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Is There a Glut of Superhero Movies?

April 4, 2016
When the superhero movie is no longer a novelty, Marvel and DC will have to team up.

The Superman/Spider-Man movie hasn’t happened yet, but you never know.

There are a lot of superhero movies coming out in 2016 (and 2017… and 2018).  Marvel has a bunch of superhero movies coming out.  DC has a bunch of movies being released too.  As much as the general public love superhero movies, at some point the novelty is going to wear off.  And when it does, the superhero movie bubble will burst.

As a former comic book fanboy, I would have loved this superhero movie glut 40 years ago.  When I was a kid, there were no superhero movies, except for the cheesy Adam West Batman movie that local TV stations played on Sunday afternoons.  Other than that, there was only the Lynda Carter Wonder Woman and Lou Ferrigno as The Incredible Hulk.  Lynda Carter and Lou Ferrigno were great, but their shows were low budget.  I wanted to see Hulk smash cities, and all he did was lift up trucks and throw bikers around.  It’s only  been in the last couple decades that it was possible to make a superhero movie look good.

Even when comic books started getting turned into movies, most of them sucked.  Superman and Superman II with Christopher Reeves were pretty good, but Superman III and IV sucked.  Batman with Michael Keaton was okay, but the other ones sucked (to varying degrees).  1990’s Marvel movies (like The Fantastic Four and Captain America) sucked so bad that they didn’t even make it into theaters.

The first Marvel superhero movie to not suck was X-Men.  I remember, that was my first comment when I walked out of the theater in 2000(?).

“Jimmy, what did you think?” a friend asked after we had watched the movie.

“It didn’t suck.”

That was my version of a thumbs up.  Back in the late 1990’s, the only thing that didn’t suck was the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  But I was a very hyper-critical fanboy back then.

Some comic collectors think “fanboy” is a derogatory word.  I understand.  Fanboy rhymes with manboy, and manboy describes a lot of comic collectors.  I was a fanboy for a long time.  Then I got married and had kids.  I just lost interest in comic books.  It wasn’t my wife’s fault.  Some fanboys blame their wives (or girlfriends), but I just reached a point where I had read too many comic books.  But that fanboy part of me still exists, and I get excited whenever a new superhero movie comes out.

Some non-fanboy moviegoers don’t understand these new movies like Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice or Captain America:Civil War where superheroes fight each other.  Superheroes have been fighting each other in comic books for decades.  Superheroes love to fight because they have all the testosterone that  fanboys don’t.  After superheroes are done fighting each other, they team up to beat up the bad guy, so everything is usually okay at the end.

Some fanboys say it’s better to have too many superhero movies than not enough.  I understand that.  For most of my life, there weren’t ANY superhero movies, and I prefer the way things are now.  Still, I remember what happened in the early 1990’s when there were too many comic books.  I eventually stopped buying them.  And that could happen with superhero movies.  If it were just one comic company involved, it would make sense for them to bring out the movies slowly.  But with Marvel and DC competing, they almost have to push faster than the other.  And that will create the superhero movie glut, and then the bubble will burst.

Every bubble bursts.  The stock market bubble always bursts.  Energy bubbles burst.  Technology bubbles burst.  Property bubbles burst.  Even comic book bubbles burst.  Back in the 1990’s, comic book companies went crazy, publishing way too many titles.  There must have been 10 different Batman comics every month, 10 Superman comics a month, 10 Spider-Man comics a month.  If a character was popular, he/she had 3-10 comics out each month.  It was impossible to keep up.  Fanboys started speculating, thinking that these overprinted issues would be worth something.  And then the comic bubble burst, and a bunch of titles got cancelled, and all those overprinted 1990’s comic books were worthless.  I’m no economist, but even I understood economic bubbles.

When it comes to comic books and movies, I’m not taking sides between Marvel and DC.  I’m partial to Marvel, but I don’t care enough to defend my opinion.  If a DC fanboy says Marvel sucks, I don’t care.  Arguing about comic books is almost as pointless as arguing politics.  The only fanboys I argue with are the Rob Liefeld fanboys.  I openly mock the Rob Liefeld fanboys when I see them at comic conventions.  I don’t go to comic conventions often anymore, but when I do, I make sure to mock the Rob Liefeld fanboys.

Anyway, a Marvel-DC movie team up has to happen.  If Hollywood could ever make a Superman/Spider-Man movie, I’d stand in line for it.  I don’t even go to movies anymore, but I’d stand in line.  I’d even wear a costume.  It would have to be a Spider-Man costume because I don’t look anything like Superman, and I’d have to suck in my gut a little bit.

I’m too old to dress like a superhero, though.  Maybe I could dress up like Stan Lee.  Stan Lee hasn’t written a good comic book since maybe 1969, but who cares?  I’d still dress up like him if I was in line for a Superman/Spider-Man movie.  I could grow a cheesy mustache and wear corny sunglasses and shout “Excelsior!” every once in a while.

And if Hollywood keep churning out superhero movies at this clip, they’ll have to make a Superman/Spider-Man movie just to keep the public’s interest.

