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Too Many Superheroes? (1 Viewer)

Johnny Angell

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Am I the only one thinking there are too many superhero tv shows (and movies, but I had to post this somewhere)? I have to admit I have never been a rabid fan. I've never called myself a Trekkie, though I love most of ST. I stopped reading comic books in my teens and never got back into it.

Anyone else think they're overdoing it?
 

Josh Steinberg

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Yes and no.

I said this on another thread where this came up in regards to movies.

When Marvel's The Avengers opened huge in 2012, everyone suddenly wanted a piece of the pie, and I think there was a mistake among some studios about what was happening and why. People didn't flock to The Avengers merely because it was a comic book film, or simply because it had an interconnected "universe" with characters from different films. They flocked to it because it was quality.

In the aftermath of that (or really, since Iron Man and The Dark Knight were huge hits in 2008), we've gotten plenty of films that don't really have any reason to exist, and the audience can tell.

So, I don't think Marvel Studios is overdoing it. Their 2-3 films per year that all connect, along with their handful of broadcast and Netflix shows (which generally connect with each other but can stand alone), are quality productions made by a studio that knows what its audience wants and is able to consistently deliver that. I don't think that Marvel Studios will lose that audience anytime soon, or that they're doing too much.

But I think the general audience has less patience for films which are obviously cash grabs, that are motivated by studios looking to cash in on something rather than looking to create an a product with artistic integrity. Those are your "Fantastic Four" reboots, your "Amazing Spider-Man" reboots, your "I Frankenstein" attempts at a franchise based on obscure and not particularly good comic sources. Even the recent DC films, outside of Wonder Woman, have underperformed compared to their expectations. A movie with Batman and Superman together (and we got two, Batman V Superman, and then Justice League) should have instantly had the biggest box office openings of all time and should have shot to the top of the all time lists, and they didn't come anywhere close, because the studio was so concerned with making a team up happen that they forgot to actually justify it in the story. All of those were sloppily put together, lacked inspiration and frankly a reason for existing, and made no compelling argument to the audience for why they should care. There's not much room for stuff like that, and the box office numbers generally reflect that.

I think there will always be room for quality films like Marvel's The Avengers, or X-Men: Days Of Future Past, or Logan. But I think there's limited room for stuff that is cynically ordered up by bean counters with more emphasis on release dates and opening weekend grosses than quality and audience interest.
 
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Adam Lenhardt

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I think we've reached the level of saturation where it's not enough "just" to be a superhero show/movie. You need something else to stand out. "Black Lightning" on The CW is a family drama first, an urban drama second, and a superhero drama third, for instance.
 

Josh Steinberg

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I agree.

In the end, to me at least, the least interesting thing about superheroes are their special abilities or powers. It's the context that's caused them to be that way, and in what they choose to do with it, that makes it interesting to me.

To follow that example, that's why Batman will probably always be my favorite super hero, especially the type of grounded, realistic portrayal that Christopher Nolan was going for in his films, where he sought to portray what it would look like in the real world. That Batman has a lot of money and gadgets, in and of itself, isn't that interesting. What is interesting is that you've got a guy who has everything that modern society says we should want and aspire to, unlimited wealth, power, influence, pretty girlfriends, etc., but that none of that is of any comfort or use to him. He's a guy in a tremendous amount of pain, trying to work through it in a Sisyphean effort to rid the world of the situations and people who caused his pain in the first place - so that no one else will suffer as he has. But, the consequence of his trying to fight evil is that evil grows stronger in trying to fight him, so in a way, he ends up escalating the thing he's trying to eradicate. That's interesting to me.

But, if you take all of that away, and make it the story of a bland rich guy who has lots of money and wants to beat up criminals just for fun, and it's no longer very interesting in my book. And that's why the new take on Superman has the potential to be less interesting, to me, because they've kinda killed the Clark Kent part of the character. Superman in and of himself isn't that interesting - he's a boy scout who always, always, always does the right thing. The interesting thing is the idea that Superman is a mask that Clark Kent wears, and that while Superman himself is invincible, Clark Kent's hopes and dreams aren't. There's a tremendous personal cost to Clark for being Superman - he can never be free to be himself. The world's salvation comes at the expense of his being able to have a life and personal identity that's wholly his own.

