I think I’m suffering from Superhero anxiety. I’m not Team Captain or Team Stark or whatever! I’m sort of meh about the whole Superhero thing. Disney is banking on the fact that they have all this pre-vetted material in the Marvel Universe. Their slate is stock full until 2020 with Superhero films. But like the Musical and Zombie movie before them, I think we’re all super exhausted with Superhero films.
Last night my husband and friends went to see Captain America: Civil War. They offered to let us geeky moms have a night at the theater to see it ourselves, it was after all Mother’s Day… but us moms looked at one another and sighed that mom sigh of “do I have to?” We decided it was better to stay back with the kids.
WHAT?! This geek mom denying a night out to see a super geek movie! I’m such big a nerd that I have a Portal gun and companion cube, I am currently wearing an Inigo Montoya t-shirt from a loot crate and my kids coloring book is from a galaxy far-far away. This isn’t some feeling of thing like I’m a girl and don’t understand or like super hero movies. I do, I REALLY do. But lately I’ve been so inundated by them I just. Don’t. CARE!
I went to the highly anticipated Batman vs. Superman. Ben Afleck was fine. I really enjoy anything Jeremy Irons is in. Sadly my favorite part was the 2.5 seconds I got to see Wonder Woman. If I need more Henry Cavill in my life, I’ll watch The Man From U.N.C.LE. At least it’s different. I even recently gave the reboot of Fantastic Four a try, just to see what all the internet fan-boy rage was about. You can actually see where the studio took over and it stopped being a movie by the director and becomes a studio jumble of poop. It was still unimpressive. Felt the same way about the most recent Avengers Age of Ultron- even with some of my absolute favorite actors taking center stage.
Superhero movies have changed the face of cinema. We were so awed by the original Spider-Man in 2002, but by the time The Amazing Spider-Man came out no one cared, I certainly didn’t. Batman has been reimagined so many times that I’ve lost count, but it went from being uniquely dark in 1989 with Direction by Tim Burton (no, Chris Nolan was NOT the first to go dark) to the what-the-hell-was-that Batman & Robin in 1997. It took less than 10 years for the studio to squander what had once been awesome and new and turn it into a ridiculous money grab of a train wreck- that didn’t make the money they wanted it to.
I’m exhausted of these movies. Because while they are often accompanies by innovations that break barriers for film and cinema, they are also a lot of the same old thing different wrapping paper. Just a glance at this Wiki page on American Superhero movies and you can see how many we’ve made since the first Spider’s Web series in 1939.
Bet you didn’t realized we’d been making and seeing super hero films that long, but we have.
I counted 86 superhero movies from 2002 to 2016. Eighty-six. I count 4 that can clearly be labeled as original material if we ignore the fact that they are largely inspired by the genre as a whole. I love a good action movie. I’ve written two myself and know countless other writers who have original content. The excuse that there isn’t quality material is ludicrous. Studios need to own up to the fact they are either scared shitless or run by MBA’s without a creative bone in their bodies. Either would suffice. I’m still left standing here in line at the movie theater wondering what I’m going to watch because I just can’t sit through ANOTHER superhero movie.
UPDATE May 11, 2016 : Ok, I saw it was awesome. There was the wonderful filmmaking, colorful characters, the works. Disney knows how to make a solid super-hero movie. The thing is, I went in in a sour mood, hoping it would lift my spirits. It only sort of did. My favorite moments were actually the moments with the age appropriate Spiderman and the extremely under utilized Black Panther. I enjoyed the film, don't get me wrong. But I still feel left wanting. I think what I want more than anything is something new. A new voice, a new talent. That's why Spiderman and Black Panther were so special. They were new and it was awesome. Still hoping, but not holding my breath.