There’s been a lot of murmuring about people being being struck down with Superhero fatigue. “I’m feeling burnt out on superhero films.” “They’re all the same thing now.” “There’s too many every year!”
Yes, there are a lot of superhero movies. The superhero genre is big business, comics hit their big stride in the 80s and don’t seem to be coming down from their high.
Through the hundreds of comic book characters to hit the shelves, some of them are quite good, lots of people identified with them and found the stories that involved them entertaining, compelling and really bloody good material for escapism.
I’m one of those people, I very literally learnt how to read through comic books. I would sit for hours with my best pal, Josh, and power through seemingly endless issues of Ultimate Spider-Man. When we had finished the pile we would re-read them.
The result was the development of a very active imagination that is very much still with me, even now in my twenties, I also absorbed the personality of one Peter Parker. At least the version as I interpreted him from the comics. And I know my weakness for redheads and my interest in science and photography came from Mr Parker.
I’ve had to defend my love of comics a lot through my life, even now there’s a few people in my life that just don’t get the superhero appeal.
“Superhero movies are for babies” has stung my soul a fair few times in conversation.
Of course people are more than welcome to not enjoy things, I’m not trying to force people to love comic books as much as I do and never say a bad thing about them again. What I do want if for people to be kinder with their opinions.
‘This is a thing that I like, you don’t have to like it, and you definitely don’t have to make a sport out of putting down this thing that I enjoy.’
Firstly I understand how people could be bored of superhero films at this point.
Since 1999 we’ve had a very regular stream of superhero films, we’ve got two versions of the X-Men, we’re on our third version of Spider-Man. The Fantastic 4 have been crashed into the ground so hard that Marvel have all but retconned them from the comics, we’ve also had two MCU films a year since 2008 (three this year) and that’s just on the Marvel front.
DC have had an equally big push of films, to various levels of success/quality, in the past decade, we’re now on our second Batman and Superman, we’ve only just got our first big screen Wonder Woman (good one at that) and you could fill out every spot on the CW’s schedule with a DCTV show.
So yes, there are a lot of Superheroes covering every form of entertainment media. Now for me, this is great. Finally the stuff that used to is properly mainstream, though it does sting when the same a-holes who kicked my ass for liking this stuff in school are at the same midnight screening for the obscure Guardians of the Galaxy and they’ve bought the very expensive ‘limited edition’ cup.
But it’s a good thing otherwise.
Now it wasn’t that long ago that I too felt a bit burnt out on Super-films, but when I hit that patch of thought something comes along (Civil War, GotGv2) to renew my enthusiasm for the genre.
This week Spider-Man: Homecoming, the first entry in the MCU and the third refresh of the character, hit theatres to a big opening weekend and positive reviews (check out our review here, and another piece on the film here).
Something I’ve seen said about Homecoming is that it’s a “paint by numbers Marvel film” and to some degree this true. But at this point in time basically every film or story of any kind is a ‘paint by numbers’ version of whatever it is. Creativity is repetition and minor development, you take one thing that’s already been made and tweak it into something else but keeping the fundamental beats.
So why keep going?
Why reboot Spider-Man again?
Do we need another Star Wars trilogy?
If you’re asking yourself these questions then clearly you’re not part of the target audience for such projects.
But if you used to look forward to these kinds of things then you’re missing a fundamental point to them. They’re still not for you.
Star Wars is getting another trilogy because Disney bought the franchise for 2 billion dollars and they need to make that purchase worthwhile, but also because there is a whole new generation of people who missed Star Wars the last two times.
I wasn’t around in 1977 to see A New Hope for the first time, I saw it on VHS. But my Dad was there, and he went, he watched, and he loved it. In 2000 I was young but I got to see Phantom Menace, sure it’s pretty awful but at the time it was mind blowing, arguably in the same way to me as A New Hope was to my Dad.
The same now applies for this new trilogy of Star Wars films, which I think are off to a great start, there’s a whole new world of people getting to fall in love with this amazing world that George Lucas created and they’re getting to experience the wonderments that so many have experienced before them.
The same goes for all these reboots of a certain wall-crawler. Obviously the first reboot was due to Sony crashing the Raimi series into a wall, and then this reboot is Marvel stepping in to save their most popular and profitable character from the another sinking ship… No offence TASM…
However that same train of thought regarding Star Wars applies here, there is a whole generation who are getting to see and experience the (pretty awesome) story of Peter Parker.
Now what I would say to you if you’re suffering from Superhero fatigue, take a break just stop watching Superhero films if you don’t want to watch them.
But I know that if you’re anything like me, then you have to watch them. You need to know if it’s good or not, have they done justice to the character you love so much? Do they cover X,Y & Z from the comics? You need to know.
I understand and I feel your pain.
But Alfred, I hear you cry, why do we have to keep treading on the same old characters and the same old stories over and over again. Isn’t it time to start bring new IPs to the forefront of the mainstream?! Yeah, of course. But that exciting new IP that you desperately want to see be made into a TV show or film just isn’t popular enough right now to be seen as a viable option for a studio to put into production, and studio’s don’t tend to take risks. So we have to wait for the new future classics to become known and semi-mainstream (don’t turn your nose at me you hipster), viability will make these things happen.
Supposedly we’re going to be getting a big screen adaptation of Invincible (the best Superman series that isn’t about Superman or from DC) but it’s probably further off than some would hope.
If you find yourself burnt out on Superhero films then take a break, they’re not going anyway and you can always catch up when they come out on Bluray.
But if you used to be a big fan of these events and are finding yourself tired of them, then perhaps there’s something else getting you down or perhaps you’ve just moved away from it all.
I don’t know, I’m not a psychiatrist.