October 3, 2017
You might have noticed a Marvel film listed as part of the box office this summer, and, perhaps, every summer before that.
Superhero-themed films, and their corresponding prequel, sequel and sequel to the sequel, have become more prevalent through the years. But are these movies actually worth the $10 movie ticket?
Many people cite “Spiderman” (2002) as the first blockbuster superhero movie to gross $100 million in its opening weekend, ergo the fastest to bust the blocks.
I remember being five and dragging my parents to see it. The movie was great and set the right tone and standard for the future genre.
Unfortunately, Spiderman also started the tradition of stretching the characters too thin over an excessive amount of sequels.
The problem with sequels to movies in superhero franchises is that plot lines are often simplified and similar across the genre. These films are not engaging plot-wise, yet they continue to see a large amount of revenue.
We’ve seen movies like “The Phantom Menace” (1999) and “The Fast and the Furious” (2001) contribute to weak characterization. Both movies grabbed an audience’s attention with explosions, choreographed action stunts and likable characters without interesting narratives.
Production companies realized that they had discovered a formula; they didn’t need to create with new narratives or characters each time they wanted to see $100 million from the box office.
It seems like this dominant movie genre, in terms of gross profits, is set on cruise control, thanks to the Walt Disney Company.
Disney bought Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion on Aug. 31, 2009, according to an article in the LA Times. The first Marvel movie made after this acquisition was “Iron Man 2” (2010).
Out of the 20 highest-grossing movies of the 20th century listed by Collider, five of them are superhero sequels, including “The Dark Night” (2008), the sequel the “Batman Begins” (2005). “The Dark Night” ranks at No. 1 in this list.
To that end, “Spiderman 3” (2006) ranks at No. 46 on the worldwide box office, and “Furious 7” (2015) ranks at No. 6, according to Box Office Mojo. These aren’t even sequels – they are sequels to sequels, and let’s be honest, no one really even liked “Spiderman 3.”
Is this a coincidence?
Since “Iron Man” (2008), Marvel has made $12.65 billion (not including the Amazing Spiderman franchise), according to Colllider.
Companies like Disney are perpetuating the sequel movement. Since Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012, there have been two Star Wars sequels – one of which was actually an in-between story and the first Star Wars movie to not be called “episode” or center around the Skywalker family.
Do we really need a whopping 13 movies, to date, about the four main Avenger superheroes? Why does each character need three movies of their own?
We are wasting our time with overhyped sequels with the same general plots and CGI mayhem. Comic book movies can be done well, but they can easily be done to death.
Once the first movie is over and you have the initial arch of how this person became a superhero, the hero easily becomes bland in a plot that is endlessly repetitive.