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Nicolas Cage as Superman with cape

When Will The Bubble Burst?

GorramNerdHour GorramNerdHour As Stephen King once stated - Everything's Eventual. For as long as movies have existed there have been remakes, sequels, even superheroes. But they are merely trends, with varying degrees of popularity at any given time. Just as the physical comedy of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton was taken over by the verbal humor of The Marx Brothers. Samurai movies were overtaken by the Western before it. And the Western eventually morphed into something more Science Fiction related like John Carpenter's Escape From New York. Everything's Eventual. The more things change the more they stay the same.

Batman IMAX Poster
Batman IMAX Poster

I often feel as though I have lived several lifetimes given how fast things have changed only to come full circle. In 1978 Richard Donner promised us we'd believe a man could fly. And we did believe...for a time. Superman ushered in a brand new era of superhero movies. And yet it didn't. Sure, we had Howard The Duck, Sheena and a few other comic book related films but no more superhero movies. We were gonna have to wait a little while longer. Of course we still had The Hulk and Wonder Woman on the small screen. We tired of those as fast as Richard Pryor cashed his paycheck from Superman III before it bounce.

It wasn't until 1989 that we saw a new hero emerge from the shadows, one familiar to even the casual fan, one known to many for always having the right tool in his utility belt, one able to make bad puns and call his platonic ward "Chum". That's right. Batman had arrived. But gone were the days of bad jokes and silly costumes. Now it was time for a serious take on the character starring a failed stand up comic named Michael Keaton best known as Beetlejuice. And the kicker - it's directed by the guy who made Beetlejuice and Pee Wee's Big Adventure. Yet it was gothic and serious and crazy. Audiences loved it. Because audiences loved it we got a fantastic animated series, an even darker and crazier sequel with Michael Keaton, an animated theatrical film and a live action series based on The Flash. And there was a thread that tied them all together - Danny Elfman. He became the go to guy for superheroes for a while - Hulk, Spider-Man, even the non-comic book superhero Darkman.

Spider-Man in the Dark
Spider-Man in the Dark

When Batman arrived in theaters in 1989 it was perhaps a rebirth of the superhero movie. It had suddenly become something that we could relate to more than a flying man with ultimate power. It was a regular guy with no powers doing what must be done to save his city. Without Batman we may never have had such films as Blade or X-Men. Even with their more fantastic elements the tone suddenly shifted. They were grounded, something we could relate to on some level or another. But, just as soon as ts it began we saw it starting to wain. Batman Forever and Batman & Robin nearly killed the superhero movie. Blade Trinity didn't work out the way the studio planned. Even, a few years later, we thought the X-Men films were done with the third installment. And somewhere in the middle of all this was Fantastic Four. First Roger Corman attempted making a movie in 1994. It was so bad it was never released. Then we got the Fox movie that miscast the leads and made a lot of fans angry. But somehow they still managed to make a sequel...and made fans even angrier with treatment of Galactus in that film.

During that time we also saw the first big screen outing of the Hulk, directed by Ang Lee. Surely this would be enough to ruin the chances of future superhero movies. Nope. In fact, it just made them stronger. It was shortly after that a plan was hatched - Marvel elected to have as many heroes as they could get the movie rights for under one Banner (no pun intended). This started with Iron Man, then moved into The Incredible Hulk reboot. After that we began to see a shared universe forming. And now DC wants to follow suit.

Here's the problem - We have reached a point where there are comic book movies coming out left and right. The Marvel shared universe, the DC shared universe and the stuff Fox likes to screw up. We have TV shows based on comics all over the tube and Netflix. There's iZombie, The Flash, Arrow, Agents Of S.H.E.I.L.D., The Walking Dead, Legends Of Tomorrow, Daredevil, Supergirl, Preacher is coming, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Agent Carter, the failed Constantine series and more. Marvel and DC have their films mapped for the next ten years. But will we stick around that long? Everything's eventual, and eventually we will tire of the comic book fad and move on to whatever the next big thing happens to be. I'd love it if the next trend was marionette puppets.

Posted in Comic Book Movies,

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