Have we reached maximum saturation for superhero films? I keep hearing many people complain about the amount of those films coming out. Or how they are just plain sick of all things Marvel. Yet superhero films are still big box office business. Until that changes and the theater returns start dwindling, superhero flicks aren’t going anywhere, folks. Sorry not sorry! Here’s what has come so far and what else is coming in 2016!
2016’s slate of superhero flicks officially licked off with Deadpool, which ended up becoming a monster hit thanks to some clever marketing and the hard work star Ryan Reynolds put in. No one saw this coming, especially now that Deadpool grossed way more money than any of the core X-Men films. three years ago, any chance of a Deadpool film looked laughable at best. Now everyone wants more Deadpool zaniness!
What made Deadpool work was it essentially taking many typical superhero clichés and lambasting them. It was self aware in ways that few films like Kick-Ass ever dabbled in but never dived into. Deadpool took the complete plunge, especially with its R-rating. That in itself was rare as most hero films stay within the safe confines of PG-13 so they don’t scare away the kiddies. Deadpool gave no fucks and just went balls out, which paid off in major ways. I’ve only seen the film once, but I loved every crazy, gory, profanity-laced minute.
As of right now, Deadpool has made $361 million in the US, $760 million worldwide. So a sequel is a given.
BATMAN vs SUPERMAN
After Man of Steel failed to set the box office on fire in 2013, DC panicked and threw Batman in what was supposed to be a Man of Steel sequel. After all the hype, all the trailers and all the fanboys wondering, Batman vs Superman (I refuse to remove the ‘s’ from ‘vs’) landed in theaters on March 25th to kick off the DC Cinematic Universe. Despite getting MAULED by critics, the film did great business its first weekend. However, BvS suffered the same fate as Man of Steel in its second weekend. People saw the film and the word of mouth was less than flattering. No need to bore you with the details but let’s just say while BvS is doing better than Man of Steel (almost $200 million more), it still won’t hit that 1 billion dollar sweet spot Warner Bros was hoping.
On one hand, I understand why. The film is relentlessly grim-dark, dour, self-important and joyless. And when I mean joyless, I mean that a superhero film doesn’t have to be an action-packed comedy routine in order to be fun. Case in point, The Dark Knight. It also did no favors to Superman as a beacon of hope and turned Batman into a murdering psychopath. One of the film’s larger issues is that we have no real attachment to these characters as we’ve only been with them for 2 films. Marvel’s been doing this for 8 years with over 12 films under their belt for us to really be invested in their heroes.
On the other hand, Marvel’s films really did not start raking in the big cash until AFTER the first Avengers film. Before that, the first Ironman film made just under $600 million worldwide. Both the first Thor and Captain America films didn’t even break $500 million. In short, thinks will probably change for the DC films after two things.
1.) Justice League. If this film is good, and the DCCU really fixes the kinks in their film formula, then the sky’s the limit for how well these DC films can do. But that might never happen because of the second issue.
2.) Zack Snyder. He is apparently the ‘Kevin Feige’ steering the DCCU forward. HUGE mistake. Yes, Snyder directs gorgeous films, but he is lacking in several key areas as a director. In short, he is not the man to be directing let alone leading any aspect of the DCCU if they want it to truly succeed.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR – MAY 6, 2016
The third Captain America film comes out next weekend. This film is directed by the Russo brothers, who really made a name for themselves after their stellar work on Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, which means the film will make metric shit-tons of cash for the next few weekends.
Essentially the Avengers are fighting each other over some silly superhero registration act. Ironman leads the pro side and Captain America leading the anti side. Neither group is entirely wrong or right, plus you are invested in each side since we’ve been with them for about 8 years now. A couple new characters will be introduced, like Black Panther (can’t wait!) and Spiderman 3.0. Interestingly enough, Batman vs Superman inspired the Russos to do Civil War. That goes to show how much we need DCCU to be a successful franchise. The two juggernauts will push each other to new and innovative heights. Without competition, Marvel will stick to the same stale yet successful formula.
X-MEN: APOCALYPSE – MAY 27, 2016
Remember this film? Not sure many others do. The third film in the X-Men prequel/reboot trilogy features Apocalypse as its main baddie. Now I like most was not very enthused by the first look at Apocalypse. I think that killed a lot of potential interest in this film right out of the gate, despite the spot-on casting/costumes of Psylocke (Olivia Munn) and Storm (Alexandra Shipp).
Doesn’t help that most of the cast looked bored out of their skulls in the trailers. Hopefully that isn’t the case in this film.
The biggest issue that has plagued the X-Films since the first in 2000 is how the team aspect of X-Men has not been emphasized enough. The main focus has been on Wolverine, Magneto and Professor X. All three are complex and have so much back story, but you can say the same about a hundred other mutants in the X-Universe. Let’s shed some proper spotlight on them. Time will tell how X-Men: Apocalypse does after its initial Memorial Day weekend release.
SUICIDE SQUAD – AUGUST 5, 2016
Coming out in late summer, this is the DC film that most fans are looking forward to. Based on the trailers alone, the tone is still dark but much more fun than Batman vs Superman. Super villains forcibly conscripted by the US government on impossible missions by Amanda Waller (played by Viola Davis). Not as sold on any of the characters except Margo Robbie as Harley Quinn and possibly Jared Leto as The Joker. Leto has the unenviable job of following up Heath Ledger’s tour-de-force in The Dark Knight. Somehow eventually had to do it, and Leto appears like he’ll be fine. I’m so in. Let’s hope this film does what Batman vs Superman couldn’t and take the audience on a balls out fun ride.
DOCTOR STRANGE – NOVEMBER 4, 2016
I almost forgot this was coming out in 2016. Many are excited by the arrival of magic in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Mre are by the spot-on casting of Benedict Cumberbatch as Strange, though its jarring to hear Cumberbatch do an American accent. There was minor controversy over the casting of popular Strange character The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton who is clearly not a wizened Tibetan man), but the interest is still strong. Even funnier, some of Marvel’s posters don’t even have a title. There’s a shadowy image of Strange, the Marvel logo and a date. At this point, Marvel’s brand is so strong that’s all they need to sell folks on a film.