Superhero films in flux as stories change, characters evolve

Movies prove change is good

By Cazzy Lewchuk, Staff Writer

The first trailer for the latest Marvel movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, was recently released and, like many of the latest blockbuster superhero movies, it showed a different side to the superhero story. This time the film takes place entirely in space, the superheroes are a ragtag team of outlaws, and the tone is much more humorous than previous Marvel movies. Despite the deviations superhero films are now taking from the standard formula plot, they’ve never been more popular.

Innovative superhero changes have been creeping in for the last 10 years, setting a new standard and opening up the genre in many different ways. What was previously a comic book-based genre with hints of science fiction has expanded to include drama, comedy, detective, and even fantasy-based approaches. Films have become much darker than before (The Dark Knight trilogy, Man of Steel), been set in various time periods (Captain America: The First Avenger, X-Men: First Class) and explored new worlds (The Green Lantern, Thor). This approach brings a new originality to the superhero genre, and allows for new opportunities and elements within the picture. Allowing these changes has proven popular with audiences, which is why these critically acclaimed movies continue to rake in hundreds of millions of dollars in profit, and garner sequels. Most superhero films have developed into franchises, with reboots, sequels, and spin-offs aplenty. The best example would be The Avengers, a sequel to several Marvel films, which is currently the third-highest grossing film of all time.

Perhaps changing genres has allowed a new group of audiences to start enjoying the movies, instead of just comic book fans. Or maybe audiences want more originality and new approaches to the basic plot of an origin story with one standard hero and one evil villain and the battles between the two. How superhero movies will continue to evolve and entertain audiences will be exciting to see. As more spin-offs and obscure superheroes become adapted for the big screen, it’s possible the superhero movie may dominate the 2010s as the most popular film genre. Perhaps the ultimate reason these films prove so popular comes down to the fact that we all sometimes wish we could be superheroes.