//Overrated/Underrated: Superhero Movies

Overrated/Underrated: Superhero Movies

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Isaac Scafe

Senior Staff Writer

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OverratedPrem Naik

As a kid, I, like many others, loved superheroes. I would jump at the chance to see “Justice League,” “Batman the Animated Series,” “X-Men” and “Spectacular Spiderman” on television. 

As reruns, they would be enjoyable every time I had the chance to catch them. They were the perfect combination of action, humor and escapism, and animation was the perfect medium to bring such iconic characters to life. From the colorful costumes to the expressive cartoonish faces, these animated superhero shows presented definitive versions of our childhood heroes from Batman to the Flash.

I also remember that, as a kid, watching a live action version of these characters was a rarity. Aside from the lesser known black and white films and TV shows, the first big budget live action film was 1978’s “Superman.” 

This film was a cultural phenomenon, spawned a whole series and could arguably have kicked off the trend of superhero movies. At a time when superhero movies were nonexistent, Richard Donner used a perfect blend of visual effects and comedy to bring the beloved comic book character to life. The same can be said for 1989’s Batman, wherein Tim Burton gave audiences a mixed bag of camp and darkness. 

These early films were massive successes, but it wouldn’t be until the release of X-Men in 2000 that comic book movies would really pick up steam. This incarnation of the X-Men was a far cry from the colorful and loveable ‘90s television show. X-Men was dark in color, dark in tone and gave audiences superheroes in a real-world setting. Many superhero movies were subsequently released following this trend—arguably too many.

This is exactly where the problem with modern superhero movies lies and why they are overrated. These films, while great, have oversaturated theaters and lack the authentic feel that animation gives. These films often push for drama over action as well, as seen in “The Dark Knight Rises,” “Batman v. Superman,” “X-Men Dark Phoenix” and the entire first hour of “Avengers: Endgame.” This is where superheroes lose their charm, as the lines between good and evil are often called into question. 

Gone are the days when superhero movies were simple and few. With more Marvel and DC movies on the way, there seems to be no escape from the onslaught of superhero movies.

UnderratedIsaac Scafe

Since the release of “Iron Man” back in 2008, superhero movies have filled the box office each and every year. Moviegoers keep coming back every time a new one is released, whether it’s from Marvel or DC. If you look at the list of highest-grossing films, four of the top ten are superhero films, including “Avengers: Endgame,” which is the highest-grossing movie to date. Yet, some people are frustrated that a superhero movie has claimed this honor, going as far as to call them overrated. But what actually makes a film overrated? 

Some people just don’t like superhero movies and that’s understandable. Sometimes the plot isn’t that interesting or the studio decided to use too many special effects. Even the acting at times can leave a lot to be desired. But just because a film isn’t “great” doesn’t mean it’s overrated.

Superhero movies aren’t made to be “good” per se. They’re made with the intent of being entertaining. If you had someone pick a random movie to watch, they would most likely pick a superhero film if given the choice. Though superhero movies are notoriously cheesy, they can still get a good chuckle or two out of you. And while the plot can be shallow at times, it still captivates you just enough for you to care. Who doesn’t want to see the hero win after overcoming each hardship they face?

You don’t even have to be a big comic book fan to be into superhero films. Movies are typically aimed at a specific demographic but that isn’t the case with hero films. Even though they’re listed as action movies, you can find almost anyone watching them. Regardless of age, race or gender, everyone likes a good superhero film. Opening weekend for a superhero movie is now a national pastime.

Marvel and DC aren’t going to win the Academy Award for Best Picture anytime soon. They will, however, continue to win in the box office. Your average movie viewer isn’t going to care about every little thing that makes a film special. If people enjoy superhero films whenever they come out, then how can they be overrated? A studio’s priority, whether Marvel or DC, is to create an entertaining movie, not a film masterpiece.     


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