If, like me, you’ve grown up with the highs and lows of the Superhero genre within mainstream media but worry about where it’s headed in the future, then this post is for you.
Arguably, the ever-expanding CBM (or “comic-book movie”) genre is quickly becoming stronger than ever before and that is something to be excited about.
“Superhero Fatigue” appears to be less of a problem and big movie studios are finally beginning to understand the demand of respecting source materials. However, to get a better understanding of the future in this genre, a fan must look to the past, more specifically in this case, the past few years.
This article highlights a few important aspects of cinematic entertainment that are considered as a crucial component to the success of the superhero genre going forward.
A MARVEL-ous Pay-off
The foundation of all CBM’s future were built in the past; however, it was only recently things started to fall into place and ingenious ideas became reality. In 2018, Disney introduced the world to Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, two of the most ambitious pieces of film-making we would witness this decade. A massive movie universe beyond our wildest dreams fell perfectly into place over the span of 20 years and pulled off the impossible.
Dozens of established characters with rich backstories were all in the same movie, and given the perfect amount of screen-time with seamless character interactions and chemistry. Masterful storytelling and directing.
They fully deserved the universal acclaim both films received, described by review site Rotten Tomatoes as “a thrilling, emotionally resonant blockbuster that (mostly) realizes its gargantuan ambitions.” Directors Anthony and Joe Russo pulled off a cinematic miracle. It was clear to see the passion put into the making of these movies and it was all due to the respect for source material that established its profound success.
In 2018, another huge step was taken with the release of Black Panther. A movie so highly acclaimed that it became impossible to ignore. In 2019, Black Panther won three Oscars. Everyone began to take notice that super hero movies aren’t just senseless popcorn flicks some were led to believe; instead, they can be passionate and powerful performances that can compete among the best in cinema.
Dawn of Fan Justice
Disney wasn’t the only movie studio to find success in the superhero genre recently. In 2017, like a phoenix from the ashes of a rushed and problematic movie franchise that produced critically panned movies such as Justice League (2017) and Suicide Squad (2016), arose Wonder Woman.
This movie breathed new life into a troubled franchise when it needed it most and gave us all hope that DC and Warner Bros. would learn from the problems of the past. Earning an incredibly estimated $800 million at the box office, the film was acclaimed for its strong heartfelt story and wonderful female lead in Gal Gadot
Wonder Woman was the wake up call that Warner Bros. needed.
Then suddenly, as if by magic, a metaphorical domino effect was created and a shift in power began to take shape. Aquaman (2018), Shazam! (2019) and Joker (2019) were released and built the start of a promising new beginning for the franchise, distancing itself from the sins of its past mistakes.
A greater understanding was realized: these were not just movies to be rushed and released to make money but instead, a way of life and more important to fans than just simply “a movie”.
Respect has to be earned and a big step in achieving that comes with listening to what the audience wants and wholeheartedly doing whatever it takes to give them something to which they can relate.
With Shazam! we got a fun, light-hearted movie suitable for all ages, which was exactly what the source material demanded. Then came Joker where Todd Phillips and Warner Bros. took the risk of going R-rated and losing out on audience viewers because they understood the necessary risk needed to fully achieve the movie–and most importantly–the character’s full potential.
The success for Joker speaks for itself, winning the Golden Globe and the Oscar as Best Actor for Joaquin Phoenix and being nominated for an absolutely staggering 10 more Oscars.
However, if Warner Bros. had decided to tone down Joker to try and reach something more suitable for all ages, which has been done by studios in the past, then we would have never got the award-winning masterpiece we have today. Further proof that our beloved characters in DC are in safer hands now, more than they’ve ever been before.
Small Screen Sensations
Despite movies being the pinnacle of on-screen entertainment, it wasn’t the only platform to bring huge success in recent years. In 2019 alone, we were given a handful of rich, new TV shows for all our binge-watching needs. One of the most prominent ones was Watchmen, which personally ended up as my favorite show that year.
Watchmen, labelled “such a masterpiece it’s almost too much to bear” by The Guardian was exactly that. An emotional roller-coaster filled to the brim with political messages, engaging writing, and mind-blowing twists were around every corner. Episode 6 in particular, titled “The Extraordinary Being,” was a fan favorite because it explored the horrors of racism in the most heart-wrenching way.
Despite all this, the show announced it would not be moving forward with a second season, which came as a shock to many as it was high in viewer and critical ratings. However this decision was purely down to Damon Lindelof, who was the show’s creator and the clear vision he had that it wouldn’t be tarnished with multiple forced seasons.
Evidence yet again that the importance of giving superhero fans (and fans of TV and cinema in general), something to be proud of, is as prominent as its ever been.
All of this has set the tone for what’s to come in the near future–one filled with promise.