The Evolution of a Genre

The Evolution of a Genre

Once a genre that would be laughed at and mocked. I will explore how the genre of the superhero/comicbook film has evolved into a respected genre in film.

The superhero films have been around for decades from Richard Donner's Superman: The Movie and Tim Burton's Batman to Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight trilogy and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For years, the superhero genre would be mocked, laughed at and shrugged by the naysayers who believed it was a genre meant for little kids. Now, it's become a respected genre that has captivated audiences worldwide and has become a phenomenon. Ranking in billions of dollars at the box office. The evolution of this started years ago when it was a black and white serial and due to the popularity of the characters, they reached the big screen with Richard Donner's Superman. But, I'm getting ahead of myself. The genre was known for being campy thanks to the Adam West Batman. Even to this day despite it's campiness, I have seen episodes for myself and they're really good for the time. Times grew darker though and studios seen the popularity of the characters. Richard Donner made us believe a man could fly, Tim Burton brought us a dark cinematic Batman with Mr. Mom himself in the titular role.

They were fun flicks but never taken seriously, no thanks to films like Howard the Duck whose campiness and silliness went to the extreme. Then again folks, it was Howard the Duck of all characters that got an adaptation. Boy, that was a mistake! Thanks to the studios wanting to bring in more buck and be more kid friendly, they ran the Superman and Batman franchises into the dirt. Ruining the images of those characters for a long time. I would include Blade into this article but, the mass audience didn't know that he was a comic book character. Marvel tried taking a crack at their properties but with the never released Fantastic Four and the horrid Dolph Ludgren Punisher flick, the reputation for these kinds of films became even worse. That is though, until 20th Century Fox and the director of the utterly fantastic "The Usual Suspects" director, Bryan Singer took a crack at bringing Marvel's X-Men to life. Thus, the genre has been reborn. In what turned out to be a fantastic flick, audiences and critics still never took the genre too seriosuly but made everyone realize that these kinds of films can be great. Sam Raimi then brought us Marvel's flagship character, Spider-Man, to life in 2002 in what was sure a campy flick, turned out to be a fantastically entertaining film and showed that these kinds of films can bring in money.

This genre wasn't without it's failures though, even in a post Batman & Robin world. From DareDevil & Elektra to films like Catwoman and later on, Green Lantern and Jonah Hex which when you think about it, hinder the genre. Then you have what some might say the under appreciated in, Ang Lee's Hulk. Sequels to films like Blade, Spider-Man and X-Men came out and the genre grew and the masses loved it. Then along came an independent director by the name of, Christopher Nolan.

Christopher Nolan brought back DC's Dark Knight in a serious adaptaion that took the world by storm with, Batman Begins. A fantastic film that not only rebooted the franchise but showed that real, quality films can be made out of the genre. That he once again proved with its 2008 sequel, The Dark Knight. The genre has become something that critics and film makers took the genre seriously. But, just because something has become quite respected and evolved into a genre that if taken seriously can bring in a lot of attention and possible awards, doesn't mean it still can't be fun right? That's where the superhero genre evolved into cinematic universes.

Over the last few years, Marvel has become it's own film making studio now owned by Disney and made A list heroes and superhero films out of B list characters. They became box office hits and spawned a cinematic universe that would, like The Dark Knight, change the game of the genre. It would ultimately end it's first phase in the first superhero crossover film ever with, The Avengers. A box office monster that broke numerous records and became the most successful superhero film of all time. It's something that years ago, no one would ever dare to do as the same goes for people taking the genre seriously.

There's nothing quite like the superhero film. It's awesome spectacle, masses of fans from comic readers to casual movie goers and film makers, they've all come to love and respect a genre that quite frankly, would never thought to have been taken seriously. From the campiness of Donner, Burton and Raimi's films to now cinematic universe and reboots out the wazoo. This is an ever growing genre that while it may fade for a while like in the past, it'll never truly die. People go for the spectacle and awe of these films. The intensity, romance and acting that in some cases come unexpected awards and Oscar caliber performances. This is the genre that I love, our community loves and is what made this site into what it is.

This is a genre that nobody would want and now is the one that we don't deserve but, the one we and the studios need for now.

I appreciate those who took the time to read this, show your love and support for the genre and this site. Band together and be reminded that this is a genre that we have many studios and filmmakers to thank for. But most importantly, the creators in the comicbook business for without them, we wouldn't have such a fantastic genre that while it has it's ups and downs, is an ever evolving genre that will live on past our lifetimes.

Posted By:
Nick Salinski
Member Since 8/23/2011
Filed Under "Other" 7/19/2014
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