Obviously, one of the most successful superhero movies to date is The Dark Knight. Without a doubt, this is mostly attributed to Nolan, the story and the cast. But one of the most important factors is that there are no supernatural forces to be addressed. The superhero movie genre needs to be as realistic as possible for today’s audience, and due to the lack of super powers, the Batman franchise achieves a feel of realism that no other superhero movie really can.
That being said, let’s tone down the “ridiculous, massive enemies”, Hollywood. The Dark Knight fights humans, totally believable and relatable. So, you can’t have Superman lifting continents out of the water or Green Lantern going up against a giant gaseous blob with a face. We have to suspend our belief long enough to accept that the main character has superhuman abilities, but it just goes too far when they have to go up against something unrealistic and humungous just because the good guy has powers.
The Iron Man franchise has done very well and it is yet another example of being pretty realistic as far as superhero movies go. However, Iron Man and his team go up against an apparently infinite army of alien invaders in The Avengers. Ever since Braveheart, Hollywood loves to push out films where a handful of good guys (sometimes even just one) must do battle with a never ending onslaught of nameless bad guys. Enough, already! Seeing thousands of characters battling it out on the screen does nothing for us, no matter how impressive the special effects are. This is truly one of the most boring scenes I can think of having to sit through in an action flick these days.
Spiderman is one of the most beloved superheroes and the movies have been well-received for the most part. However, the Spiderman movies, among others such as Green Lantern, have a fatal flaw; the constant back-and-forth scenes depicting the story of how the good guy develops his powers and how the bad guy becomes the bad guy and/or gets his powers. This is really quite annoying and makes re-watching these movies less desirable- which leads to lower DVD and Blu-Ray sales, I’m sure. Reverting back to The Dark Knight and Iron Man, these films get it right as they don’t go back-and-forth between hero and arch enemy as they develop the characters. Joker’s origin is a complete mystery and you don’t know Jeff Bridges is the bad guy in Iron Man until late in the film. This won’t work for every film, and there are bad guys with interesting origins, but it must be done right.
And finally, one of the main things that just about every Hollywood superhero movie does that ultimately keeps it from perfection: The “Bully Factor”. The “Bully Factor” (patent pending) is the heart and soul of the superhero genre and the reason the genre exists in the first place! Think about it; superheroes were invented to protect the weak from those who wanted to harm or take advantage of them. Speaking as a former “weakling” with no upper body strength, I can tell you first hand that being bullied was the main reason I fell in love with the superhero universe. I wanted nothing more than to see the bad guys (bullies) get what they deserved.
It seems like every superhero movie just glosses over the parts where the hero, now with awesome powers, takes on the everyday goons and criminals. Seriously, it’s like there is a time limit of 2 minutes for these films to show us that the hero can put the hurting on regular human bad guys. And add an additional minute where the hero faces his original bully. To me, these are the best parts of the films! But Hollywood has to go and make a humungous, ridiculously ugly monster bad guy and/or legions of supernatural henchmen to have the main character fight and take up most of the second half of the movie doing.
I’m older now and in pretty good shape, but I still love to see the bully get what he deserves. And it’s pretty much a fact that people who aren’t strong enough to protect themselves from bullies are the main demographic for superhero movies and comic books, so give us what we want, Hollywood! Stop making these movies about unrealistic, malevolent beings who want to destroy the world for no reason! Bad guys in real life have realistic motives, like power and wealth; let’s keep it real, OK?
To recap, more bully-beating (say, 30-40%); less huge, grotesque monsters; less armies of faceless bad guys, and no more back-and-forth origin scenes. If Man Of Steel happens to fall within these guidelines, especially with Snyder and Nolan involved, this could be one of the best