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Categories: Features

Eric Fulcher reviews the prolific Superhero genre…

Warner Brothers will release Captain American 3 the same time Batman vs. Superman hits cinemas.

Stop. Stop now.

The story never changes, just the abilities of the characters. The motivations never change, just the devices.

“A young male is exposed to new technology and uses an alter ego to fight crime.” There, there’s a logline for any producer looking for a cheap trick that’ll generate more cash than one of those payday loan shops on the corner.

Superheroes are becoming the football of cinema. The NFL is contemplating expanding to Fridays and Saturdays, as though all of Sunday, Monday and Thursday night wasn’t enough. Every year more superhero movies appear and nothing is altered except the colours on suits. Then there are the spin-offs, the mock-offs, the parodies, the remakes, the reboots.

When is it enough?

How many character arcs must we witness to realize they’re all the same: protagonist fights crime by utilizing unique abilities. There’s always a backstory catching up, such as Peter’s father’s dealings in the second installment of the reboot franchise for The Amazing Spider. Or Bruce Wayne using the bat symbol as a means to conquer his fear.

I remember when the cinemas had a variety of genres to watch. The plain of performances was not limited to stupid rubber and plastic costumes of men and women repeating their triumphs and adversities in useless, redundant sequels.

However this is a business, and it’s all about the money. And it’s infecting TV as well.

FOX will have Gotham, ABC its S.H.I.E.L.D., CW its Arrow. No matter the channel you select, a superhero show will be featured in its programming.

To add salt on the gaping wound, the genre has crossed over and brought in childhood stories such as Hansel and Gretel and turned Honest Abe Lincoln into a vampire slayer.

We are far from the days of Christopher Reeve making us feel for his brief loss of Lois. We’ve waved a long goodbye to Tim Burton’s and Joel Schumacher’s brilliant adaptations of Batman (save for the one with Mr. Freeze).

I cannot feel for any of these characters because I’ve seen it all before. Granted yes, the stories are probably interesting and intriguing, with twists and intricate developments. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older and I’m equating superherology with mythology: a story to entertain rather than teach. But this is one of the reasons I rarely visit the movie theater and why I don’t watch TV, let alone have cable: there is nothing original popping up or getting screened.

Call me a cynical asshole (I get it daily, mostly from myself) but seeing nothing new makes me more reclusive to trying out what’s new. There’s a reason I’d rather pop in a DVD from my multitude than zone out to a telly: I’ve seen it all before.

When HBO adapts The Powerpuff Girls to live action in slutty outfits, give me a call. Till then, no soliciting.

superheroes-master

The Spread

The Spread is the official magazine of London-based film community Cinema Jam. We cover everything film, from movie and product reviews, features, editorials, news updates, interviews, and more. Follow @CinemaJam on Twitter for more updates!

Posted on Jun 6, 2014

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