The Evolution and Inertia of the Modern Superhero

GeorgeCant94 By GeorgeCant94, 22nd Jun 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Film & TV>Action

A look at the current glut of superhero movies and the problem facing all of them. A frustrating look at their repetition and examples of how they should change.

The Problem with our Heroes

A half serious, half smart-ass man clad in all kinds of primary colored, fantastical costumes espouses some kind of 'clever quip' before rushing off and saving the day. "Why am I always taking out the trash?", "Let me get that for you", "Monster alien overlord at twelve o'clock!". Of course what I am talking about is this strange repetitive feature of the gorge of superhero movies we are being subjected to. The blame must mainly be pointed at Marvel.

The Two Big Names

For me, this is something that gets more frustrating with every superhero movie I watch. They have become so reliant on a formula, so obviously played for universal acceptance and marketable merchandise that they lose all their potential punch as a movie. I understand there are two sides to this, those that like to see their superheroes with a splash of comedy and those who like to keep it serious, but the output has become so skewered towards the former that I fear we may be getting into Adam West Batman territory before long.

And there it is. The antithesis to this kind of culture. Batman, evolving so much from the slapstick early days, peaked as a cinematic creation with Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy. Redefining everything a superhero could be, it brought together themes of intense fear, uncontrollable anarchy and personal redemption. It took as its context not the fate of the earth and all those unidentifiable faces screaming in terror but the fate of a single city with recognizable people we care about. It explored the clearly irrational psychology of a man compelled to wear a mask and fight crime. There are no super Gods. No wisecracking funny men. No awkward pre-fight 'bantering'. This is an epic crime trilogy disguised as a superhero movie. It is an intense psychological thriller. It is a defining moment in cinema. Heath Ledger shocked us and convincingly brought a city to its knees as the Joker with no greater motive than to see people squirm. And we believed it. No matter how much I want to, I don't believe Loki has a strong motive in The Avengers, can't take his threat seriously when the Hulk is bashing him like a child playing with a doll. The legitimacy fades.

Continuing on

As the dust has settled on the Dark Knight trilogy and Nolan's fantastic work, the domination of Marvel looks set to continue into the foreseeable future. DC wishes to expand but it seems that the work of Nolan, Bale, Ledger, Hardy and all the great names involved may have been a one off. The culture has not changed. Serious superheroes are still missing from the multiplexes, themes more complex than global destruction are few and far between. Rainbow filters and slow-mo fight scenes will seemingly always outshine psychological warfare. What I yearn for, what would be a welcome change, would be for more superhero movies to follow the Dark Knight's suit. Focus on the characters first. Get the merchandise later.


Batman, Comic Book, Dialogue, Directors, Marvel, Masks, Movie, Movie Career, Movie Culture, Movie Gossip, Movie Previews, Movie Review, Movie Reviews, Movie Script, Movie Star, Movie Stars, Movie They Enjoy, Movies, Movies Film Thrillers, Pop Psychology, Psychology, Psychology Of Movies, Review, Superhero, Superhero Movies, Superheroes

Meet the author

author avatar GeorgeCant94
Hailing from the UK but studying in America, I am a soccer player with a passion for travel, adventure, and the diversity and delicate balance that makes people so unique and richly interesting.

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author avatar Deepizzaguy
22nd Jun 2015 (#)

I remember the Adam West Batman version of the character. I prefer humor over the Dark Knight version of Batman who uses fear and scare tactics to beat his foes. Hollywood has to make money be giving their audiences what they want. I guess we old school guys are not in that number.

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author avatar brendamarie
23rd Jun 2015 (#)

I prefer the Adam West Batman myself. Great article

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
23rd Jun 2015 (#)

Adam West all the way for sure.

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