The superhero genre has seen the once-bankrupt comic label Marvel grow into one of the most powerful studios in Hollywood, and a new generation of filmmakers rise to the commercial peak of the film industry.
Even so, superhero movies haven’t won over everyone, with many of the most vocal naysayers being among the older generation of Hollywood filmmakers. Most prominent of these is, for certain, the legendary Steven Spielberg.
The iconic director, often credited as the inventor of the modern blockbuster, has spoken before of his feeling that superhero movies are a fad with a limited shelf life, and speaking to Yahoo! News US he elaborates on this.
Reflecting on his earlier comments (which, it should be noted, were made in reference not only to superhero movies but the current megabudget blockbuster model in general), Spielberg confirms, “I still feel that way.
“We were around when the Western died and there will be a time when the superhero movie goes the way of the Western.
“It doesn’t mean there won’t be another occasion where the Western comes back and the superhero movie someday returns. Of course, right now the superhero movie is alive and thriving. I’m only saying that these cycles have a finite time in popular culture.
“There will come a day when the mythological stories are supplanted by some other genre that possibly some young filmmaker is just thinking about discovering for all of us.”
It would be easy to misconstrue these words as a curmudgeonly attack on the superhero genre, but there’s clearly a lot of truth to what Spielberg says here.
He doesn’t demonise Marvel or DC; he merely points out that the time will come that their stock-in-trade falls out of favour with cinemagoers, much as they have intermittently with comic readers too.
Whether this will be five years, ten years, twenty years from now; who can say. After all, westerns were popular from the earliest days of film right through to the 1970s.
In any case, Spielberg’s remarks are totally level-headed by comparison with the remarks of some other older filmmakers, such as Oliver Stone, who in 2014 ranted to Forbes that the fantasy had “infected the American culture; you young people believe all of this s**t! Batman and Superman, you’ve lost your minds, and you don‘t even know it!”
Steven Spielberg’s next film, ‘Bridge of Spies,’ opens in UK cinemas on 27 November.
Picture Credit: WENN, Marvel, Warner Bros/DC