The Student News Site of Rockville High School


The Student News Site of Rockville High School


The Student News Site of Rockville High School


Are Audiences Tired of Superhero Media?

Nigel Armstrong

In recent decades, superhero movies have dominated cinema, giving audience’s interest and excitement for upcoming superhero movies, but recently, poor box office numbers and the lack of positive reviews may indicate a shift in the movie industry. With the lack of success from recent superhero movies, it begs the question, are audiences no longer interested in superhero movies?

Superhero movies provided the entertainment that people needed. Audiences appreciated the connected universes, the epic fights and the fantasy element it had to it. They witnessed the development of dynamic characters seeing them grow with each film. But most of all, they appreciated that these heroes are just like us. They’re human, overcoming the many obstacles that come their way. 

A prime example of the disinterest comes from, surprisingly, Marvel. Marvel used to be on top of all superhero projects, from releasing fantastic films like Avengers: Infinity War or Spider-Man: No Way Home, with box office hits like Avengers: Endgame or Black Panther. However recently, Marvel has been releasing hit-or-miss projects in its Multiverse Saga, losing the special spark it once had.

Films and shows such as Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and Secret Invasion are key examples of this. In Quantumania, the movie was supposed to set up Marvel’s next big bad, Kang. Kang is supposed to be this menacing, threatening, unstoppable villain, but was reduced to a joke in the film, being defeated by a bunch of ants in his first theatrical appearance. The performance was great, but it doesn’t carry the unfunny jokes and bad writing of the film.

In Secret Invasion, fans expected a spy-thriller, trust no one-type show, but with the show feeling rushed, poor writing that was only made for shock value, and it feeling like a regular MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) project, the lack of uniqueness left viewers disappointed.

There have been other recent Marvel projects that were just simply bad, like Madame Web which is a top contender for one of Marvel’s worst films in a while, but I’d rather not talk about that film.

“I think after Endgame, Marvel kind of fell off,” freshman Lillian Savings said. “I don’t really like any of the recent movies.”

Regarding Marvel’s next big bad, Jonathan Majors, the lead actor for Kang, was fired from Marvel Studios after being found guilty of harassment and misdemeanor assault, leaving Marvel’s future uncertain and fans with questions. Will the role of Kang be recast? Will they pivot to a new villain like Doctor Doom? What is this saga leading to? Obviously, the firing of Majors was for the best, but with the amount of uncertainty, it leaves people uninterested in Marvel’s future.

When looking at phases 1-3 in the Infinity saga, there were only 23 projects across all phases, releasing around 2 films a year. However, this saga will consist of 40+ films and shows, with 5 different projects having been released a year, which could’ve caused fans to feel overwhelmed. Marvel Studios does seem to have slowed down a bit, having plans to release 2 films and 2 shows a year. 

It also seems like every superhero project nowadays revolves around the multiverse in some way, like the Spider-Verse films, The Flash, etc. There seems to be a lot of piggybacking from the success of the multiverse, giving a constant sign of repetitiveness. At every turn, the multiverse is involved in some capacity within superhero media, so audiences might be burnt out from the whole multiverse angle that has been portrayed lately.

“Once Thanos was kind of over, they got more into the multiverse. I think that’s where it went wrong,” Savings said. “The plots are kind of hard to follow now.”

Despite this, Marvel’s future isn’t completely filled with darkness. With projects like Fantastic Four, Daredevil: Born Again, Deadpool & Wolverine, and the long-awaited Avengers films, it looks like Marvel’s reputation isn’t over just yet, especially now that Echo is the most watched show on Disney+. Marvel Animation has also been on point, with the recent revival of X-Men: The Animated Series, X-Men ‘97 being a flawless, entertaining show from start to finish. Although there is still uncertainty, there are many great things ahead.

“I think it can get better and I’m excited to see what they can do,” Savings said.

Although there have been mediocre films and shows, Marvel has also come out with some of its best projects in a long time, like Loki and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which left fans excited. They felt fresh, exciting, emotional, with great acting and visual effects. Marvel is far from gone, audiences just need a reason to see the great things that Marvel has to offer, because hope isn’t lost just yet.

“I don’t think they have lost their charm,” junior Owen Pollard said. “There are lots of good superhero shows and movies still out there.”

