Looks like we’re going to have a marvelous summer for 2011. Okay, that pun was definitely intended but superhero films are all the rage and Marvel Comics is completely dominating over DC comics’ properties. As a Marvel zombie, we have the tri-fecta of gold: Thor (May 4), X-Men: First Class (June 3), and Captain America (July 22) up against DC Comics’ Green Lantern this summer.
Sure, DC has always had the upper hand with television versions of Superman and Wonder Woman while Marvel has the Hulk, but the landscape has changed. This would have been unheard of in the 1980s/1990s when their only properties were Howard the Duck and the Punisher battling against the Batman and Superman franchises.
But with the final installment of the Batman series in the 1990s (Batman and Robin), the superhero genre died. Why? Superhero films were treated like kiddy cartoon fare: unsophisticated, childish, and bombastic. The resurrection of the genre wouldn’t have come if it weren’t for the realistic and gritty X-Men franchise or the angsty Spiderman series of the 2000s. It only becomes ironic that the X-Men series have gone full circle with this year’s prequel/reboot. Maybe the Marvel films are more successful because of writer Stan Lee’s formula back in the 1960s: Relatable superheroes that act human and make mistakes like everyone else.
So what are the future projects? Well the admittedly premature reboot of Spiderman and the massive uptake of the Avengers. But they’ll be tangling with DC’s big guns (yet again) with the final Batman film by Christopher Nolan and the second reboot of Superman by Zack Snyder.
Insiders have already predicted the demise of the genre because of the overload. Comic Book Writer Mark Miller stated: “I think it’s going to be difficult is once you’ve done that thing of putting all those characters in one film… you know, its like having Harry Potter, James Bond and Spiderman all in one movie. I think what’ll be difficult then is to try and top that because people want to see it get bigger,” he explains. “I anticipate things starting to slow down round about 2014 and 2015. I think that’s when it will really start to flat line a bit and we’re going to see our first failures.”
Sure there are flops like the first Hulk, Daredevil, Elektra, and Catwoman but I don’t see the downfall happening like it did with Batman and Robin. The reason being because their fan base keep these movies alive.
The New Superman and Catwoman?