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Chris Evans doesn’t just talk the talk when it comes to superhero movies. The dude walks the walk. Remember, Evans was holding down the fort as a member of The Fantastic Four before being in an FF movie was a curse and a burden. And, naturally, he has been crushing it as Captain America in a steady stream of Marvel movies. So when he weighs in on the state of the genre, and the way it can pave its future, it’s worth sitting up and paying notice.
Evans was promoting his directorial debut Before We Go, and spoke with Collider about superhero movies, in general, and how they can continue to evolve. From Evans’ standpoint, it’s really a matter of letting filmmakers find an original tone inside of a superhero movie, and figuring out the balance of larger-the-life comic-book content within the confines of the overall story. He said:
You could take any superhero movie and if you ground it enough, if you make it real enough—that’s what I think [Captain America: The Winter Soldier directors Joe and Anthony Russo] do really well. Certain superhero movies feel like ‘superhero movies.’ Russo movies almost feel like human stories with a little bit of superhero sprinkled in. So you might get exhausted of the larger-than-life powers I suppose, but as long as the filmmakers keep on reinventing the flavor and the approach and the tone, audiences are going to still go."
A lot of the chatter leading up to the release of The Winter Soldier talked about how this was Marvel trying to do a 1970s political thriller. (Casting Robert Redford was a nice touch.) A similar discussion was had around Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man, which was viewed as Marvel’s first "heist film," with hints of superhero action sprinkled in. To that end, the new Spider-Man movie allegedly will be a John Hughes-esque coming-of-age high school comedy. So you can see how Marvel is trying to change up genres while still delivering movies that feature the heroes from their comic-book pages.
Chris Evan’s comments likely come in response to Steven Spielberg’s recent deduction that the superhero-movie craze will eventually run its course and go "the way of the Western," meaning that audiences will tire of the onslaught of comic-book properties and seek different flavors of entertainment. Evans is trying to say that the different flavors can be found IN the superhero genre, if filmmakers keep changing up their approach.
Either way, it won’t happen any time soon. We have no less than 35 superhero movies on Hollywood’s radar between now and 2020, with every major studio filling its slate with comic properties. The tide may change, in time, but Evans is correct that the genre can survive for a long, long time so long as filmmakers keep changing it up.