI and such, it was the same old crap. And X-3 and Origins…. I want to rend the director of Origins. We need more good, strong female characters and leads who aren’t all sexed up or CGI. Give me a damn good book series where you have a strong female or even mixed gender leads. As dorky as this sounds, the Tamora Pierce Quartets starting with the Song of the Lioness would make a very good series. It’s not fan service, and they are very compelling. Also, each quartet leads into the next series. But, I’m dorky and a book worm. How ever, we need more than the same old they have been doling out.

  • darby

    I do cringe every time a Daredevil or Green Lantern gets made, but I think it’s worth it for every Dark Knight and Iron Man that manages to get the superhero movie right.

    just have some patience and hope they don’t ruin your favorite character

  • Rakuall

    @ banko
    “And what’s to say Mass Effect can’t be the new Star Wars.”

    You take that back! As someone who has played Mass Effect (and 2 and 3) I can tell you that about three quarters of the audience will like half the movie or less. The games are too open to have a single story, and whatever they do will have millions of people saying “but that’s not what Shepard did….” Mass Effect is great, at least Star Wars equal, but a movie based on the games is a horrific idea. That said, I’d love a block buster about other events in the ME-verse.

  • Diarmuid212

    The comic book well isn’t even close to dry. Maybe adapting the mainstream superheroes is getting a little shallow, but they can go so many directions, with so many story lines its insane.

    Though personally I can see tv shows and series starting to tap more into this resource because of the ease of the transition and the constant story lines they can pull from…just like Walking Dead.

  • Reynaldo K. Cruz

    I’d like to see comic book properties shift to HBO, AMC, or other high quality cable networks. They need more room to breathe.

  • McTimm

    Man, I just want to see a Samurai Jack movie get made.

  • Avengers came out here in Korea, and it was fucking amazing. The Dark Knight Rises has a bar to reach to be as amazing (which it will hit). Be prepared for comedy, action, and prefect pacing!

  • Wolftech

    @Rakuall – More than likely what would happen is there would be the awesome trilogy, then the last 30 minutes of the last movie would be the same artsy acid trip 10 minutes repeating 3 times with a different color filter. There would be a huge outcry and the studio would release an extended edition which would add a text explanation of the ending.

    Then the studio gets burnt down in the great Nerd riots of 2016.

  • Michael

    Need to expose the movie going public to some less traditional interpretations of the super hero story rather than variations of the same basic premise.

    Make a movie of “A God Somewhere”.

  • Shiki

    I’m a big manga and anime fan, and I can’t wait for the day when big studios are going to take over those stories. The Japanease have tried wit Death Note and Gantz, but i think they need a far greater budget for them to big worldwide succesfull. I hope they make some good Bleach and Naruto movies or One Piece, and I’m still hoping for a decent (just decent, don’t want to put my bar too high) DBZ movie. But someday they are going to run out of the traditional (american) comics and they are going to turn to manga, well that’s what i hope.