The new year is a great time to assess what has been working in the world and what changes are facing us in the future. It’s also a nice chance to make some predictions about what is coming. My interests lean towards comic books, so my musings have taken me down that path. You want to know what I realized? Superheroes in the live-action popular media are seriously changing gears…and I am loving it.
If you’ve seen a superhero movie or TV show in the last few (let’s say 10) years, then you’ve probably seen a “grim and gritty reboot” of something. While that was a great tactic to get people to embrace the superhero genre of entertainment in a big way, it hasn’t necessarily been a perfect reflection of the roots of the superheroes. There are more than a few things that have frankly sucked about the “grim and gritty.” I don’t really want to dwell on it, but I’ll list a few: black leather costumes are lame (Superheroes tend to wear the colors. Fact!), not every superpower is viewed as a cruddy curse, the human race isn’t necessarily without a moral center, sometimes people can be in actual romantic relationships that work.
While the “grim and gritty” hasn’t been the absolute rule, it has been pretty prevalent. At least until the things that came out this year. I would call 2014 the beginning of a transition to a completely different age of superhero live-action movies and TV shows. 2015 is going to be the final test of it, and is probably going to cement a new trend. The new trend is this: superhero genre can legitimately jump straight out of the comic book and there is not more need to apologize.
In case you missed it, let’s review a few things that happened this last year, and what is coming up (admittedly, this is largely spearheaded by Marvel): ‘Captain America: the Winter Soldier’ just says “Yeah, this guy has a cybernetic arm and spent years frozen and has no real negative physical effects” (not to mention a guy saved his consciousness prior to death on 1970s era computers…), ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ says “Yup, talking raccoon” and we all bought into it, ‘The Flash’ features a superhero who actually loves being a superhero (what a novel concept), coming up in 2015 we will actually see the film ‘Ant-Man’ (seriously) with a man who shrinks in size and legitimately rides on the back of a winged ant. If you think those aren’t surprising turns in the realm of superhero films, then somehow you forgot about the first five years of the superhero movie wave.
This is a great path for things to take. While I’ve been glad to see any attention paid to the superhero genre, I’ve been sad for years that so few films have been fun. Thoughts? Do you think the “grim and gritty” was the way to go? Are you unhappy with the new “fun” offerings? Comment Below.