Surely We've Had Enough Superhero Movies (and Shows), Right?

After many months and years of continuous superhero movie releases, and countless television programs, fatigue is setting in. Are we really that surprised?

marvel the avengers
There are just too many of these movies, honestly. | © Marvel Entertainment / iStock / EarlyGame

So I spent this last week writing a series of articles titled "All Marvel/DC Shows/Movies Out in 2022", and it has opened my eyes to something that – whilst I had been somewhat aware of – shocked me to my core. By my own estimates, unless my articles are wrong (they're not, don't worry, I did my research), we will get nine comic book movies and a whopping sixteen comic book shows over the course of 2022. That doesn't even include content that doesn't have relatively well-set release dates, shows that started their seasonal run back in late-2021, or minor cartoons that don't really catch anyone's attention. All in all, that's twenty-five tv shows and movies that we can indulge in before the year's end.

Look, I'm not a prude (well, maybe a bit), and I actually really enjoy the MCU and... well... some of the DCU. I gave "The Batman" a perfect score when it came to theaters back in early March and raved about the film in my review, saying that "The Batman utilizes its lore and characters to create a movie that's a more atmospheric and shockingly poignant film than would have been imaginable with Ben Affleck or even Christian Bale at the helm". In other words, I f**king loved the movie, and am incredibly excited to see where they go next with Matt Reeves at the helm and Robert Pattinson as Batman. Yet, somehow, I don't feel so enthusiastic about the rest of this year's lineup.

I mean, let's start by looking at DC, currently the black sheep of superhero content. Marvel has managed to create this incredibly impressive cinematic universe by releasing a ridiculous number of very high-quality, interconnected films that even link to their various television shows in complex and interesting ways. Meanwhile, DC seems to be offering us a pitter-patter of different movies and shows, none seemingly connected or organized. That becomes all the more clear when you look at their TV-offerings. Out of the eleven shows confirmed for 2022 (many of which don't even really have a confirmed release date), only two of them are brand-new shows. Meanwhile, Marvel are only releasing five shows this year and four of them are brand-new.

The DC movies have also been plagued with problems ever since we were introduced to the "Man of Steel" back in 2013. That movie is nearly a decade old now and was meant to bring DC back into the spotlight after five years of absolutely cracking Marvel movies. Instead, Henry Cavil's first attempt as Superman landed flatter than Greek pita bread. One word can describe that movie, as well as its follow-ups "Batman Vs. Superman", "Justice League", and "Aquaman" (which is getting a sequel later this year, lord save our souls), and that word is "boring". To be more precise, these films were so dull that you couldn't help but nod off well before the halfway point. With such a mixed collection of bizarrely awful films and disjointed television shows, it's actually a surprise that the first Wonder Woman, The Batman, and Joker, actually made us oddly optimistic.

Meanwhile, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been cruising on in an ever-evolving glory lap that never ceases to end, even after releasing a movie that was literally called "Endgame". From the multitude of television programs, different movie franchises, and games that they have released, everything is interconnected and everything makes sense within the framework of the world that they have created. When Spider-Man: No Way Home came out last year, it still managed to blow us away with a unique take on Spider-Man and the return of some incredibly iconic actors and characters. The shows have, for the most part, been pretty good, and there are some pretty exciting movies coming up throughout the rest of 2022. Thor: Love and Thunder, anyone?

Marvel has managed to maintain its position at the top of this hierarchy for a couple of very clear reasons. They seem to know when they make a mistake, when something isn't working, and they're more than willing to change it up. The first two Thor movies, for example, were duller than a dead lamp, so they got in Taika Waititi and released Thor: Ragnarok in 2017, taking the brand in a whole different direction. That is now one of the best films in the entire franchise, and never ceases to give us the giggles. They have focused on character and have chosen their moments wisely. When it's time to tell a darker story, they won't shy away from it, but they are self-aware enough to know that the entire concept of a superhero is bizarre in itself, so they have a habit of leaning into that bizarreness in a way that continues to feel fresh and never takes itself too seriously. Meanwhile, DC's movies have been dark, cliché, overly produced, and so self-indulgent that it verges on self-congratulation.

Marvel have made efforts to keep things fresh and bring us new experiences, despite having made 28 films since Iron Man and having more than ten more currently in at least the early stages of production. But things are starting to get old. Do we really need a third f**king Antman movie, guys? Don't get me wrong, I love Paul Rudd, but is this seriously something that we want or need? I couldn't be more bored than when watching one of those movies. In much the same way, this year's Marvel selection seems to be simply retreading old steps, and it really is getting old. Do we seriously need more of this stuff? As I established, there are at bare minimum 25 pieces of new superhero content we can watch on our television screens before the year's end. It's too much.

Lots of people are still having a great time with their Marvel and DC Cinematic Universes. A lot of people are still loving all of this new content, getting hyped for even things like "Ms. Marvel" and Sweet Tooth Season 2. A lot of people don't care that Benedict Cumberbatch's American accent is still abhorrent after... how many movies, again? The reality is that a lot of people get a lot of value out of all of this content (especially the Marvel stuff), and that is great, but that doesn't mean it's even slightly interesting anymore. To finish, let's return to that review I wrote for The Batman. The reality is that, whilst The Batman was a fantastic movie, it treads nowhere that someone else hasn't treaded before. It was basically The Dark Knight from 2008, but with the gamma turned all the way down. It was great, but hardly interesting.


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