A few years ago, legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg stated that superhero and comic book movies were a fad that would die off sooner rather than later. Last week, he followed up by saying that he still thinks that way and that the genre will go the way of the Western, which periodically pops up from time to time but ultimately disappears once again. While some are taking some serious offense to these comments, others are respectfully disagreeing and offering insightful retorts. For example, ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ star Chris Evans recently weighed in with comments very fitting for someone taking up the mantle of Captain America.
While speaking to Collider to promote his directorial debut ‘Before We Go,’ Evans addressed Spielberg’s comments by pointing out that as long as superhero films continue to evolve and deliver “human stories”, then they could have some longevity. The actor specifically calls out what the Russo brothers did with ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier,’ which certainly took the superhero movie genre to a level that it has never been before:
“I certainly think that given the fact that technology has finally advanced, they’re always going to be looking for other films to match their technological accomplishments. Any film that can incorporate these larger-than-life characters and fantastical locations and plots, the technology wants to prove they can do it so whether it’s superhero film or fantasy in general, that’s going to surge for a while.
In terms of superhero in general, existing properties that we know and love, it’s going to be a matter of the tone they strike. You could look at Jason Bourne as a superhero. 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.”
To go even further with Evans’ point, just look at characters like James Bond, the Doctor, the Terminator, or even Mickey Mouse. Over the years, we’ve seen various approaches or “different flavors” of these characters since they were introduced. Audiences connected with each incarnation to varying degrees, but they’ve all lasted in ways that the Western didn’t because that genre didn’t evolve with the times. As long as superhero movies continue to do this, as the actor points out, people could still be interested in seeing them. Of course, we’ll have to weed out the stinkers like Josh Trank’s ‘Fantastic Four’, but I’m sure they’re working on that.
Do you think that modern movie-going audiences will suffer from superhero fatigue in the near future? How much longer do you think the genre will survive? Or could you see it evolving and changing with the times to become a mainstay in cinemas for many years to come? Share your thoughts and theories in the comments below.