Marvel Studios hasn’t been the only superhero company struggling, because with DC, it’s a whole other story. From the beginning, the DCEU (DC Extended Universe) was always a mixed bag amongst fans. Different director cuts, plain awful movies, lack of a coherent continuity compared to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and a divide amongst fans made watching the universe dreadful.

Films like Wonder Woman and The Suicide Squad were great, but are overshadowed by a bunch of the negatives of the universe. Films like The Flash and Shazam: Fury of the Gods were not only bad movies, but were also considered to be box office flops, which isn’t a good look. Especially The Flash, with the main actor having a lot of controversy, and the film’s use of poor CGI cameos to bring back dead actors.

One reason for these underperformances could be because of the different sides of DC fans. On one side, you have fans who just love the DC universe as a whole, and on the other side, you have fans who just love Zack Snyder, a former director of some of the DC movies. These two sides clashed together constantly, with the Snyder fans not supporting any DC movie unless it had something to do with Snyder. Another reason, of course, could just be because the movies weren’t the best.

As for the universe itself, it didn’t feel like a universe. There wasn’t enough connectivity when it came to its films, and there was a distinctive style in all of the movies. They began connecting the films more in the recent movies, but it was already too late as audiences had already checked out from the universe.

“I found it hard to watch and too dark,” Pollard said. “It didn’t feel like it was a solid, stable universe.”

In Black Adam, it teased the return of the Man of Steel himself, Superman, with Henry Cavil reprising the character in a post-credit scene and officially announcing his return on DC’s social media accounts. Fans were ecstatic, dancing about the return of their favorite man of steel, but of course, this return was short-lived, as James Gunn and Peter Safran announced a new DC universe, a complete reboot of what came before, with a new Superman movie, and a new Superman actor, David Corenswett, with Henry Cavil expected not to return to the role at all, now that the old universe is discontinued, being fully replaced and rebooted with the new universe.

Thankfully, the DCEU ended with Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, paving way for the new DCU (DC Universe), but is this new universe already doomed to fail? It’s already looking to be very confusing, with season 2 of Peacemaker on Max taking place in the DCU, but with season 1 having taken place in the DCEU. Gunn and Safran are picking and choosing certain actors to reprise their characters from the DCEU, while also recasting most of the other characters. It’s just very unclear on what’s what and who’s who.

With Snyder fans showing distaste and negativity towards Gunn and the new universe, things are already starting to look like a mess. Considering all of these factors, it might rub off on the audience’s perspective on these types of movies. Despite the problems, many fans, myself included, are excited for what Gunn has in store, especially for the new Superman movie.

“With James Gunn taking over and rebooting it, I’m a lot more excited for a more connected universe,” Pollard said.

With the success of superhero movies declining, the success of non-superhero movies has risen, with films such as Dune: Part Two and Kung Fu Panda 4 dominating the box office, and many more non-superhero films following that pattern. Films like those have been great, and as of now, it seems as if audiences would rather watch those types of movies than superhero movies.

Non-superhero films getting big box office numbers and good reviews plays a role in what the audience’s attention goes to. Depending on the numbers, the box office numbers may lead audiences to believe whether a film is good or not. The same thing applies to whether a film has a good review or not. However, audiences shouldn’t base their opinion solely on this. There are many films out there that turned out great, despite having low box office numbers or poor reviews, so instead, audiences should form their own opinion on films, while still letting reviews and the box office play a small factor.

There have also been some very successful superhero media that are non-Marvel and DC, such as shows like Invincible or The Boys on Amazon Prime. These shows aren’t on the big screen, so they may not get the same amount of attention from movie watchers, nonetheless, at least there is still superhero content out there that gets talked about a decent amount.

“Recently, I watched invincible on Amazon Prime and I loved every second of it,” Pollard said. “It’s a bloody, more dark take on the typical trope of growing up as a superhero.”

Overall, superhero movies aren’t going anywhere. Although there is some superhero fatigue, with a lot of great stuff set to release in the years to come, it should get audience’s attention and give them a reason to watch these types of movies, rekindling their love for superhero movies.

“I think we need superhero movies,” Savings said. “Superhero movies will never be dead because they create imagination.”

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  • S

    Sheila BlakelyMay 25, 2024 at 3:55 pm

    This is an intriguing article well written and supported. I have only watched a few of these movies
    Now my internet is peaked. Thank you Nigel!

  • P

    Paul A EvansMay 21, 2024 at 11:47 am

    WOW, Very thoughtful piece on movies.