Good heavens there has been a lot of comic book movie news of late.
A few months ago, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige announced that the studio has their movie lineup planned until 2028. Just so we’re all clear, that means they know what movies they want to be making for the next 14 years. Just in time for me to maybe have an early mid-life crisis.
Then last week, DC and Warner Brothers decided to announce their movie lineup for the next six-year, but, in what I can only assume was a move to one-up Marvel’s announcement, they actually identified what those movies were going to be.
Finally this week, a full six days ahead of schedule, Marvel released the first trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron shortly after it was leaked on the web.
(Edit: As of 28 October, Marvel has confirmed nine more movies and dates through till 2019.)
If I didn’t know any better, I’d say Marvel and DC are trying to stoke the flames of a fanboy war.
While many fanboys have already taken the bait to engage in an unwinnable argument online, I worry more about the oversaturation of these comic book movies. It’s almost impossible not to feel a little skeptical now that we can expect an average of four to five of these films every year instead of the two a year we used to get a decade ago. Many already feel oversaturated, believing most superhero movies are identical in everything but name (although most go and see them regardless).
Having said that, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the abundant slew of superhero movies will be unsuccessful, it just means that both Marvel and DC need to change-up the formulas for how they make them. They’ve done it before, which is why I’m of the belief that they can avoid some of the feelings of oversaturation if these movies bear traces of other genre films.
Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 broke largely from the mold of its predecessor by focusing less on the action and more on the fact that it was, at its core, a superhero drama. Furthermore, part of the reason I believe audience and critics received both Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy so well is because they, like Spider-Man 2, diverged from stereotypical superhero movies and tested other genres. Captain America felt much like a spy thriller movie like No Way Out with hints of The Bourne Identity, while Guardians of the Galaxy, with a few exceptions, felt more like Star Wars and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy than a traditional superhero movie.
So imagine with me now that more comic book movies broke from the norm and became something else entirely. How about a Batman movie that legitimately tries its hand in the horror/thriller genre? What about a romantic-comedy Spider-Man film? A mystery movie with Iron Man? Or a musical with Superman?
OK, that last one might be a stretch to imagine – although I suddenly want to see some director make Superman: The Musical. Preferably with Nic Cage as the Man of Steel.
Without variety in their excessively huge movie lineups, Marvel and DC risk losing those movie-goers who haven’t already lost interest in their films. Before they realize it, audiences will likely stop saying things like “I can’t wait to see the new (insert superhero here) movie” or “That movie looks really good,” and instead will say, “I’ll Redbox that in a few months.”