In recent years the genre of comic book movies has exploded. Suddenly they have gone from a mild curiosity to summer blockbusters. As a fan of comic books I’m really pleased about this. Seeing the heroes I read about each month on the big screen is great, plus I get to see them reimagined so another take on them can be shown. On top of the movies there has also been an increase in the amount of quality super hero games. The thing is, the bubble will burst. It has to, trends are cyclical…right?
With the release of Iron Man 3 a few weeks back, I was excited to see how Marvel would handle phase 2 of their Avengers shared universe. Going into the film though I had reservations. Now The Avengers have formed as a team, a big threat would see the team having to work together, right? Well no. (Spoilers to follow) A bioterrorist is attacking American interests across the world, and the only member of the Avengers who seems to pick up on it is Tony Stark. Sure he mentioned that he hacked S.H.E.I.L.D. files to get info on the Mandarin, but we don’t actually see them. Then when Tony’s mansion is destroyed and he is assumed dead, none of the other Avengers show up to continue the event. Now I’m sure that they’ll explain this by the other guys having their own troubles to deal with. The thing is, it just feels like they should use solo movies to introduce new characters to us, and use old characters in the Avengers movies. I know in comics we don’t get crossovers with every threat, but I feel like the rules are a little different with cinema. Just feels like they are exploiting money out of us.
This year we also get the sequel to the brilliant Kick Ass. Once more based on a graphic novel, Kick Ass 2 will follow our title hero and his side kick Hit Girl as they take on the Mother Fucker. On top of that we also get a reboot of the superman franchise, with Man of Steel. There is also the new Wolverine movie coming out as well. All of these movies look great, I just feel like it’s a bit of superhero overload. I kinda want another kind of summer blockbuster. If I, as a comic book fan, am starting to get bored of them, what is the average cinemagoer feeling? Well, to answer my own question; they still seem to be lapping it up. With Iron Man 3 having the second strongest opening day of any film, there is still money in these films. But with the genre rising so high, it has a long way to fall.
With Marvel having plans for phase 3 of their shared universe and DC planning its long awaited Justice League movie, the genre appears to be here to stay. But surely the market will become over saturated. How long will it be before we get sick of seeing these heroes over coming insurmountable odds? When you think about it all cinema basically follows this premise. The hero always wins in the end and evil is banished. As long as comic movies are well written, or appeal to the popcorn audience there really is no end to their dominance. The genre can evolve to be what it needs to be. Look at Nolan’s Batman and the Marvel shared universe. Both are massively different, in tone and style, but are still comic book films.
The thing is; comic book films have the potential to keep evolving, to become new things. However in cinema, unlike comics, you have to keep paying your lead. As the films become more popular, the pay checks increase. The studios then refuse to pay up and replace the actor. Would Iron Man be Iron Man without Robert Downey Jr? It’s going to eventually happen, how will people take it? As I said at the start the bubble will eventually burst, when though is anyone’s guess.
As you can see from reading this, my opinion changes from side to side. I love comic books movies, but I’m also aware that they will become stale. Then again this whole recent obsession with geek culture will eventually become stale. As I said all trends are cyclical, eventually we fall out of love with them and move on. The bursting of the bubble is as inevitable as the rise and fall of our yellow sun. When it does burst it will be a sad day for fans of comics. What do you think? Let me know.
By Matt Husselbury