I want to see a few of these upcoming movies but it strikes me that this is also yet another example of Hollywood’s tendency for overkill. They see a few niche movies that were unexpectedly popular and spend the next decade giving a budget to films in those IPs, making a few profitable blockbusters and suddenly getting a bad case of money diarrhea all over the subject until we’re so saturated in [ superheros | vampires | zombies | Wacky British rom-coms | video game spin-offs | soft core fantasy/knight porn ] that we get completely tired of it for about a decade or two.
Yeah, sure, we had a few really good IPs based on comics. Frank Miller’s stuff translated perfectly to a big screen and was super gritty, but then everyone wanted to copy that 300/Sin City style and they over-used it till everything looked like a short film that a goth middle-schooler would make in art class.
Marvel came in strong with Blade, X-Men and Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man. Blade 2 limped into Blade 3 featuring Ryan Reynolds, a man whose portrayals of comic characters are so bad I’d have preferred to see them played by that creepy guy that hangs out around the Rapid station near my house that pretends he knows me, tries to shake my hand and demands I give money every time I try to go buy groceries. Spider-Man and The Hulk have been re-made so often that the department that handles the actors’ residuals had to hire Steven Hawking. X-Men went so far South, Wolverine should have had a mullet and trucker cap.
While we’re talking about X-Men, there was a period where it looked like the franchise was doomed but things are getting good again. That being said, we don’t talk about those Dark Times. They are forgotten to us, hidden away with Highlander 3 and Indiana Jones 4.
And then there’s Batman. He comes back into pop culture every few years like a shadow in the night, becomes grossly popular, spawns seething hordes of bad imitators, changes the canon more that Doctor Who – he’s the biggest offender here. When he started wearing a black, latex suit, carbon fiber nipples and black eye makeup, so did every other hero. When he turned all gritty and hardcore, so did every other hero. There is no more Spandex and tights. Even Superman, can weather an atomic blast, now wears a suit made from something that looks akin to armor and his colors look like he washed his suit in old coffee grounds. Wolverine doesn’t wear yellow Spandex anymore. His outfit became comically macho: a skin-tight, black leather bodysuit which tended to rip a lot in the chestal area. My guess is it became expensive to rip up these specially molded body suits so it was soon replaced with an old leather jacket and a dirty, ripped wife-beater. Now, finally, he spends nearly every scene in just his bare, rippling pectoral muscles, a bow tie and a pair of Chippendale cuffs.
We got a little taste of a Dark Hero and we liked it so Hollywood decided that everyone needs to be a Batman. You can’t wear brightly colored Spandex and be taken seriously by the other heroes. No, now you have to brood a lot and have some Dark, Tragic Secret to be a good guy. It’s all the Bat’s fault.
So, do you think this glut of comic movies is overkill? Are we hitting the comic-movie saturation point?