*****

What do you think?  How many superhero movies are too many?  Which superhero movie are you looking forward to the most?

From → Pop culture

25 Comments
  1. I like the Avengers movies, the Bourne movies and all the James Bond films. I am not so much a super hero fan as I am a Heroes fan. 🙂

  2. I have this same fear. It’s not just the quantity of superhero movies, it’s the manipulation of characters and stories to get viewers (which is nothing new to the comic book world, but it still sucks).
    For example, there’s currently a tiff going on about how the characters are being represented on “Suicide Squad”. I was big on the ‘original’ version of said characters, but now I’d rather pay money to see Suicide Squad than Batman V Superman.
    In the end, the realization that it’s a movie business interested in procuring viewers tends to win out over any fading fan-girl glee I still have.

    • It’s kind of weird to think that Suicide Squad might be more fun of a movie than Batman vs. Superman. That doesn’t seem right.

      • I completely agree. I was totally against the new Suicide Squad, but with the horrible reviews of BvS… I think SS is looking better.
        *sad face*

  3. I don’t mind that there are so many superhero movies – I’m not a huge fan of them and never was, but on occasions when I feel like watching a movie with a lot of stuff blown up / thrown around, I would rather have a choice of a few superhero movies I haven’t seen than just one or two.

  4. Here’s the thing, in an environment of reboots, sequels and exhausted rom-coms peppered with the occasional 4 hour angsty cinematography laden opus (Revenant), super hero fare still thrills because with a few notable exceptions, the story telling is generally superior; presenting paragon characters and best case scenario outcomes we cannot hope to see in present ‘real time’ reality. Just sayin’:) Keep churning out quality product, not Batman V. Superman, and people will keep coming, me included.

    • As long as the quality is good, I agree. I mean, I can’t keep up with everything, especially with the superhero TV shows. I read your blog to keep up with stuff like Flash and Arrow that I can’t yet find time to watch. Heck, I haven’t even finished Jessica Jones yet. I don’t know when I’ll watch Daredevil Season 2.

      It’s going to be tough with more stuff coming out soon. I’m glad I don’t read comic books anymore. Who has the time?

  5. I’m pretty happy with all these superhero movies. Not only does it give you something to be excited about, but they’re also so much fun (Batman vs Superman, however, wasn’t)! My friends and I always have a blast watching them, and they often have great rewatch value, which is more than I can say for many other movies out there.

    Really looking forward to Civil War and X-Men: Apocalypse at the moment. Oh, and Guardians 2! 🙂

  6. The superhero or’ just another comic based movies’ are such drags. I did enjoy Deadpool though, it wasn’t cheesy, it didn’t take itself too seriously, it was flawless entertainment, respecting the fact that this money minting movies have worn out movie goers affection. (how they still make money is still a wonder)
    I am sick of the genre, I look forward to the anti-hero revival honestly, the characters seem much more rich and less contrived.

  7. I’v switched off a bit on suprhero film – big men wearing tights hitting each other. Maybe people will get fed up of them, though I think film makers might run out of decent ideas to plunder first. I’d like to see more originality in movies in general, but that’s not where the money lies, so musclebound super fighters from space it is.

  8. I confess I collected Conan, Groo, Cerebus, Red Sonya, and Star Trek comics. The first Conan movie I saw in theatres 50 times and then it had me buying my first Betamax so I could play the 100.00 tape. The second movie was crap and I was so disappointed. I make no effort to watch any other superhero movies unless one catches me at loose ends on a dead day with nothing else on TV . The superhero (?) movie I am waiting for is the animated Cerebus movie that has been promised for years and years and is in progress with a Facebook page and all.

    • How do you even make a Cerebus movie? To be honest, a lot of that comic book went over my head, but I think I was in high school, so I might not have been the target audience.

      I have a tough time watching the first Conan movie now because of the horses, but I liked it at the time.

  9. It’s not so much the movies as the fact that they all follow the same pattern of conflict, self-conflict, peril, resolution. As an average non-fanboy movie-goer, I’m bored.

    • And don’t forget the overly-long, extended, yawn-inducing climactic fight scene that makes the movie 20 minutes too long.

      I guess I’m getting old. I can’t believe that I’m complaining about long fight scenes.

  10. I have little opinion on the actual topic, I mean I go to the movies maybe twice a year and I will only go to Cinnebar so I can have alcohol while making fun of whatever is on the screen but…your post was flipping hysterical, I have to tell you. I wanted to copy out so many lines to tell you where I actually LOL’ed that I gave up trying.

  11. Over here in Europe, we have never understood this American obsession with superheroes …

  12. There’s actually a comic (not sure if it was eventually published) of a justice league- avengers cross-over. It would be hella cool if they made it into a movie. but then again, who would even be a challenge to them? haha.

  13. I’ve been sick of superhero movies for almost five years now. There’s little new ground to cover in the genre. What I’m NOT sick of is Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the greatest TV show of all-time. Spike forever, baby!

  14. Very excellent piece you have here.

  15. Sharon Dear permalink

    1 and none! I never read comics and the only reason I watch Superman was that my 6yo grandson wanted to watch it.

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