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Superhero Fatigue 
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Post Superhero Fatigue
I wss underwhelmed by Iron Man 3. I can;t muster much enthusiasm to see Man Of Steel. I'm even less enthusiastic about the upcoming Thor and Captain America sequels. Even The Wolverine hasn't drawn me in despite being helmed by the talented James Mangold. As I said elsewhere on this forum, I'm superhero'd out.

Then I put "Superhero Fatigue" into Google and got quite a few results.

http://www.theguardian.com/film/2013/jun/11/man-steel-hollywood-break-superheroes

Like I said before: Oversaturation will probably cause the superhero film to go into hibernation (the same way it went into hibernation in the late 90s after Batman and Robin failed). But that could take a while.

Anyone else suffering from superhero fatigue?

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Mon Sep 02, 2013 9:34 am
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Post Re: Superhero Fatigue
For sure. We can only hope that just as happened with Westerns (Westerns at one point accounted for something like a third of all films released) they'll eventually go far, far away and only show up once every couple of years

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Mon Sep 02, 2013 9:41 am
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Post Re: Superhero Fatigue
I actually like superhero movies. Although there are precious few good or excellent ones, I rarely find them really bad either and usually find at least somethingt keep me entertained. In my opinion, the genre still has a lot of potential, because there have been only few superhero movies, which tried to be different and do something extraordinary. The problem isn't so much the genre as such but the fact that so many superhero films are formulaic origin stories.

What I don't quite get is people complaining about the abundance of superhero movies. If you don't like them or are bored by them, just don't watch them. There are plenty of other action movies around so I don't think that superhero movies have ousted other types of blockbuster movies from the cinemas.


Mon Sep 02, 2013 11:57 am
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Post Re: Superhero Fatigue
I used to not be all that interested in superhero films, now I find myself looking forward to them quite a bit, I really enjoyed Iron Man 3, Man Of Steel and Kick Ass 2 this year and i'm looking forward to X-Men Days Of Future Past and Winter Soldier next year(though Thor Dark World looks kinda eh).

Westerns went away because they were no longer making money, superhero films make quite a bit of money on name recognition alone, so I don't see the box-office drying up anytime soon.


Mon Sep 02, 2013 1:20 pm
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Post Re: Superhero Fatigue
Jeff Wilder wrote:
Anyone else suffering from superhero fatigue?

I'm not, but this is only because I haven't gone out of my way to see every such film that has been released over the past few years. I agree that there is a saturation of the market with them, but I still feel that good films of the genre can make it worth the effort.

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Mon Sep 02, 2013 1:35 pm
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Post Re: Superhero Fatigue
JamesKunz wrote:
For sure. We can only hope that just as happened with Westerns (Westerns at one point accounted for something like a third of all films released) they'll eventually go far, far away and only show up once every couple of years


I think we can think Anthony Mann for that :D . In the 50s, John Ford actually only made 2 westerns. Mann made about 12. And then prestige projects like Shane and High Noon got mixed in with B-programmers with Randolph Scott, Lee Marvin, and others. That was driven largely by aesthetics though, the western genre at the time being a great venue for directorial expression.

I look forward to a time when the superhero genre is no longer strictly about mass appeal. Steel is a step in that direction. Frankly, I find the mixed reaction to that movie to be not a disappointment so much as pretty natural and logical really. At long last the superhero genre is behaving as what it is: a genre, designed for a niche audience instead of the mainstream. Just what horror, sci fi, and westerns used to be.

But as Jeff Wilder said somewhere else, the superhero vibe is beginning to bleed into other facets of the action genre. I almost see it as vice versa though, with the action genre itself bleeding into everything else. Just look at The Grandmaster: a movie that comes from the opposite side of the world with a very different cultural sensibility. Wong's storytelling techniques don't conform to anything resembling Hollywood, but action has proven to be the universal language. 50 years ago, Hitchcock and Mann both talked about how a great movie crosses language barriers. Back then it wasn't all about action, but I feel like that's what it has turned into, at least for the time being.


