Spider-Man to Wonder Woman: Exploring the influx of superhero films

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Entertainment is a medium that human beings have been utilizing for decades to escape modern-day life. Film is one of these forms of entertainment, and superhero movies seem to be the current genre of choice.

Spider-Man was one of the earliest films Marvel produced that truly cemented a place for superhero films within Hollywood. It was the first to achieve success at this staggering level.

After this film, the film industry began to produce a multitude of superhero movies, many tied to different specific characters within the Marvel universe. These included Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and many more. These movies almost all have one or more sequels that are still being released today.

Since 2008, when the first Iron Man was released, there have been over 17 movies made by Marvel. This number only pertains to The Avengers series, it does not include any of the X-Men, Guardians of the Galaxy, Deadpool or other Marvel films made.

In under 10 years, almost 20 superhero films have been created. This number only shows a small percentage of the movies that fall under this genre. Marvel in no way, shape, or form, is the only production company that is dishing out these films to the masses.

DC Comics has also made its mark on the genre, but it is not quite at the same pace as Marvel. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Aquaman are some of the heroes a part of the DC universe.

Recently, these specific superheroes have been seen in a huge number of films, with the two most popular being Wonder Woman and Justice League. Unlike Marvel, certain DC characters have actually been adapted into films that have no relation to the DC label.

Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight saga is an example of these films that are not related to the main production label. According to Forbes, the Dark Knight saga is, “Sitting at more than $1,011,011,000 global box office returns.” It is no surprise that people have started to wonder why there are so many of these superheroes films in theaters today.

“An easy answer is money, but I think we live in a dark time so people need a hero, which is why I think there are so many of these films,” said Rulon Wood, Boise State media instructor.

With the money the genre is making, Wood might just be right. Stated on Boxofficemojo.com, the superhero genre has grossed over $16 billion worldwide with estimates of continual growth.

Without a doubt, it’s clear that these movies bring in a hefty amount of money. However, that doesn’t mean they are always considered good films.

Recently, these movies have started to receive negative feedback from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, Wonder Woman received a critic rating of 92 percent while Justice League only obtained 41 percent.  A reason for this type of rating may be the lack of change in the movies and genre as a whole.

“I’m personally a huge comic book fan, so I really enjoy these films. However, if they do not continue with the changing of the times, these kinds of films will decline and may begin to become overused,” said senior Michael Porter.

Certain movies have begun to change and contort the filmmaking norms of the superhero genre. They do this through adding a retro aesthetic to the film, like in the Guardians of the Galaxy series, or making movies wildly gory with an MPAA rating of “R”, with films such as Logan and Deadpool.

On movie discussion forums such as IGN, it seems that any and all changes made within this genre have been positively accepted by critics with some instances of massive cult followings from audiences. It is unclear whether or not the genre will continue to try new things or stick with the norm. Either way, genre fatigue can still become a problem within this genre and may potentially lead to its downfall.

“I’ve been a comic book fan since before I could walk, but I can see where critics can begin to get genre fatigue, but not for the consumers, if the stories continue to be good and entertaining, then these films will be around for awhile,” professor Dane Johns.

Audience members will just have to wait and see where the genre goes and what movies are produced over the next few years.


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