Every release from DC or Marvel starts up a conversation about superhero fatigue. People are waiting for the decline in this popular genre, thinking it is a fad, except it is not something that will die after a few years. These characters and stories are beloved by fans all over the world. With Far From Home becoming the highest-grossing movie for Spidey and Endgame becoming the highest-grossing movie of all time, this proves that this will not go away anytime soon.
A formula that works has been established. Movies like Shazam! which made $364 million out of its $100 million budget and Captain Marvel made slightly over a billion in its lifetime run in theaters. Those two hit beats that anyone who has seen any of these films will recognize. Despite being reasonably basic origin story movies, the reviews and money show they can still hit hard with the DC hero having a 91% and Marvel’s most powerful personality having a respectable 78%.
The cookie-cutter spectacles get people in the theater, but to strive for longevity, creativity needs to continue to run freely. Deadpool, Logan, and Guardians of the Galaxy have all changed the game for tone and style in the seemingly oversaturated genre. While others fly with capes and spandex, Ryan Reynolds showed the world adult humor while fighting superpowered criminals works with a mass audience, while James Mangold crafted a dramatic, Western-inspired end to Hugh Jackman’s career as Wolverine, and James Gunn changed the face of the MCU with space outlaws turning good.
Change continues to arrive in the coming years. Joker will set the tone for both a villain’s origin while balancing a grounded crime drama. We always see characters breaking the law and having to deal with the consequences as a masked vigilante comes to save the day, but never the experience to see this done in a realistic way that puts aside any caped heroes.
Meanwhile, the mind behind plenty of iconic Spider-Man comics, Todd McFarlane, is creating a horrifying adaption from his own comic creation, Spawn. He aims for a reboot that will scare the audience with its horror elements along with a hard R rating.
The king of a superhero coming to the silver screen is currently Marvel. Kevin Fiege, head of Marvel Studios, plans on changing things up moving forward because even he recognizes that they are going into the formulaic territory. By having more diversity, cosmic storylines, and the possibility of R rated MCU entries, it is safe to say that Earth’s Mightiest Heroes will not go stale in the next phase.
Narratively these studios have plenty of source material to choose from to prevent running out of ideas. Both Marvel and DC not only have epic stories to tell on the big screen but plenty of characters that have not had a blockbuster adaption. Now that Marvel owns more of its roster after the Fox acquisition expects plenty to come with the X-Men and Fantastic Four, and that does not even consider the plans for phase four.
The big question fans have for Marvel is who will be the next big baddie after Thanos, which leaves many possibilities. Now that X-Men and Fantastic Four will eventually get introduced into this universe, that allows their villains to do what the Mad Titan could not accomplish by defeating this extensive roster of heroic men, women, and creatures.
DC has had its struggles, but besides their known and unknown catalog of superpowered personalities, the studio plans on a secondary universe starting with the upcoming Joker movie. It is ambitious and risky; however, this can save and redeem the company in the eyes of moviegoers.
The superhero train’s speed continues to go faster, making it harder to stop. The lineup of upcoming films makes it even more challenging to imagine this trend having a downfall in the near future. People will hit the theaters, and the heroes will still save the world.
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Image via Marvel Studios