Mon Sep 02, 2013 5:36 pm
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Post Re: Superhero Fatigue
I'm fatigued enough that I wasn't interested in the new Superman and Spider-Man movies, and I was never interested in Wolverine. I'm intrigued, though, by the new Thor movie.

It looks like DC has only two or three marketable superheroes, Superman, Batman and maybe Wonder Woman, and they're determined to recycle them till doomsday. (Hmmm, Doomsday.)

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Mon Sep 02, 2013 9:05 pm
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Post Re: Superhero Fatigue
In addition to Superman and Batman films, Warner/DC also had successes with less traditional stories like V For Vendetta and Hellblazer, plus disappointments with Jonah Hex and Green Lantern. It's a misconception that they're sticking strictly to their big two guns.

If there's any lesson they've learned (obviously not including "don't make shitty movies"), it's that trying to ape Marvel's strategy--i.e. cranking out a bunch of paint-by-numbers movies for every major character in their stable--has not and probably will never work for them.

I think that's actually good for them. People talk about Marvel as the more successful of the two simply because they've gotten a larger number of movies off the ground, but I think that's a problem masquerading as a solution. I don't think people are getting fatigued by superhero movies. I think people are getting fatigued by the sort of factory-made, stylistically indistinguishable, straight-up-the-middle superhero movies that Marvel specializes in. Nobody gets tired of good movies, no matter the genre.

That isn't to give credit to Warner/DC, because their dubious accomplishment is attempting and failing at doing what Marvel has done to cause this problem.

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Mon Sep 02, 2013 10:14 pm
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Post Re: Superhero Fatigue
Quote:
http://www.theguardian.com/film/2013/jun/11/man-steel-hollywood-break-superheroes


Good article. I especially like the part where he talks about how these recent superheroes have poorly defined powers. This has been an issue for me since Batman Begins. I still remember admiring Spider-Man 2 for the intricate nature of Doc Ock's condition. But then you had Batman Begins and it's like...what can Scarecrow do? And a typical answer might have been "well, he puts on a mask and shoots fear gas into peoples' faces." But I would retort: I know what he does do in this movie, but what can he do? That's always the first question I ask when someone presents me with a superhero. And somewhere along the road, its importance was lost. X-Men never had a problem with it. What's the deal?

In The Dark Knight, we're obviously meant to think of the characters as not having superpowers, per se. But the thing is, they kind of do. How is it Joker can appear and disappear from places at will? He seems to be able to do so. His apparitions in The Dark Knight are as sudden and mind-boggling as Superman's in Man of Steel. The ultimate paradox of DC comics is that Batman seems to be more powerful than Superman. This could be seen as kind of a cosmic joke, but Nolan always took it literally. The problem is, a lot of these screenplays are being written as if they're any old action movie with heroes and villains. That's fine when the heroes and villains are human and operate by the same laws that we do. But superhero scripts really need to be written differently. They need to be written around the powers themselves.

Does anyone else find it interesting that the Chronicle kids are more powerful than Superman? And that's a budget many times lower.

But for instance, the climax of Avengers: Whedon imitates the sound effects and general feeling of certain moments in Star Wars. Now granted, the Jedi powers were sometimes poorly defined too. But it's way too easy to connect Star Wars to superheroes. Closely watch Thor in The Avengers: sometimes he can fly, sometimes he can't. His physicality in Whedon's movie has no consistency and never makes a dollop of sense. Every Avenger had to have his equal share of screen time right? Well apparently that means pretending that Captain America is just as powerful as Hulk, Iron Man, or Thor. When a movie doesn't play by its own rules on even the simplest level, it's just a bad movie. That's been an unconditional truth of filmmaking for over 100 years.

