The Rise (And Imminent Demise) of Comic Book Movies

MMD August 16, 2014 0
The Rise (And Imminent Demise) of Comic Book Movies

I won’t lie to you, I love comic book movies, even the bad ones (i.e. Punisher circa 1989). With the combination of brilliant directors, cinematographers and the leaps and bounds CGI has taken over the past few years, we’ve come a long way from Toby Maguire in spandex. Finally we are able to see comic book movies the way they are supposed to be experienced. No longer are we limited in our capabilities of bringing a super hero to life in a way that doesn’t look cheap. Superman can fly without the obvious wire’s holding him up against a background that they hope we don’t notice, and without CGI we wouldn’t be able to see Wolverine’s claws pop out of his fists as if they actually belong in the actor.

?That being said, however, the realization of all these things has led to an “opening of the flood gates”. We are now so submerged in the comic book movie industry that things are starting to get a little confusing. Sure, as a comic book reader for 20 some years it makes my Geek senses tingle with excitement, but as we start to get into the details behind each successive hero film it gets tiring, and I think I know why.

?The comic book universe, just from the “Big Two” alone (Marvel and DC) is absolutely gigantic. Hundreds upon hundreds of heroes, heroines, villains, and side characters have been created since the onset of Superman in the late 1930’s. So many in fact, that by the late 1960’s it was decided, to keep each of these characters interesting, why not start having them interact with each other? Guest appearances had been done before, but what we’re talking about is a gigantic “SIMS” like landscape encompassing the world, and the movie industry has it a rough point in the creative process where it seems overloaded with options. Especially now that they have unleashed the beast that is “The Avengers” with endless spin-offs, side stories, and now a TV show.

?Marvel dove right into their monster no holds barred. Starting off with individual films for Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America was smart, but now that they’ve done the first Avengers film and three follow ups for each character, where do they go next? Like I said, the possibilities are endless, and in Avengers 2 they will be taking on possibly their greatest enemy, Ultron. Good choice. Good move in an endless universe of villains, and it’s a big enough name to bring in fans. But then what? You’ve planned 3 steps ahead but your still 4 steps behind. What happens when all of the greatest stories, that can’t be topped, have been told? Oh wait…..I know what you’ll do.


?I can’t stand that word, and yet it excites me. The idea that once you thought they were finished, they come right back with a new look. So far it’s been working for them with the Amazing Spider Man series, the reboot of that terrible Spider Man trilogy that seemed incredible when it first came out. But yet again, I fear the universe of comic book films may have shot itself in the foot. Not only is there a question of where to go with the Marvel Universe’s greatest team of hero’s, but DC is in the same boat as well. Although to be honest, we all in the comic book world know exactly where they are going, so how do they surprise us?

So far, the previously announced Superman V.S. Batman movie has now evolved into a Justice League movie ( the DC version of Avengers) with the addition of Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, and now possibly Aquaman. Needless to say there will be endless spin-offs here, but the most concerning one for folks right now is Batman. Over the past nine years, the Christopher Nolan series starring Christian Bale (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises) has dominated the comic book film industry (leading up to what I like to call the “Marvel Monopoly”). Talk about leaps and bounds in the comic film industry, everyone (even non comic fans) agree it’s an amazing trilogy.

?So with the announcement that not only will Ben Affleck play Batman in the Man of Steel follow up, but also that he is signed to a five picture deal, the craziest question of this decade arises: How do they follow up one of the greatest film series ever created? How will they keep things interesting? Lord knows we don’t need another Batman origin story, we all know it, and Zach Snyder (Director: Man of Steel, Superman V.S. Batman, Watchmen) was smart enough to consider that. So here we find that this “new” Batman will be an older version, who’s been in the vigilante game for a few years. Good move, but good luck.

?Don’t get me wrong, the horse isn’t dead yet, but their already starting to beat it. No matter which you take a look at, Marvel or DC, the universe of characters that they created is seemingly infinite. But the problem that arises is that they have already used their best stories, and their greatest characters. The real “moneymakers” have been utilized, so now what? The comic book film industry is booming right now, but if it were on the stock market, the future looks bleak after 2017. Trust me when I say: Sell, Sell, Sell!


Article By: B.K. Mullen

Reel Comics Podcast

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