Between videogames, syndicated television shows, series that stream on services like Netflix, and big screen superhero adaptations, one would think that American (and international audiences) love their superheroes. Why wouldn’t they? Who doesn’t love to fantasize about extraordinary powers given to just a lucky few, putting oneself in the shoes of their favourite hero or heroine to escape the monotony of everyday life?
That, after all, is the reason we visit all forms of entertainment, from bingo sites like bingosweets.com to contests like winter getaways in the Alps. Superheroes brought to our computers or consoles or the big screen are just convenient, vicarious diversions from some of the tougher things we have to deal with in life. And sometimes, these worlds educate the minds of younger generations through allegory about some of these challenges. They are material not just ripe for fantasy and the imaginary struggles between good and evil, but they teach us about race relations, the responsibility of power, and the dangers of science and technology, especially if used unethically.
The question must be asked, however: how much is too much? Hearken to a time when superhero movies were talked about in terms of the choice of nipples on Batman actor’s George Clooney’s batsuit, or the ridiculousness of a giant Shaquille O’Neale cast as a sledge-hammer wielding vigilante. What a beautiful sight to see competent decisions made, as in Sam Raimi’s work with both the Toby McGuire-era Spiderman trilogy, as well as the X-Men movies he started.
In contrast to seemingly every superhero movie that had come before it, they were well-acted, packed with lots of great action, and had compelling narratives with characters you cared about. This seems to be doubly true for Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, told through a gritty tone that holds true to the caped crusader’s source material.
That represents the good, but is it possible that audiences will get their thrill-seeking from something more grounded, such as ordinary cops and robbers-type stories? Consider that on the big screen, we now have the entire Civil War narrative from Marvel–involving seemingly every heavy hitter in the franchise roster–playing out over more than a half-dozen movies. The films are drawn out over a long series of movies, which may drown viewers out.
Marvel is turning to franchises like Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy, much lesser known quantities among the non-nerd types that we identify with. They’re managing to turn these relatively unknown characters and franchises into commercial successes. The Western was once a ubiquitous Hollywood mainstay, or so movie executives believed. Then people eventually tired of seeing the same old thing. Between The Avengers, Justice League, and all the X-Men movies franchises they are putting on the TV, is it a distinct possibility that audiences get sick of seeing spandex-dressed acrobats all the time? Yes, but as long as it’s selling, we will no doubt be seeing more of the same.
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