I write about politics, family, I write poetry and more. I have yet to write about superheroes in film, yet it is here that I am as comfortable as any other genre. I grew up on comic books. Primarily Marvel, but I have a firm grounding in the DC Universe as well. In the past few weeks, I’ve seen Batman vs. Superman and today Captain America: Civil War and find I have something to say.
Batman vs. Superman had its moments. It followed up on the aftermath of Man of Steel and it was interesting to see Batman power up to the point where he could go toe to toe with Superman. I was slightly annoyed that the Superman who watched his Earth father die when he could have saved him in the previous film, suddenly was willing to sacrifice the world to save his Earth mother. What was worse was the feeble efforts to introduce the Justice League. While Wonder Woman was arguably the best character in the film. The “introduction” of The Flash and Aquaman was terribly weak and can’t compare to the juggernaut that Marvel has created with The Avengers which was set up by multiple individual character films. I’m glad I saw Batman vs. Superman for the sake of completism and being able to hold my own in a conversation but all in all, I could have missed it and been alright!
It’s Captain America: Civil War that was disappointing in a different way. Not that it was a bad movie. Like the fawning critics have made known it had a good story, amazing fight scenes and the much-anticipated introduction of Spider-man and the Black Panther did not disappoint. Ant-Man literally played a large role and generally speaking most of the other Avengers played their part and were consistent with their previous appearances and motivations. I get the impression that Falcon and War Machine were afterthoughts in the movies as they were in the comics but that is a relatively minor complaint. What I found disappointing was that the future of the superhero hero film itself looks dim to me. I told a friend that I’ve waited all my life for these characters to come to the big screen in a realistic fashion and Captain America: Civil War and pretty much all the recent Marvel movies not produced by Fox (and the Hulk movie) have done that. The problem is that they have almost nowhere else to go.
I am reminded of a report I once did on Monster movies and their rise and fall within a relatively short period of time. After Frankenstein, the Wolf Man and Dracula had a few successful individual films. Interest started falling and the only way to fill the seats was to put multiple monsters in the same movie. This gave us “House of Frankenstein” which begat “House of Dracula” and when we knew the shark had been jumped was in “Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein”. All three featured Frankenstein, Wolf Man and Dracula along with other monsters and they finally reached the point where there was no point.
The two Avengers Movies, Captain America: Civil War (which was close to a third Avengers film) and Guardians of the Galaxy were all outstanding movies. After the introduction of Doctor Strange, another Thor movie, a Black Panther film, Captain Marvel and another Ant Man movie. We’ll see a two-part Avengers Infinity War which is rumored to contain as many as 67 characters. What saddens me is the thought there’s nowhere for them to go from there.
The concept of a stand-alone hero movie where the hero singularly battles a foe has already gone by the wayside. This the third Captain America installment had at my count 12 uniformed heroes (depending on how you count Bucky Barnes) and there is little hope in the immediate future for a story which isn’t propped up by co-superstars. Thor: Ragnarok will feature The Hulk, Spider-man will feature Iron Man, it appears the Black Panther will bring back Bucky if not Captain America as well, Ant Man will introduce the Wasp. After Infinity Wars 1 & 2 where can they go?
I’m looking forward to almost all the Marvel (not produced by Fox) movies already announced. I’ll also see X Men: Apocalypse and hope to enjoy it. The Fantastic Four was one of my favorite comics but the movies? Not so much! It might seem a little early to be sounding the alarm but for superhero movies… the end is near.