Director Steven Spielberg has been quite vocal in the past about the marketable quality of superhero movies. He’s back in the headlines saying the end is nigh for them, that they will go the way of the Western, and I have to wonder about the accuracy of that statement as someone who is invested and writes about the entertainment industry.
I decided my blog would be the best place for this post, and not the websites I write for, on the account that this is more on a personal level then an Op-Ed. I’m also speaking without sources or research. This is purely heart and mind speaking.
So, Mr. Spielberg, with one of the most well-decorated film careers in history, I can’t say I agree with you. But I respect your thoughts on this. There is something similar I believe in.
I do think we will get an over-saturated market on superhero movies. If you look back in the history of comics you will find snags in sales. After WW2, comic book sales were at an all time low. Here we are in 2015, in a post-war era, and comic books, and their movie counterparts couldn’t be doing much better. It is smooth sailing.
Westerns may not be around that much any longer. But there is still deep-seated appreciation in the art. Cowboys are still popular in media. And modern films draw allusions to Westerns and those of the spaghetti variety constantly. Westerns aren’t dead, they just ceased to be as we had known them.
The next few years are jam packed with superhero movies, and more and more keep joining the roster. Comic book fans are excited. There are new demographics of fans rushing into theaters and comic book shops to ingest all that they can, and what they are discovering are beautiful, well-thought out stories. We eventually will tire of the superhero movie, we will find fault in the repetitiveness of these kinds of heroes and villains stories, we will, but we won’t stop loving it. The ticket sales may slump and movie companies may be more wary on green-lighting a new project, but the fans will be there.
Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix proved something to me. It reinvented the story. While I had been feeling tired over Avengers: Age of Ultron, flipping the script on Daredevil put the spotlight on the storytelling. As long as the story told is the root and heart of the film or TV show, superhero film and media will survive.
Spielberg is half-right, or half-wrong, however you want to spell it out. Early on in the production of comic book adapted films, most of them were terrible. Years later, the formula was revisited. People care about these characters and the obstacles they endure, because they are similar to their own battles. While we may not be donning spandex suits, it’s uplifting to see our media represent questions of morality. What is good and what is evil?
Superhero movies will always come back. They will hit snags as people will tire, but the narrative is ever-changing, and they will be back. Remember, only Kryptonite can kill Superman.