I think stories about superheroes that develop their characters, the way Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent have been developed in previous iterations, will always strike a chord with the audience because they're telling a larger story about what it means to be alive, what it means to be human. But any film or TV show that's primarily about "look at this special effect we can do! Look how realistic the costume is!" will eventually disappoint and lose its audience.
 

John Dirk

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I agree.



I think stories about superheroes that develop their characters, the way Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent have been developed in previous iterations, will always strike a chord with the audience because they're telling a larger story about what it means to be alive, what it means to be human. But any film or TV show that's primarily about "look at this special effect we can do! Look how realistic the costume is!" will eventually disappoint and lose its audience.

Couldn't agree more. Superman has always been my favorite Super Hero for the same reason Batman has been yours. It's just sad these characters haven't been more thoughtfully and intelligently reprised in recent projects. Contemporary Superman films have been particularly disappointing to me. I'm all but sure both George Reeves and Christopher Reeve would be disappointed with the evolution of this character. Hopefully, Wonder Woman will signal a new era for DC Comics and we'll start seeing more depth and realism in their stories.
 

John Dirk

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Am I the only one thinking there are too many superhero tv shows (and movies, but I had to post this somewhere)? I have to admit I have never been a rabid fan. I've never called myself a Trekkie, though I love most of ST. I stopped reading comic books in my teens and never got back into it.

Anyone else think they're overdoing it?

It's more than I can personally consume but I wouldn't want Marvel to stop as I consider their films excellent for the most part although I don't bother with the TV shows. I haven't been crazy about recent DC films but Wonder Woman was a refreshing exception. DC's content these days seems poorly conceived and executed compared to what they have released previously. The original batch of Batman and Superman films are classics today. I do not expect the current crop to even approach this status.

On the other hand, as I often tell my wife, "there is probably something to like in any modern film." The idea that I can spend 20 - 40 dollars and own a production that cost may millions to make just does something for me. What can I say? I love movies. I've watched terrible films and found myself appreciating the performance of a particular character or in other cases the sound or cinematography, etc. I guess for me, just about any film with excellent production value is worth a watch at some point, [especially since they can eventually be rented or streamed] even though in many cases the stories are seriously lacking.
 

Blimpoy06

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Twenty years ago these shows would have been in syndication. They would have little expected of them and the ratio of good vs. bad would be on the higher side. The budgets would be smaller, and so would the casts. Bloated character development is taking me out of these current shows. I posted in the Supergirl thread how little interest I had in continuing Crisis On Earth X based on that overlong and unnecessary prologue.
Most modern shows have too large a cast to service and it becomes a soap opera effect. We get character moments in drips and drabs over many episodes. Many beats are repeated and it's hard for me to care for them after a time. I know Josh Steinberg is a big fan of long seasons. I think shorter would help me. I liked when Agents of Shield alternated with Agent Carter. But when shows take a long break in the middle of their story arcs I loose interest and usually don't come back. I'm only current on one show that airs, Supergirl. The rest I am three to four years behind on.

I still consider Xena the best superhero series ever made. And calling that a superhero show is broad, but I couldn't enjoy the Wonder Woman movie as much as others because of the similarities in story and themes that were explored in Xena over the course of that show. I feel Lucy Lawless portrayed a tortured warrior spirit better than any I have seen.
 

Josh Steinberg

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I know Josh Steinberg is a big fan of long seasons. I think shorter would help me. I liked when Agents of Shield alternated with Agent Carter.

Hi! :D

For what it's worth, when Agent Carter was on, SHIELD still ran a full 22-episode season, just with a break. I loved Agent Carter (my favorite of all the Marvel Studios TV shows) so that interruption didn't bother me in the least.

I like longer shows, but I'm not necessarily completely against shorter shows. But I also don't think it's fair that in terms of awards and critical recognition that they're judged the same way. I don't think it's fair that Agents Of Shield, which does 22 episodes that have to air pretty much every week, has to compete in the same category as Game Of Thrones which is gonna be six episodes and where HBO allows them two or three years to make it without any deadlines or budget restrictions. I'm much more impressed with Agents Of Shield making 22 episodes under those conditions than Game Of Thrones making their 6 with an unlimited budget, unlimited freedom and no deadlines or requirement to be on air by a certain time. (And certainly, as a person who likes routine, I'm not a fan of watching a show on HBO and then having no idea how long it will be until it comes back.)
 

