Image credit: Disney. A promotional picture for Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Like many kids, I was a big fan of superhero movies.
The pictures of my fifth birthday show a cake decorated with blue and red icing and a big Spiderman face. My gifts that year were all Spiderman and Hulk related…ah yes the memories do flow.
Over time I lost interest in these superheroes (no Tobey McGuire and Eric Bana? no thank you), but now approaching the 2020’s, it seems the only movies playing at the theatre are superhero flicks.
Every other weekend the next blockbuster link in some massive Marvel or DC universe chain thrashes its way to the silver screen with oodles of cash flowing from it.
In 2018, six of the top 10 grossing movies worldwide were superhero flicks, and Venom (#11 spot) was not far off with its paltry $213 million in earnings.
I’ve largely stayed away from these movies and couldn’t be bothered.
But since this is where the big dollars are going in Hollywood, I fear producers are spinning the nostalgia wheel just to milk the comicbook fan’s wallet dry, while the variety of movies shrink.
Most of them are fun and entertaining, massively big productions with graphics so unreal and visceral, the soundtrack the best rip-offs from your parent’s Jock Jams cassettes.
Sure, not all superhero movies are created equal, as all superheroes are not equal.
But is there any superhero not worthy of its own movie universe and backstory and history? Where is the line drawn?
Is anyone who likes movies going to say, hey, let’s not make so many of these pictures?
Isn’t four Marvel Avengers movies, three·Thor movies, three Captain America movies, three Iron Man movies, a slough of Superman and Batman pictures, multiple jumpstarts and restarts with Spiderman and the Incredible Hulk, a large backdrop of periphery Superheroes with their sagas (Black Panther, Wonder Woman, Ant-Man, Aquaman, Deadpool, Doctor Strange), several adapted and protracted tales about the villains and their origins: Suicide Squad and its proposed offshoots, the Joker, Venom, Hellboy….isn’t that volume of super movies sufficient?
Has our thirst for superheroes not yet been quenched?
Of course not, because, much to my chagrin, everyone loves them.
Aquaman has made over a billion dollars worldwide since its release in mid-December.
Director James Cameron, as idiosyncratic as they come, at least shares my fatigue.
In an interview with IndieWire last year, Cameron said: “I’m hoping we’ll start getting ‘Avenger’ fatigue here pretty soon. Not that I don’t love the movies. It’s just, come on guys, there are other stories to tell besides hyper-gonadal males without families doing death-defying things for two hours and wrecking cities in the process. It’s like, oy!”
What is maybe more surprising is former Batman Christian Bale’s response to the onslaught of super movies.
He said on the “Happy Sad Confused” podcast with Josh Horowitz that he’s “not a huge superhero film fan.”
“I’ve not seen any of the Avengers films or any of those films at all. I hear they’re very good, but I’m quite happy just hearing they’re very good,” said Bale.
So at least some high profile Hollywood people share my thoughts.
2018 represented a bounceback year at the box office after revenues in Canada and abroad were down.
But the other films in the top ten in the box office (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdown, Dr. Suess’ The Grinch, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, and Solo: A Star Wars story) are either sequels or reboots.
So with the lack of variety in movies today, superhero or not, is Hollywood facing a shortage of fresh ideas?