In an interview with the Associated Press in 2015, Steven Spielberg said one thing that earned some to comment he’s becoming an old man yelling at the sky: the apparent death of superhero movies. People went up in arms and dismissed the idea. They were right… in 2015. In 2016 though? There are signs and symptoms that this multi-billion dollar industry is on its way to a Big Crunch, and eventually become a blip in the movie universe.
Spielberg, the director of many greats such as Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones and executive producer to many more, said in the interview that “There will come a day when the mythological stories are supplanted by some other genre that possibly some young filmmaker is just thinking about discovering for all of us.” I believe he’s right and it’s not even funny anymore. The hype train over the superhero films of 2016 has been crazy but the films’ qualities haven’t been up par to the hype. The problem with these movies is that they have stuck with the formula all these years and audience like me have been looking for a fresh concept; everything’s been so predictable.
Among the culprits of 2016 is DC’s first experiment into the unknown: Suicide Squad. It was marketed all year as a fun film that people will enjoy, but overall its gritty nature and violent tendencies went against the grain of its hype. It’s the same problem of DC that they don’t seem to understand how to correct: their formula for the DCEU of dark, brooding, violent and gritty is not working. Sure they’re racking up money but the audience is saturated with this formula. We as the audience have become tired of the same old story and from what it looks like with the upcoming Wonder Woman and Justice League, this isn’t changing at all.
Marvel isn’t any better. I have a problem with the Doctor Strange movie and it’s bothering me a lot. The film is beautiful, it’s very near to the original source comic and its cinematic presence represents what is fun within the whole MCU; my problem is their formula. For all the fun that the MCU has offered me, it’s been the formulaic usage of the characters’ origins that irks me. Initial arrogance, loss of something important to them, finding a way to make up for the loss, going on a journey to understand their superpowers, forgettable villains that will only be used as a plot device… we need something new! Deadpool gave a glimmer of this to us but, even then, it’s still the same style of plot that Marvel uses. Is it fun? Hell yeah! Is it sustainable? Hell no.
I’ve been finding myself jaded by all the hype and marketing on the internet and for a very good reason: I want new concepts in my superhero movies. I’m done with the origins movies. I’m done with the sequels that have become cash cows for both Marvel and DC. We’re at the phase where the crossover team plot of the superhero movies will become a regular thing and let me tell you: the genre’s going to die if they don’t fix it and maybe Steven Spielberg’s going to be right eventually.