Man of Steel is a movie that deep down is aiming to be transgressive. Instead of rescue, it shows destruction. Instead of inspiration, it shows existential crisis. Instead of a sleek, shiny epic, it's relatively monochromatic and is rough around the edges. It's closer to being a 2.5 hour mood piece than to being an epic story. But its weaknesses are also its best defense and they make it fascinating. Because it's as if Snyder doesn't want the viewer to like the film so much as accept it. He's not necessarily aiming to please. He's aiming to say "this is how it is; this is the movie you asked for: a more realistic Superman with more action than Superman Returns." And we can't forget that at the end of the day, people are asking for these movies to be made. We've essentially reached the point in movie history where the powers that be are taking requests. It's very much become a "you get what you pay for" system.

To sum up, these movies will stop being made when people stop asking for them, which may or may not happen when the genre is finally pushed to its ultimate paroxysm.


Tue Sep 03, 2013 6:25 am
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Post Re: Superhero Fatigue
One advantage the Dark Knight Rises has over Man of Steel is peril.

When Batman fights Bane, every blow Batman strikes is intended to cause the maximum possible damage. And this is cosistent with his prevailing philosophy of what you might call utility. Making the absolute most of his limited capabilities. You feel his dread when he makes no inroads and actually starts to tire himself out, because you know the hiding he's about to receive.

Superman, in Man of Steel, has seemingly infinite remit depending on the given situation. He can hold up a falling ocean oil rig; punch beings from one town to the next; then (if memory serves) defeat that gravity contraption. The audience can't possibly feel any of this.

In the Dark Knight films, Batman's one strength that makes him anything like super is his determination. That's it. He lands awkwarardly, struggles regularly, but pulls through, just. And the fighting method they utlise in the film is consistent with this. It's about doing just enough with whatever means you have at your disposal. The fight sequences are sometimes ill-defined, but Bruce's methods of dealing with his enemies is actually internally consistent. He uses his size when he needs to, his equipment when he needs to, and flexibility when required.

Thought has gone into this. None went into MoS

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Tue Sep 03, 2013 8:04 am
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Post Re: Superhero Fatigue
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Superman, in Man of Steel, has seemingly infinite remit depending on the given situation. He can hold up a falling ocean oil rig; punch beings from one town to the next; then (if memory serves) defeat that gravity contraption. The audience can't possibly feel any of this.


But you're criticizing the movie for something it wasn't trying to do. Snyder doesn't want the audience to feel it, he just wants them see it. To see what it looks like and to reckon with the spectacle of it. Superman will never be truly relateable no matter what they do with him. He's an alien with God-like powers that he was born with. Nobody can relate to that. Which would be a problem except I see no reason why we can't have one or two heroes who are just fun to watch without being relateable. For relatability, we have literally hundreds of other cinematic heroes to draw from. That leaves a lot of room for Superman just to be what he is.


Tue Sep 03, 2013 10:11 pm
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Post Re: Superhero Fatigue
I was sick of this 'Superhero Mania' before it even started. The following superhero movies will be the only ones that will ever matter to me: the first two Superman 1.0 movies, the first two Batman 1.0 movies, and the 3 Batman 2.0 movies (which, honestly, I probably would've also skipped had Christopher Nolan not directed them :| ). With the possible exception of Spider-Man, I never really got into Marvel superheroes. But the fact that the central characters were cast so young is what mainly caused me to skip the Spider-Man 1.0 movies. :?

I guess I shouldn't hold my breath for Aquaman or Hawkman movies (not that I'd see them at this point anyway). ;)


Tue Sep 03, 2013 10:58 pm
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Post Re: Superhero Fatigue
Have super hero movies ever exceeded more than 10% of the total number of studio releases in a given year? I would love to crunch numbers on this but classes have started for me and I don't have the time. Furthermore, has anyone considered the possibility of, if the studios weren't making big budget Superhero movies, they'd simply be making equally vapid big budget fare with non-superhero subjects instead?

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Tue Sep 03, 2013 11:14 pm
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Post Re: Superhero Fatigue
thered47 wrote:
Have super hero movies ever exceeded more than 10% of the total number of studio releases in a given year? I would love to crunch numbers on this but classes have started for me and I don't have the time. Furthermore, has anyone considered the possibility of, if the studios weren't making big budget Superhero movies, they'd simply be making equally vapid big budget fare with non-superhero subjects instead?

