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The Oversimplifications of the Superhero Movie Genre

When it comes to the film industry, it would be foolish to deny the proliferation and success of comic book-based properties. It’s not necessarily surprising that iconic characters like Superman, Batman and Spider-Man burst onto the scene so dramatically, but few would have predicted the rapid rise to power that hit Iron Man or the Guardians of the Galaxy. .

Imagine if 10 years ago someone told you that director Zack Snyder’s “Justice League” would make less money at the box office than “Guardians of the Galaxy” by unknown filmmaker and director James Gunn. You probably would have insisted that the person was sedated.

But with this explosion of popularity in comic book adaptations, some have proclaimed that this trend has oversaturated the industry with completely identical, unimaginative movies. The superhero film genre has become a prime target for snobbish writers and cinephiles to pontificate and, as a result, has yielded one of the greatest oversimplifications in entertainment analysis that exists today.

In 2015, Steven Spielberg – arguably the greatest filmmaker of all time – predicted that “there will be a time when the superhero movie will go the way of the western”. Spielberg’s remark provides perhaps the best summary of the problem at hand; he suggests that every superhero movie has the same themes or even just shares the same visual aesthetic.

Of course, on the surface, there are obvious facts that these characters have unusual or superhuman abilities that provide an innate similarity, but that’s the case with all movies,

Should we group “John Wick”, which follows a character capable of killing literally hundreds of people without taking a single fatal blow, in the genre as well? Or is it because they are based on comics? In that case, why not just place the “Harry Potter” movies in a movie-book genre.

If you were to walk out of seeing, say, “Spider-Man: Homecoming” followed by a viewing of “Logan,” would you really want to start your review by tying them to the superhero movie genre? The former tells the story, essentially, of a teenager trying to prove himself and impress the pretty girl he loves, while the latter is a poignant commentary on growing old, believing in the potential of next generation, and even a touch of immigration.

These don’t feel like movies worth comparing on the same level or category simply because they feature characters with extraordinary abilities. This is absurd and completely counterproductive. That would be like categorizing “Back to the Future” and “Edge of Tomorrow” as simply time travel movies.

There are too many diverse stories and characters from the comic book sphere. Just because they lend themselves to being blockbusters doesn’t mean they’re any less viable as artistic products.

The X-Men serve as an allegory for discrimination and fear of what we don’t understand, while Doctor Strange highlights how little we truly understand about the universe and the bonds we all share. “Thor: Ragnarok” has an ominous expositional underbelly hidden by its comedic approach and resplendent visuals, while “Black Panther” is a character-driven, dramatic story with highly political points of reverse colonialism and isolationism.

The superhero movie label sounds like something designed to stand up to anything based on comic book characters and has in fact become an almost pejorative term that insists moviegoers shouldn’t take them at face value. serious. Those people are wrong, and instead we should celebrate that just because something has fantastical elements doesn’t mean it’s incapable of delivering the beautiful, intricate messages that some award-winning classic films have been praised for.


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