Vic Pardo

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My problem with all the superhero movies is that they all look and sound too much alike, with an overabundance of the same kind of CGI and constant battling and explosions and superheroes, villains and monsters moving like computer creations and not like living beings. There doesn’t seem to be any creative variation from one movie to the next. And they’re all so damned long! I would have loved to have movies similar to this 40-odd years ago, when I was still a reader of the comics. Back then, of course, we got those low-budget Marvel TV shows (Spiderman, The Hulk, an occasional TV movie with Dr. Strange or Captain America) that just didn’t live up to the potential of their subject matter. But as a middle-aged adult, I’m just not interested anymore.

Instead, I’ve found what I’m looking for in Japanese superhero movies and shows, both live-action and anime. They’re full of imagination, action, special effects and, occasionally, some interesting character relationships. I appreciate the much smaller scale, too. The recent ones don’t go overboard on CGI and still have giant monsters stomping on cities played by actors in suits and opposed by costumed heroes fighting in giant-sized combat mecha, also played by actors in suits. There are more than enough of these shows to keep track of and I can get my fix in half-hour doses, with the occasional spin-off feature film 90 minutes or under. When I was in Japan two years ago I got to see the new Kamen Rider movie on the big screen and they got the original Kamen Rider from 45 years earlier to reprise his role (see pic below). What a thrill! One franchise, Super Sentai, is adapted every year for the American Power Rangers franchise, which I follow closely as well and generally quite enjoy.

26776733913_1e332380b5_n.jpg


One of the things I love about the Japanese shows is the frequent shooting on Tokyo locations. When I went to Tokyo two years ago, I visited some of these sites. It would be as if the New York-filmed Marvel superhero shows staged superhero/monster battles in Lincoln Center’s sprawling plaza or Battery Park. I’d watch those shows if they did that. Instead, all I could find was one scene (I forget which show) which had an ordinary hand-to-hand fight scene in Bethesda Terrace in Central Park—but it was at night in the rain! I want these scenes in bright daylight, dammit!

Check out these shots from Japanese superhero shows to show you what I mean:

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And a Zord battle:
33554457476_12b942edc1_n.jpg
 

Blimpoy06

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For what it's worth, when Agent Carter was on, SHIELD still ran a full 22-episode season, just with a break.
I'm aware of that. I would like to see networks do shorter runs with thematicly similar shows in the same time spot. It looks like the CW has started doing that with Supergirl/Legends.
 

Noel Aguirre

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Not at all- Black Panther is going to be a smash. This genre is here for another 5 years at least. This is the golden age of superheroes just as the 50’s had musicals and the 40’s had film noir. Enjoy!
 

ponset

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Are there too many Superhero show/movies?
Thats like asking if there were too many WESTERNS in the 50's.
For me the answer is "NO!".
I am a huge DC/BATMAN fanboy. Hope they can get their movies on track. Only WONDER WOMAN was worth watching since the DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY ended.
Also check out the recently released Scooby-Doo/Batman: The Brave and The Bold crossover movie. FUN!

Everything goes in cycles. Superheroes time will come to end just like the western and musicals.
 

Vic Pardo

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Are there too many Superhero show/movies?
Thats like asking if there were too many WESTERNS in the 50's.
For me the answer is "NO!".
I am a huge DC/BATMAN fanboy. Hope they can get their movies on track. Only WONDER WOMAN was worth watching since the DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY ended.
Also check out the recently released Scooby-Doo/Batman: The Brave and The Bold crossover movie. FUN!

Everything goes in cycles. Superheroes time will come to end just like the western and musicals.

I watched lots of TV westerns as a child in the 1950s but didn't get to watch many movie westerns from that era till I got my own TV set in college in 1971 and began catching up. When the Encore Western Channel came to cable this century, I made a point of watching as many previously unseen westerns from the 1950s as I could and it's now my favorite decade for westerns (and that includes TV shows as well).

So who knows? Some college professor or film programmer 20-30 years from now will start going back to the superhero movies of the 2000s or 2010s and rediscover them and make a case for this period as the golden age of superhero movies.
 

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