After the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, fans were split on how they felt about Disney acquiring Lucasfilm. It was a box office success but left some fans disappointed and worried with the future of Star Wars. Though skeptical, fans appreciated the movie for what it was and appreciated the fact that Star Wars has finally returned after the disappointing prequel trilogy. 2016 saw the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and was praised even more than The Force Awakens for its fresh take on the space opera with brand new characters and planets while tying up loose ends from previous films in the franchise. 2017’s The Last Jedi disappointed fans and has caused us to wonder if it was a good idea for Mickey Mouse to take over the Star Wars franchise and brand. It left fans even more divided than before with some people praising its story and visuals while others didn’t appreciate the new tone and decisions some of the characters took. I, personally, am in the disappointed side when it comes to The Last Jedi because of its lazy story telling and aggravating characters that ruined the movie for me. There are fans who were so enraged with how the movie turned out, that they have decided to boycott any future installments until Kathleen Kennedy (the current president of Lucasfilm) is out of the company. Fans accuse her for being the reason as to why Star Wars is heading to the gutter. 2018 saw the release saw the release of Solo: A Star Wars Story, also known as the first Star Wars movie to fail at the box office. This was the first film to be released during the boycott and the box office numbers shows the damage that fans have done. There was also a slew of different problems such as its release date and how close it was to other huge movies like Infinity War and Deadpool 2, the firing of directors in the middle of production, and having to hire an acting coach for the main actor that lead to its demise. It made $392.9 million worldwide, which might seem pretty impressive for most movies. But for Star Wars standard, its a complete box office flop. Which is a shame, because it was a pretty awesome movie. It was a huge improvement from The Last Jedi in my opinion and it left me wanting more of Hans’ adventures with Chewbacca before he met Luke and Leia. As mentioned before, it was overshadowed by the massively successful Avengers Infinity War which left the whole world broken and has us still wondering what happened to our favorite heroes. Solo: A Star Wars Story was the movie we needed after the emotional and heartbreaking ride that was Infinity War. Disney took this as a wake up call, and is reevaluating the entire future of Star Wars by cancelling every spin-off movie in development to solely focus on making Episode IX the best film they can make.
Why are the DC Extended Universe movies considered bad or failures when compared to their competition over at Marvel? Some might say it is due to weak storytelling, weak CGI (computer-generated imagery) , lazy dialogue, or a combination of several different issues. A great deal of fans point the blame at Zack Snyder for not trying hard enough. But for the most part, there are countless problems both in front and behind the camera that are hurting these films. Suicide Squad and Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, where both panned by critics and fans alike criticizing its plot and rush in production to compete with Marvel. I personally enjoyed both movies. I thought they were entertaining but not as fun and exciting as a Marvel movie. I personally feel like Warner Brothers are trying so hard for their DC movies to perform just as good as Marvel movies at the box office and are attempting to push out a connected universe to bring in more fans. It isn’t difficult to produce a good DC movie, it has been done before with the Dark Knight trilogy from Christopher Nolan and last years Wonder Woman. So it’s not that they can’t do it, it’s that they’re doing it for the wrong reasons in my opinion.
After the release of Wonder Woman, DC announced that they are not going to do the whole connected universe plot that transcends over several films like Marvel and will focus on solo character driven stories with a few Easter eggs and cameos to please the fans. This is the best thing they can do right now as they fix the whole universe.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe works because each new installment in the franchise is different from the last in tone and genre. Captain America: The Winter Solider is considered to be a spy/thriller film, while Thor Ragnarok and Ant-Man are considered comedies. They take place in the same universe, but are both different in tone and genre This is where Marvel exceeds DC because for the most part, every movie in the DCEU looks and feels the exact same. Dark and Depressing. All four movies have the same drab color pallet and depressing mood. To counter this, Warner Brothers attempted to break their mold, and hired a new director to finish Zack Snyders work on Justice League after he had to leave due to personal reasons.
This new director was Joss Whedon, director of Marvel’s The Avengers and its sequel Avengers: Age of Ultron.
WB thought that Whedon would bring a light hearted tone that was desperately needed in their franchise. Whedon made the movie more light hearted, but in doing so created an unbalanced tone throughout the whole movie. At one point it was dark and serious and it jumps to a colorful comedic scene with not buffer in between and it confused fans because it felt like a Zack Snyder movie, but felt like a Joss Whedon movie at the same time are caused a clash of tones that did not flow well. The final product left fans dissapointed and upset with where the franchise is headed.
Upcoming films like Shazam and Aquaman look promising and have high expectations from fans but only time will tell if the DC Extended Universe has changed for the better.
During the 80’s and 90’s, the only way to watch anything with superheroes would be through television. Shows such as X-Men The Animated Series and Batman were the most popular way to watch these characters. Nowadays, superheros are taking over every form of media especially the film industry. Movies such as Avengers:Infinity War and The Dark Knight are making billions of dollars and have taken the world by storm. Though there is an increase of fans when each movie releases, there is also an increase of naysayers. Some of these naysayers are important figures in the film industry like Steven Spielberg and James Cameron.
While promoting his film Bridge of Spies, Spielberg describes the superhero genre as “going the way of the Western”. Spielberg explains that he was around when the Western genre died and explained that “there will be a time when the superhero movie goes the way of the Western. It doesn’t mean there won’t be another occasion where the Western comes back and the superhero movie someday returns”. He explains that modern film studios are more worried about what will make the most money rather than what will make the best film.
Another influential director, James Cameron is tired of the superhero genre and explains that he “[hopes] we’ll start getting Avenger fatigue here pretty soon…Not that I don’t love the movies. It’s just, come on, guys, there are other stories to tell besides hyper-gonadal males without families doing death-defying things for two hours and wrecking cities in the process. It’s like, oy!”. Cameron recently came under fire for criticizing 2017’s Wonder Woman for taking a step back when it comes to female led films.
Even actors who have been in superhero films have bashed the genre publicly. Actors such as Cillian Murphy who played Scarecrow in The Dark Trilogy and Hugo Weaving who played Red Skull in Captain America:The First Avenger have expressed that they are both tired of the genre. Murphy explains that “It was a different time when we made Batman Begins”. A-list actor, Mel Gibson turned down the role of Odin in Thor and has explained that he is confused with why these movies are as popular as they are. “I look at them and scratch my head. I’m really baffled by it…” and “ If you’re spending outrageous amounts of money, $180 million or more, I don’t know how you make it back after the taxman gets you, and after you give half to the exhibitors… what did they spend on Batman V Superman that they’re admitting to? And it’s a piece of s**t”.
So are superhero movies the modern Western? It depends who you ask. Fans and studio executives will argue no. But Hollywood veterans will say otherwise. As of right now the superhero genre is safe and is here to stay for the next several years. Only time will tell if the superhero genre will fade away.
Here are the links to the individual interviews: