Jason Mamoa, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller and Ray Fisher

5 Reasons Why the Superhero Genre Will Endure

Henry Cavill in Man of SteelWe’ve all shared this familiar childhood moment: with a towel on our back that functions as our imaginary cape, and a cut-up cloth over our heads that’s supposed to be a make-shift mask, we run all over our house thinking we’re flying across a city that needs saving. On numerous occasions growing up, we imagined living the superhero and superheroine mythology ourselves even before fully understanding the fascinating comic book universe they come from and the captivating stories they hold.

Just by this virtue alone, you can expect the superhero genre to live on as it is deeply ingrained in our consciousness, more so in today’s culture, and will continue for many years to come. Not convinced? We’ve got five persuasive points to make you consider otherwise.Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner, Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo in The Avengers

Superheroes are Big Movie Business

The merging of comic book literature and cinema has been good for the film industry. All you need to look at are the international profits being pulled in by the major production outfits at the box office with their many offerings. Take for instance, the 2012 Marvel Studios hit, The Avengers. Statista notes that as of March 2017 the superhero team group have made 1.52 billion U.S. dollars worldwide. From the DC end of the comic book spectrum, Forbes revealed that production companies Legendary Pictures and Syncopy’s earnings amounted to 2.64 billion U.S. dollars worldwide via The Dark Knight Trilogy.

Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill in Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice

Superhero Films Will Always Find an Audience

While The Avengers and The Dark Knight films are critically acclaimed and commercially successful, not all flicks that are inspired by comic books are sure fire favorites. The 2016 film Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice was not only panned by film reviewers, but also disliked by many fans of the characters. However, CNBC states that despite the flick’s lukewarm to negative reception, it managed to make 873 million U.S. dollars. With superhero films now the main moneymakers for studios, regardless in some cases of negative press, there is no sign that the genre will slow down.

Chadwick Boseman in Black Panther

Superhero Movies Just Keep Coming

Up until the year 2021, the superhero genre may potentially gain even more followers from both the comic book and cinema sphere. Newsrama gives us a sneak peak of what upcoming flicks to watch out for. In 2018 alone, we can expect at least 10 Marvel and DC movies that include highly anticipated titles like Black PantherDeadpool 2, Venom, Aquaman, and Avengers: Infinity War. Between 2019 to 2021, 22 superhero films are already slated to hit movie theaters.

Batman: Arkham Knight

Superheroes Have Captured Our Imagination on Different Gaming Platforms

Superheroes have undeniably wielded their influence in the gaming world. You can easily spot the wide variety of superheroes being featured on different gaming platforms. These games have not only made loyal fan bases happy, but have also attracted a strong following from gaming fans. In addition to being one of the most anticipated games in recent years, IGN reports that Batman: Arkham Knight became the fastest-selling game of 2015 moving up to 5 million units worldwide just within months of its release.

The online presence of superheroes is just as strong with games directly inspired by characters appearing on non-tradition platforms. Entertainment gaming portal Slingo has many superhero-themed slot games including Hellboy and the Thor-inspired Thunderstruck that offer fans of different characters the chance to play with their favorite heroes in a completely different setting. With so much choice available, it is clear that the superhero genre has definitely grown from a niche market to a global institution. Part of the genre’s longevity is attributable to the fact that it can be easily adapted from comics to film, games, and even general merchandising.

Chris Evans in Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Superheroes Have Inspired a Global Fitness Trend

Superheroes have become more than just role models. Nowadays, the fitness world strives to work towards a physique superhero films have depicted over the years. Through advancements in training methods, more and more “superhero workouts” pop up online and feature exercises and movements that build both mass and strength like these larger-than-life characters. Whether it’s a totally jacked Batman, the most ripped of demigods in Thor, or even genetically gifted Captain America, Men’s Fitness revealed the different techniques that these actors used to get into superhero shape.

As people try to emulate superheroes, whether through entertainment outlets or in their daily lives, the longer the superhero genre will continue to be a dominant part of our culture.

*This look at the bright future of superhero films was written by my guest columnist, Evan Lowe.

28 thoughts on “5 Reasons Why the Superhero Genre Will Endure”

  1. I really believe that the only reason the genre did not take off sooner on film is that the film technology only recently caught up with the material. Now they can make superheroes look cool, whereas before they came off as goofy. There are exceptions, like Burton’s Batman, of course.

    It’s tempting to say that people are in the mood to watch films about godlike vigilantes, because real life athourities are failing, but that is wrong. Superman used to save immigrants from evil landlords, in the very early days. There was always a wish fulfillment need, and whenever things are going great in the world these characters morph into other symbols, start filling other needs. The secret to the longevity of these characters is thier flexibility. Years from now in the future, superhero films will not look or feel the same, but I agree with you, they will be around. there is something about these characters that makes them both immutable and up for grabs.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s what they probably once said about westerns, tho. Says the Devil’s advocate in me.

        But the measure of how much people seem to need superheroes is that satires and ironic deconstructions only fly with a general audience on rare, rare occasions. By the way, you seriously need to do that poll on best ironic superhero parody/deconstruction on film.

        Mystery Men
        Kick-Ass
        Watchmen
        The Incredibles
        Hancock
        The Tick
        Unbreakable
        Heroes (I gather; never saw it)
        Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog (gets my vote)

        I just got you started.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. That’s a great idea. Maybe non-traditional super hero movie would cover a broader group. By the way, I’m sure you saw it a year or so ago when Spielberg said that the superhero genre was going the way of the western; just dismissing it. Not only does that show how out of touch he is…..but we still get five or six westerns a year. It’s not a dead genre. It’s isn’t the days of John Wayne and Gunsmoke, but it’s by no means a dead genre.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I think that something similar might happen to the superhero genre. Right now we are experiencing the equivalent of the John Wayne glory days. But don’t you think westerns got a lot more interesting subsequent to that? If there ever comes a time when these superhero movies need to break a billion dollar ceiling to succeed (and good Widdershins is right to point out in his comment below that that day may come) all it means is that low budget superhero movies will become a thing. Obviously no one really knows, and I do not claim to be a prognosticator of prognosticators, but films like Logan show that we are entering a place where audiences are getting tired of the same old formula.

