Have Superhero Movies Oversaturated the Box Office?


Photo courtesy of Piqsels

Ethan Wang, Online Staff Writer

In recent years, there have been countless superhero movies made. For example, there are 27 movies made within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and countless more when considering Disney Plus and DC productions. Superhero movies have always stood out and grabbed the public’s attention, but the genre has changed over time– and perhaps not for the better. The first movies made from the 1970s to the 2000s were defined by their creativity and uniqueness: they were new experiences that placed a modern spin on their  comic book counterparts.. Over the years, many more movies have been created in the genre. Often, having a lot of content can be beneficial, but, in this case, both devoted fans and casual audiences have become fatigued by the oversaturation of movies.

There have been at least two or three Marvel movies released in theaters every year since 2008, leaving very little room for audiences to breathe between films. Having more content is great in many of ways: fans can see their favorite heroes in action on a regular basis, and there are more options for casual audiences to have a fun viewing experience. Of course, it is also incredibly beneficial for Marvel Studios, as they can use the series to consistently make more profit. However, there are also many drawbacks to having an overload of superhero movies flooding theaters and audiences  multiple times a year. 

The biggest drawback is creativity– or lack thereof. Fans are beginning to feel underwhelmed by the uniformity of each film.. Of course these movies each have some unique story element or plot that distinguishes them from other installments, but viewers are starting to become desensitized to the CGI action sequences and repeated tropes. The lack of originality is mostly due to the fact that the release schedule for these films is so unforgiving, and, inevitably, after 20 movies, writers struggle to brainstorm new and exciting ideas.

To demonstrate this, two people (they have requested to remain anonymous) agreed to discuss their thoughts on the series; one of them is a Marvel fan who is familiar with the characters and the lore, and the other is a more casual fan who watches the movies every once in a while. When they were asked if any of the Marvel movies they watched were more memorable than the others, and if they thought they needed to watch all of them, the fan responded by saying that most of them were fairly similar, and elaborated using this example: “If you’ve seen one Spider-Man movie, you’ve basically seen them all when it comes to Spider-Man movies. It’s like buying two brands of soap; yeah, they’ll smell and look different, but you’re still getting the same thing.” The casual viewer also responded by saying that none of the movies were incredibly memorable: “I think the problem is that many of them don’t do anything new. I only vividly remember one movie by this point (Guardians of the Galaxy) because it was so different from the others I watched. Everything else just felt the same.”

Many fear that if all of these movies can’t distinguish themselves from each other, people will eventually stop wasting effort and money to see a mediocre and indistinguishable film.  Producing multiple superhero movies every year negatively impacts the studio’s and filmmakers’ creativity. So, perhaps it’s time for a break. Maybe it’s time to reconsider the direction of this beloved franchise, and focus on why it was great in the first place: the creative adaptations of fan favorite comic book characters that couldn’t be found anywhere else.