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Wed Sep 04, 2013 1:05 am
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Post Re: Superhero Fatigue
MGamesCook wrote:
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Superman, in Man of Steel, has seemingly infinite remit depending on the given situation. He can hold up a falling ocean oil rig; punch beings from one town to the next; then (if memory serves) defeat that gravity contraption. The audience can't possibly feel any of this.


But you're criticizing the movie for something it wasn't trying to do. Snyder doesn't want the audience to feel it, he just wants them see it. To see what it looks like and to reckon with the spectacle of it. Superman will never be truly relateable no matter what they do with him. He's an alien with God-like powers that he was born with. Nobody can relate to that. Which would be a problem except I see no reason why we can't have one or two heroes who are just fun to watch without being relateable. For relatability, we have literally hundreds of other cinematic heroes to draw from. That leaves a lot of room for Superman just to be what he is.


I think they all need to be relatable. And I think Nolan gives us a Batman who is both incredible strong, yet humanly feeble at the same time.

Superman is relatable as the babbling nerd, Clark Kent. But not in hus physical prowess, which makes his fight scenes hard to connect with.

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Wed Sep 04, 2013 4:24 am
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Post Re: Superhero Fatigue
NotHughGrant wrote:
MGamesCook wrote:
Quote:
Superman, in Man of Steel, has seemingly infinite remit depending on the given situation. He can hold up a falling ocean oil rig; punch beings from one town to the next; then (if memory serves) defeat that gravity contraption. The audience can't possibly feel any of this.


But you're criticizing the movie for something it wasn't trying to do. Snyder doesn't want the audience to feel it, he just wants them see it. To see what it looks like and to reckon with the spectacle of it. Superman will never be truly relateable no matter what they do with him. He's an alien with God-like powers that he was born with. Nobody can relate to that. Which would be a problem except I see no reason why we can't have one or two heroes who are just fun to watch without being relateable. For relatability, we have literally hundreds of other cinematic heroes to draw from. That leaves a lot of room for Superman just to be what he is.


I think they all need to be relatable. And I think Nolan gives us a Batman who is both incredible strong, yet humanly feeble at the same time.

Superman is relatable as the babbling nerd, Clark Kent. But not in hus physical prowess, which makes his fight scenes hard to connect with.

Well I personally could not connect with Nolan's Batman at all, cause i'm not super rich or anything like that.


Wed Sep 04, 2013 5:02 am
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Post Re: Superhero Fatigue
Superman: Guy raised in the midwest within humble means, works hard, grows up not-too-popular but with a small circle of good friends, moves to the big city, gets a job, gets yelled at by a boss, pines for the pretty girl who has no time for him, and goes home at night to his small apartment. Occasionally saves the world.

Batman: Extraordinarily fucked up childhood, has access to literally anything money can buy, has a face and name that half the people on the planet instantly recognize, has a fleet of awesome cars both above and below ground, can break into and out of the Pentagon with just the stuff he carries in his belt, is constantly beset by beautiful women, and has a butler at his beck and call 24/7. Occasionally saves the world.

Superman, not relatable? My ass. He is the most relatable of superheroes. He's just an everyman with a special gift... and every man has a special gift.

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Wed Sep 04, 2013 5:15 am
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Post Re: Superhero Fatigue
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Well I personally could not connect with Nolan's Batman at all, cause i'm not super rich or anything like that.


I don't find Batman to be relateable, but I don't find Superman to be particularly relateable either. I did find Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man to be somewhat relateable, but, for me, that doesn't mean any of Raimi's films are better than Steel. Gary King and his friends I find relateable, but not all movies need to be like that. I do find Man of Steel to be relateable from the point of view of the bystanders watching the destruction take place. I think that's pretty much good enough because that's really what the movie is about. Man of Steel centers around Superman, but it's not necessarily about Superman. Or to put it a different way, Snyder's movie is more about the mystery of Superman, deliberately remaining inconclusive. Under Snyder's direction, Kal El is frustratingly elusive, which is largely the point of the movie.


