Oversaturation of the Superhero Genre


To quote the greatest living director of all time, Martin Scorsese: “Honesty, the closest I can think of them, as well made as they are, with actors doing the best they can under the circumstances, is theme parks.” In all honesty, I fully agree with his take on the superhero genre. There is nothing wrong with theme park rides, but the more you ride them the less you enjoy them and superhero movies are a ride I’ve been on one too many times. 

There is no denying there is a surplus of superhero movies. Ever since the release of the original “Avengers” movie in 2012, every movie studio has wanted a piece of that lucrative pie; it’s basically a legal way to print money. Look at the highest grossing movies of all time, nearly half of the top ten belong to the superhero genre, and almost all of those belong to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I am flat out tired of this oversaturated, overplayed, dominant genre that has had a tight grip on the box office for so long. 

Barring a few exceptions-  looking at you “The Suicide Sqaud” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home”- I have had little to no strong emotions toward any superhero movies released post “Avengers Endgame.” Even the ones I enjoyed, for example “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” and “Black Widow”, I have no interest in rewatching and care even less about the future of the characters. Looking to the future of the genre, outside of the new Doctor Strange, I can only feel a sense of dread from the suffocating oversaturation of these movies. 

In the past, I was excited for almost every superhero movie released by both DC and Marvel. I would have killed a person just to get a sliver of information on any future release. Nowadays, I couldn’t care less and nothing exemplified this more than a trailer hyping the future of DC movies that played in front of “The Batman.” I felt so empty inside when the logo for “Aquaman 2” and “The Flash” appeared. Are you telling me people legitimately want to see either of those or any other of the countless sequels and spinoffs that stem from most superhero movies? Probably, but at least the movie that followed it gave me a glimmer of hope for the future of this genre?

“The Batman” is different from other superhero movies in the sense that it ditches the migraine inducing,  CGI fueled fight sequences (laced with quick cuts to hide the unfinished product) with grounded hand to hand combat that shows everything. I am also very tired of the Marvel humor formula, the witty remark followed up with a pop culture reference. Luckily, this movie benefits from a sparse use of humor. Instead of the Marvel humor formula, “The Batman” implements dark humor that rides the line between self-seriousness and the right amount of camp. 

Outside of the now iconic Avengers theme, Marvel movies have had largely forgettable scores. “The Batman” and composer Michael Giachhino are the rope used to escape this bog of mediocrity. This score is simply phenomenal and rather magnificent. I had legitimate goosebumps every time the main theme played, and thoroughly enjoyed every other piece of composition that was featured here. “The Batman” also frequently features the song “Something in the Way” by Nirvana, which is simply fantastic and fits perfectly into this moody, atmospheric piece of art. As soon as the movie ended I had already had both the score and “Something in the Way” downloaded to my Apple Music. 

Another problem that plagues many modern superhero movies is both a dull color palette and flat cinematography. To put it in other words, the vast majority of superhero movies are blander than a beige Subway sandwich. “The Batman” on the other hand, is brimming with life and dynamic camera work that will have you on the edge of your seat. I am so happy that DC is finally allowing their directors’ creative voices to shine thoroughly throughout their products. If Marvel followed suit, then I would be legitimately excited for the future of the superhero genre.