Why the Newer Superhero Movies are Not that Fun?
There is a significant difference between Tobey Maguire’s Spiderman of the 2000s and Andrew Garfield’s and Tom Holland’s Spiderman of the 2010s. I would say Spiderman 3 was also better than the other two franchises. I remember the early Spiderman as a movie where Peter Parker is in a lot of trouble. Always crying and always thinking about Mary Jane.
That Spiderman showed the essence of a superhero movie with lots of emotions, it showed breakups and their after effects and how terrible losing loved ones can be(all of us remember that Uncle Ben scene). Villains like Green Goblin and Dr Octavious were fierce and merciless. They pale in comparison to Electro (THEY MADE HIM BALD!!!!) and Vulture. The latter are villains for the sake of being villains. Even the latest Spiderman movie ‘Far From Home” had a good villain, Mysterio. But that movie made him a joke by replacing his magical and hypnosis ability to a mere VFX artist.
However, it was not just the new Spiderman movies that were bad. All other movies are equally bad, except a few.
The 2010s saw a boom in the superhero movies industry. You had three movies of Thor, three movies of Captain America, four Spiderman movies, two guardian of the galaxies and so on. There are just two many of them and this is a problem. Movies are competing with each other to be the best and sometimes they just end up being bad. Marvel Studios (Owned by Disney) has produced 22 movies in one decade (including 2020’s black window). This means that 22 superhero movies were made from one particular studio. On average this studio is offering you 2 movies per year. If you include DC comic, other studios then you have a feast of superhero movies.
The 2000s had Spiderman, Superman, Batman, X-Men, and Fantastic Four. There were some really bad ones too, we are looking at you Catwoman and Daredevil.
As a child there were so few movies released that each movie was treated like an event. Even the Superman Returns movie excited me (though it was extremely shitty). Nolan’s The Dark Knight is masterpiece. It is class apart. It taught us the struggles of being crime fighting vigilante, how one deals with losing loved ones (losing Rachel mid way) and how people change when they are confronted with difficult situations (Two-face). You can see that movie again and again and learn something new always.
Even the first X Men (2000) was really good. It was the starting point of all the superheroes movies we see today. The movie gives a deep message about how one takes time to figure themselves out. One can take home the message that all the mutants are different and they stick out from the society. Charles Xavier’s attempts to give meaning to all these mutants who are trying so hard to fit in.
Iron Man 1 is perhaps my favourite Marvel movie. Because it had one protagonist, one villain and an amazing cast. It was funny, had good actions and did a genuine job of delivering a good character to the audience. This is why Iron Man is one of the most loved character.
But Marvel went too far with it.
The issue with the Marvel extended universe is that there are just too many superheroes and too few good quality stories. With so many superheroes hanging around, the audience can rightfully ask the relevance of solo films. Why does Spiderman or Doctor Strange have to battle their enemies all alone without any other avenger. Why can’t they just ask for help if the villain is proving to be difficult. An extended universe may look cool but reduces the logic and quality of solo movies.
Let us talk about the most popular movie: Avengers Endgame. One of the most successful superheroes movie was questionable. I mean it was really good to see all characters come together to fight Thanos, the Russo brothers deserve all credit there. Each character got ample screen-time and that was really difficult to do in a 2 and a half hour movie. It also paid a great homage to the previous Avenger movies.
However, they used time travel. Time travel is a cheap justification for any character dying and bringing them back. If the plot would have demanded it they would have brought back Iron Man and Black Widow too(HISHE made a good parody of this). Time travel is an excuse to reverse all the deaths made in the last movie. With time travel all the deaths of infinity war become meaningless. Let us not talk about Thanos’s useless plan to wipe out half the population of the world.
DC movies are worse. Like Justice League was so bad that I lost faith in DC comics. Man of Steel was good, Batman V Superman was disappointing (awful plot) and Justice League was a disaster. Other solo DC films are catching up but they are also going through the same issue of the newer superhero movies: Nothing to remember them by.
One of the best superhero movies of the 2010 decade was Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker. The movie taught me how a man can be so broken by the society that he cannot distinguish between good and evil. How consequences can make someone a deviant and make them commit ghastly crimes like murder. You could almost feel through what the Joker was going through. It makes a striking resemblance to Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker. Fortunately Peter Parker had a support system where he was able to overcome the trash that the world was throwing at him. Unfortunately, you do not find these elements in Marvel or DC films.
You can easily observe how the newer movies are trying so hard to be funny and kid friendly. Maybe it’s a Disney thing as they want their content to be moderate and rated PG-13. But the DC comics movies are too trying to be overtly comical. My understanding is that the studios are calling the shots and this maybe hampering with the director’s creativity. That’s why the newer movies feel so different.