Wed Sep 04, 2013 6:08 am
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Post Re: Superhero Fatigue
JamesKunz wrote:
For sure. We can only hope that just as happened with Westerns (Westerns at one point accounted for something like a third of all films released) they'll eventually go far, far away and only show up once every couple of years


The real culprit for the decline of the western in a farfetched way was Mel Brooks and his Blazing Saddles in 1974. It was a huge hit and made such fun of the genre that western output almost completed stopped after it's run including tv with Gunsmoke in 1975. Or did it stop. This article suggest that westerns have only morphed into other kinds of movies. It could be argued that Avatar is a really a western.

http://www.theguardian.com/film/2011/feb/03/true-grit-westerns

Quote:
But if the number of westerns fell, the genre never really disappeared – it just went underground. Just as westerns were a peculiarly American variation on old-world tales of mythological heroes or wandering knights, so, from the 1970s onwards, the cowboys, gunslingers and bounty hunters of yore passed the baton to cops and detectives, hitmen and astronauts. Henceforth the western disguised itself as the road movie, the action film or science fiction. Clint Eastwood and Don Siegel bridged the gap with Coogan's Bluff, while John Carpenter's Assault on Precinct 13 was a modern urban reworking of Rio Bravo. Many of Carpenter's other films, like those of Walter Hill, are westerns in all but name.

Sci-fi films such as Westworld, Outland or Battle Beyond the Stars barely bother to disguise their western roots, but, essentially, any movie in which the characters pass through hostile territory or rid the community of its bad guys is cleaving to the western tradition, whether it's Arnold Schwarzenegger in Central America, Bruce Willis or Eddie Murphy in LA, or Mel Gibson and Danny Glover skipping the paperwork real cops would need to tackle in favour of the latterday equivalent of galloping around on horseback and yelling "Yeehaw!"


Whether superheroes will have their Blazing Saddles moment is to be seen but it seems more likely a series of high profile flops will probably end their run for a while.


Wed Sep 04, 2013 6:44 am
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Post Re: Superhero Fatigue
Ken wrote:
Superman: Guy raised in the midwest within humble means, works hard, grows up not-too-popular but with a small circle of good friends, moves to the big city, gets a job, gets yelled at by a boss, pines for the pretty girl who has no time for him, and goes home at night to his small apartment. Occasionally saves the world.

Superman, not relatable? My ass. He is the most relatable of superheroes. He's just an everyman with a special gift... and every man has a special gift.


Ken, your comparison of the character attributes of Superman and the abilities of Batman isn't very helpful when deciding who's the more relatable character. When you look at Superman's abilities, they would read like this:

Superman: Last son of planet Krypton, not vulnerable by cuts, stings or blunt trauma, isn't affected by illness, radiation or poisons (with the exception of a mineral, which doesn't naturally occur on Earth), superhumanly strong (extent depends on author), runs faster than a locomotive since he's a teenager, capable of flight, shoots heat rays from his eyes which are hot enough to melt metal, can freeze large lakes with his breath, has X-ray vision and generally enhanced senses, doesn't need to breath oxygen and can exist in the vacuum of space without any aid, wears bright red underpants over a shiny blue romper suit and a cape.

These aren't features, which make Superman relatable any more than Batman. Actually, if you look at abilities and other defining features, a superhero cannot be relatable by definition. The same applies to the public persona of a superhero (Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne), because it is implied that the superhero identity is the true nature of the character rather than the facade for the public (irrespective of whether this is literally the case as with Superman/Clark Kent).

By referring to Superman's character attributes, you've hit the nail on the head, though: The characters are relatable if you can sympathise with their predicament and if they have understandable motives and problems. Whether this is the case or not is primarily the storyteller's responisbility and not so much depending on the character as such.


Wed Sep 04, 2013 7:00 am
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