Marvel Studios created a cinematic universe staring with Iron Man in 2008, and it has become immensely popular. The expansion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to create new fans, as well as generate a whole lot of money for the studio. Obviously, Marvel's success has been noticed by other studios, and they too are working to build universes that can provide years of spinoffs and - if all goes well - impressive box office numbers. To no one's surprise, Warner Bros. and DC have also entered the comic book movie arena, and they've announced a variety of superhero movies planned through 2020.
With so many comic book movies being released every year, some people wonder how long moviegoers will feel excited to see the next film in the genre. While it's true superhero movies can bridge a wide variety of genres - everything from western to sci-fi - some are still wondering if fatigue will begin to set in. After all, Fantastic Four had a terrible opening weekend (though some will argue that generic marketing of yet another reboot didn't help), and while Ant-Man definitely wasn't a failure, it didn't perform as well as several other Marvel projects - and some believe that's due to origin stories beginning to feel too familiar to many moviegoers.
So, does the popularity of superhero movies have an expiration date? Steven Spielberg thinks superhero movies will eventually step out of the spotlight, just like westerns did. But what does Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice director Zack Snyder think about superhero fatigue?
During an interview with Yahoo! Movies, Snyder said he doesn't exactly disagree with Spielberg's opinion, but the noticeable concern about superhero movie fatigue further motivates him to work on a movie because he believes it's a story that is worth telling - and not just because big name heroes are involved. Snyder explained that, to him, it's not about creating a superhero film, but it's instead about creating a whole new cinematic mythos for fans to enjoy, regardless of when they watch it:
"He [Steven Spielberg] might not be wrong. I think it puts more pressure on us, the filmmakers, to not just crank out superhero movies for the sake of it. To me, the one thing I love working in the DC universe is that Superman and Batman and Wonder Woman are American mythology. It’s not about making a superhero, it’s a mythological universe that we live in. That I hope stands the test of time. They stood the test of time. That’s hopefully the sort of magic bullet. But who knows what audiences will want in the future."
Whether it's another formulaic origin story or the reboot of an already well-known property, some comic book movies come off feeling relatively standard; they can often be fun, yet very familiar. For Snyder, it's important that his superhero movies focus on selling drama and "the humanity of it." He stated Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) and Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) are "like Shakespearean characters" and "they have inherent drama built into their makeup."
Batman V Superman will incorporate Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), and possibly even feature cameos from other future members of the Justice League. Then there's also Lex Luthor (Jessie Eisenberg), a still unconfirmed secondary villain, and several other supporting characters. Because of the big cast, some fans are concerned the movie won't focus enough on the two leads, or possibly even rush towards expanding its own universe.
When asked about how he can juggle so many individuals, Snyder expressed he's trying to "stay central." The director added:
"There’s something really fun about bringing the other characters in, but it’s really about staying central to the real core mythology is what I think the audience enjoys most."
With superhero movies attracting more and more attention, many fans - and journalists - are trying to figure out what'll happen in the next noteworthy comic book project. Snyder told Yahoo! that there have been times when the speculation and rumors are on point, but then they tend to go in a completely inaccurate direction. He even shot down one relatively recent rumor - one which claims his son was cast as Robin:
"There are so many, it’s insanity. It’s funny because every now and then someone will touch on something that’s kind of true, but the next thing they say makes me realize that they took a wild guess. They’ll say something and I’ll say 'Oh snap, they must have seen the script.' And then they’ll say, 'And this happens!' And then I’ll go, They have no idea what they’re talking about. It’s fun for everyone to speculate and take shots and think of things and try to sell it. There’s an industry in selling your guess. [People think], 'I’m going to make a fake script and look like I read the real one.' What length are you willing to go?"
There’s a rumor that my son is [playing] Robin. It’s not true. Now there are all these images of him that people have made where he’s dressed like Robin. It’s fun to hear and see them."
As for Snyder's future with the DC Extended Universe (as he's called it), he elaborated that while he is directing the two Justice League movies and producing other DC projects, the expansion (or should we say extension?) of this cinematic universe opens doors to all-new opportunities - opportunities which could benefit new directors:
"I’m staying with Batman V Superman and Justice League and Justice League 2 — those are my main responsibilities, as well as producing the other movies. That’s the main line. Once you get Justice League, you’re pretty deep in it. But like I was saying, not to be a selfless promoter of our program, what it shows is that we have this giant berth of opportunity with the DC movies now to I think find the opportunities for even young filmmakers to even get involved because there are so many projects."
While the synopsis for Snyder's BvS does mention an all-too-common storyline in comic book movies (humanity is at risk yet again), as of right now, it does seem like a noticeable amount of the movie's narrative will be character-driven, and that's certainly a promising direction. Currently, it looks like Batman and Superman aren't just fighting over a simple disagreement - there's a clash of ideologies and several themes at play. Giving extra insight into the psyche of the two biggest DC heroes is an approach that many fans would more than likely appreciate - assuming it's handled well, of course. This not only has the chance to make the story more compelling, but it also has the chance to produce some legitimately thought-provoking drama.
Now, of course, only time will tell whether or not BvS lives up to its potential...
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice opens on March 25th, 2016; Suicide Squad on August 5th, 2016; Wonder Woman on June 23rd, 2017; Justice League on November 17th, 2017; The Flash on March 23rd, 2018; Aquaman on July 27th, 2018; Shazam on April 5th, 2019; Justice League 2 on June 14th, 2019; Cyborg on April 3rd, 2020; Green Lantern Corps on June 19th, 2020. Untitled Batman and Superman solo films will be coming at dates TBD.
Source: Yahoo! Movies