Whether you love them or you hate them, superhero movies are a major component of the modern movie landscape, with each top studio – from Disney to Warner Bros. and Fox – invested in multiple comic book franchises enveloping various comic book characters. The genre has grown and adapted over the years, allowing standalone films like Bryan Singer’s X-Men or Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man to pass the baton to massive, multi-movie cinematic universes at Marvel and DC.
But the mistakes made by previous superhero movies are being overlooked, and often repeated. For each X-Men: Days of Future Past or a Guardians of the Galaxy, there’s a Catwoman or an Amazing Spider-Man 2 -- films that tanked so hard, they drastically changed the course of a character or series. And it’s troubling that some of the biggest errors committed by failed comic book films of their ilk are being recycled by big-budget tentpoles in 2016. Why isn’t Hollywood learning its lesson?
I was lucky enough to interview director Gavin Hood recently when his fantastic new film, Eye in the Sky, opened the Gasparilla Film Festival in Tampa. Seeing as how Hood directed the notoriously flawed X-Men: Origins – Wolverine, a movie that introduced Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) to the world – we started talking about the state of superhero films today, and how some of the mistakes he endured are being repeated today. His insights are incredibly valuable, and prove several points we have been making about mistakes current comic book movies continue to make. Such as:
Don’t Introduce Characters For the Sole Purpose Of Setting Up Future MoviesBecause those movies might not happen, for reasons you can never predict. One complaint leveled at the recent Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is that the Dawn of Justice part of that formula was a little too underdeveloped, and tacked on. We’ve had readers complain that the Flash cameo in Dawn of Justice made no sense, and they don’t want to wait for a future Justice League movie for that scene to pay off. Same goes for the casting of Chris Cooper as Norman Osborn in Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Here we have an award-winning actor cast in a supporting role that’s supposedly going to develop down the road. Except… it didn’t.
This was an issue that plagued Gavin Hood’s X-Men: Origins – Wolverine, and studios who were paying attention might have learned that shoehorning characters in where they don’t belong, just to set up movies that might happen down the road, can damage the story a director is trying to tell in his ORIGINAL movie. As Hood recalls:
I liked what you said about looking at Batman v Superman, and so on, and this danger of you know, in [the studio’s] interest of testing the waters, do you screw up the franchise that you’ve got right now? I think there’s a parallel to what happened with X-Men Origins Wolverine, which was originally called Wolverine and then it was shifted during production, and that certainly was something I was not expecting. …
Fox, at the time, was thinking ahead. They wanted Gambit, Blob and Deadpool to be part of this cinematic world. And you can’t blame them. They are fantastic characters, all with huge cinematic potentials. Look how successful Deadpool turned out to be. But they didn’t fit into THIS Wolverine story, and they should have been left out. Will we be saying the same thing about Black Panther and Spider-Man after Civil War? Maybe they belong in that movie. Maybe, though, they’re being introduced to set up their upcoming films.
That’s not the only mistake being made by today’s superhero franchises. Read on.