        Things are about to start getting interesting, I think. Logan was like The Searchers. Soon we will get a superhero McCabe and Mrs. Miller, and then, one day, we might even get a superhero Unforgiven.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. There are a lot of parallels between Logan and Unforgiven. Honestly, it depends on how characters that people are NOT familiar with are introduced (like Shazam for example) and how they resonate, because-yes-at a certain point we will have hit all the huge storylines possible under rights as they stand and the X-Men are already chasing their tail as a team, which is ridiculous given how many mutants and stories there are. Watchmen is going to HBO for another shot (though I still think Snyder did the best anyone could in a film). I don’t think people realize how many graphic novels and non-DC/Marvel heroes and stories haven’t even been tapped yet. As always, with any genre, it is going to depend on the quality of the projects to see if people stick with it. X-Men started the modern age 17 years ago and it’s only getting bigger. When you have multiple bombs starting to occur yearly, then you may see a scaling back and the end of the golden age, but I think we’re at least another decade from that.
        Btw, Widders is very very much a she lol, but I doubt she’d hold it against you since only someone who loves Terry Pratchett as much as we do would get her screen name and even in that context, it’s not really gender specific. She still has my favorite sn on this site. Bravo again Widders!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Snyder did the best he could with a two hour movie. Watchman needs more space. The irony will be if it now gets way too much space. D’oh.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I hope they stick around too … When I’m 90 I want to be kicking back in whatever passes for a cinema in thirty years, watching Avengers 25 with Barton’s kid as Capt America setting up the new HQ in the highlands of Greenland when a call comes in from Mars 4 about a new alien threat!!! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      7. LOLOLOL, I want to live in that world!!! I honestly think Hawkeye is going to bite it in Infinity War and Age of Ultron was our goosing for it, but you can so easily bring in Kate Bishop as the new one and she’s such a great character.

        Liked by 2 people

      8. Losing Hawkeye would be a bitter pill if the entire cast was not in the process of revolving. Renner has a wonderful way of underplaying and letting the flashier characters shine, yet I can’t imagine removing him from the current equation.

        Like

  2. I think 40 years (give or take) of ‘blockbuster’ superhero films already constitutes longevity 😀

    .. but given the culture that social media has created in these modern times I doubt there’s any way the future can be predicted with the certainty of ‘will have longevity’.

    It will depend on a gazillion factors, for example, like mainstream/blockbuster films finding another genre as it’s darling and movie-goers embracing that genre, whether the cost of these films just skyrockets so that if one doesn’t break the billion dollar ‘ceiling’ it will be considered a financial failure, just to name two off the top of my head.

    A lot of films are making their ‘bread-and-butter’ money in countries other than the US, and no-one knows how that’s going to turn out … way too many variables.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. A world without superheroes is hard to imagine, but things do fall out of favor. I really think that the secret of these characters is that each one has a set of physical and personality characteristics, and those traits are striking and simple and appealing. I’m not saying that a superhero can’t be complex, only that the core traits that define him over time are simple to keep in your head. And as long as most of those notes are struck, the character can adapt to any time period, or point of view, that a writer wants. But no matter how far afield the character is taken, if most of the core characteristics are there, he IS the same character as before, and people will unquestioningly accept him as such. West, Keaton and Bale were not “reimagining” Batman for their times, they WERE Batman. This is why I don’t think these figures are going anywhere, and that even if they fall out of favor, they will still pop up.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Greatest American Hero. That show made fun of superheroes before mocking superheroes became its own sub genre. The show was terrible, but you have to give it props for leading the charge.

      Who could it be?/Beleive it or not, it’s just me!

      What kind of cloying song uses the line “Who could it be?” Arrrggghhh. Flashbacks.

      Like

      1. Darkman! Not a spoof or even meta, but definitely nontraditional. Also, I honestly don’t know if anyone, anywhere, still watches Ren and Stimpy, but the extended Powdered Toast Man sequence in one of the episodes is one of the great superhero takedowns of all time.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I jut looked, and I can’t find the whole scene on You Tube anymore. It was there not too long ago. There’s a video where someone has comically sped the scene up, and there are plenty of clips from the scene, but no entire scene to be found. And you kind of need to watch the whole thing. I believe it’s in season 2, episode 2. If you ever get a chance, check it out.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Ah. OK.

        The show is weird as all hell, isn’t it? Back then the culture was different, and all the offensive material in the show was kind of startling, especially since the show was aimed at kids. It was insanely popular for a brief period of time, and then parent’s groups started getting irate. If you watch the Powdered Toast Man episode, you’ll notice a scene where the constitution and the bill of rights are tossed into a fireplace, after Toast Man becomes president. THAT did not go over well, I can tell you. Then the creator was fired from his own show for being too difficult and subversive. Later he tried a late night version, called “Adult Party” or something like that, and it was so disgusting that it marked the end of Ren and Stimpy. Powdered Toast Man rocks, though.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. It’s not weird, it’s just pure psychedelia! I watched the episode about the president’s zipper and the one about the constitution. And then Stimpy and Ren tacking a bath in a lake. So now I totally believe that parents got angry 😁😁

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I’m happy to have introduced you to something interesting!

        Keep watching, especially the episodes before the great John K got kicked off. I guarantee that the History Erase Button will freak you out.

        Liked by 1 person

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