When I was young, I read a lot of comic books and often wondered why, whenever they make a movie or TV adaptation, a lot of them weren’t any good. I had to sit through movies like The Punisher (starring Dolph Lungren) and Batman and Robin. I had to get my fix watching trash like Birds of Prey and Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.
But, ever since the huge success of the more recent superhero films as well as the small screen debuts of Arrow and Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, everything changed. We now get at least two blockbuster films based on superheroes from comics. Joining Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, The Walking Dead and Arrow this Fall television series, we’ll be getting The Flash, Constantine, Gotham, and Marvel’s Agent Carter.
Now I hear that a lot of people are complaining that there are too many superhero movies and shows based on comics. I can certainly see their point to a degree. It seems like Hollywood just keeps on pumping them out at an incredibly fast rate and the fans just keep on gobbling them up! But it is really a bad thing?
Let’s look at the negative side of this first. I think it’s great that movie studios and television networks now realize that they’ve been sitting on a gold mine of material when they started to adapt comics. But this does come at a price: creativity. Essentially, they’re just rehashing and ripping off a lot of plots from the comics. Tony Stark becoming an alcoholic. Batman having his back broken. These are stories comic book fans are familiar with since they’ve read them before. Not very original. And if they do come up with something new like Gotham or Agents of SHIELD, it can divert too differently from the comics that it alienates comic book devotees. There’s also the danger of rebooting the stories when the writers get tired, rehashing the same thing over and over again (see The Amazing Spider-Man).
Of course, the glut of all superhero media can definitely cause a backlash from people, especially fans of comics! Harvey Dent said in The Dark Knight, “You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” This means that, while something can be popular at the start, people will slowly turn on it once it becomes popular or too mainstream. Comic book fans are sort of slowly having “their thing” taken away from them. That something that was uniquely theirs now is being “dumbed down” for everyone and are starting to call comic book movies one of the worst things to happen to the world of superheroes.
While these arguments may seem valid, in reality, I don’t think they’re not. I don’t think I’ll ever go against comic book movies in the truest sense. That’s not because I’m a “fanboy” or I’m happy that comics are getting the attention I feel they deserve. No, I’m fine with comic book movies and television shows.
What I’m against are BAD comic book movies and television shows!
You see, I’m a firm believer in supporting things that I think are good. Television is pretty easy. Arrow is generally a good television show. So is Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD. So I watch them both. If they weren’t, I wouldn’t. If Gotham, Constantine, Agent Carter or other series based on comics suck, then I’ll stop watching them.
Movies, on the other hand, is a little bit difficult. It’s not like I can rely on another person’s review to say it’s good or bad. I generally have to see it for myself to judge it. Why? Because of the very reason why I wrote this post: a lot of reviewers are pretty biased if the film is based on a superhero property! But, when I watch it, I do try to inform my non-comic book reading friends and the general public why I think it’s good or bad. That’s one of the reasons why this site has the I’ll Review Anything column.
I think people who think that there are too many things based on superheroes are overreacting. If they’re good, I say keep making more of them! Make them original and keep on surprising us on what they’ll do with it. If they start to become bad, I’ll be the first one to say stop making them. But, honestly, just enjoy them while they’re still good.
You don’t want them to go back to doing this, do you?
What do you think of the current popularity of comic book movies and television shows? Do you think they’re too much? Leave whatever you think in the comments section below.