The Growth of Superheroes

In case you haven’t noticed, superhero movies are all the rage and have been dominating the box office. Marvel is finding such huge success with its cinematic universe surrounding the Avengers, and it’s got stuff in the works all the way through 2020. DC will soon beef up its offering, with a movie slate that extends into 2020. Why is this genre doing so well now, when past efforts haven’t worked as famously?

Between Bryan Singer’s first X-Men movie and Jon Favreau’s Iron Man, superhero movies were wary about adopting anything that was too comic book-like – especially narrative tropes like crossovers, multiverses, events and team-ups. It wasn’t only that they were too cumbersome, even ambitious, to implement; studios also generally feared that mainstream audiences wouldn’t accept them. Marvel’s gamble to directly transplant the storytelling devices they had been using for decades in their comic books to the big screen changed things.

The advancements in technology behind moviemaking have made Superman-worthy leaps and bounds in the past few decades. From motion-capture, IMAX cameras and CGI; filmmakers can pull off the effects required of these characters and pull them off right.

The Avengers’ success launched a golden age of superheroes, in which the stories of the caped and cowled are TV-rating dependables and box-offices behemoths. What’s more, they’ve increasingly embraces crossovers, team-ups and shared universes that characters can navigate freely outside their own immediate worlds and lives. Captain America’s Falcon enters fisticuffs with Scott Lang in Ant-Man. Spider-Man and Wonder Woman appears in movies like Captain America: Civil War and Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice before even getting their own stand-alone stories.

As the superhero genre pushes forwards toward longevity with more TV shows on the horizon, it will face challenges. Challenges that may entail for it to transfer the movie magic onto TV. Daredevil is the most successful superhero TV show, it boomed the first weekend it came out during its opening weekend. Again, we can all thank the great advancements in technology for creating this TV show.

With the massive surge of comic book lovers coming out of the proverbial closet, audiences have proven they’re ready for a geek-centric slate of movie. They’re infiltrating the awards race: Captain America 2, Guardians of the Galaxy, Big Hero 6 and X-Men: Days of Future Past, have earned Oscar nominations. The question is, will this hype ever die out?


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