io9 lays down some cold hard opinion about the state of superheroes.
Yesterday afternoon, io9 published a long and rambling interview by Charlie Jane Anders discussing the lack of A-list superheroes and how very few superhero properties actually deserve/justify a blockbuster movie budget. Anders, who for the record is not a hater of superhero films, claims that outside a handful of superheroes, namely Batman, Superman, the Avengers, Spider-Man and the X-Men, there is a remarkably shallow "talent" pool, which has forced movie studios to repeatedly reboot their franchises in hopes of milking more money out of movie-goers. She came to this conclusion after noting that Sony had rebooted its Spider-Man franchise only five years after Spider-Man 3.
Anders lists a short list of criteria that constitute "A-list" superheroes, namely that they're able to support multiple comic book titles over an extended period of time, sell toys and have already had multiple, successful movies made.
To back up her argument, she cites the failures of Green Lantern and both Hulk movies as well as the relative success of Hancock and The Incredibles. She also dismisses movies such as Iron Man or Captain America as simply being movies who benefited from Robert Downey Jr.'s career revival or the shared movie universe which forces moviegoers into seats.
It's an interesting, but inherently flawed article that hinges too much on a weak criticism of the superhero boom and fails to make a real point, other than to vaguely point out that movie studios, like all for-profit companies, like to make money.
Truth be told, I hate the concept of A-list, B-list and C-list characters. When I first began reading comics nearly twenty years ago, I would have laughed if you told me that Green Lantern would have justified four monthly comics, an animated television show and a failed movie. I would have also laughed if you told me that someone had actually produced a worse Superman movie than Superman 4. And I probably would have punched you if you told me that the hottest comic in the market was a black and white zombie book featuring no superheroes and published by the people who brought you Youngblood: Shoot All the Guns! The comic industry is constantly shifting and Hollywood has only recently begun to realize the dearth of potential stories found in decades worth of floppies.
The fact of the matter is that most superheroes that sit in Marvel or DC's character portfolios have at least some star quality to them. I'll concede that some may have more star quality than others, but we're about to get a third Iron Man film, as well as sequels to both Captain America and Thor.
The real reality check is that companies like to make money. Sony, who only possesses the rights to one superhero franchise, is of course going to reboot that franchise as many times as possible. Just as studios have split movies into multiple parts in order to maximize their potentials, so will studios reboot old franchises in order to exploit nostalgia and a built-in fanbase.
Anyways, read Charlie Anders' article and see if you agree with her concept of A-list films.
Written or Contributed by: ThanosCopter