Superhero Movies, The Boom And Bust Cycle
Posted on Friday April 1, 2011, 10:23 by Helen O'Hara in Empire States
Spider-Man and Superman are already being rebooted, and we’ve just learned that Batman’s being rebooted again. That’s the second go around for Spidey, the third for Supes and the fourth or fifth for the Caped Crusader (if you count his 60s incarnation, the Burton films, the Schumacher films (admittedly, that one’s arguable), the Nolan films and now this proposed do-over). The X-Men are being prequel-ified, and there’s even talk of a Fantastic Four reboot (because you know how the fans are baying for that one). So what’s with all the do-overs? Why can’t we just set the rules of the game and stick to them? And is this peculiar to superheroes or a general Hollywood thing?
First of all, why all the do-overs? Well, let’s have a quick think about this. I argued here that there only seems to be three superhero stories that Hollywood is interested in telling. There’s The Origin Story, the Quitting Story and the Going Dark story, three tales that crop up to at least some degree in almost every superhero film. Unless you start trying for originality and branching out in new directions, that means you’re going to need to start over every three films – as indeed has proved to be the case with Spider-Man already. Superman IV: The Quest For Peace went for a fourth story, and paid for it both at the box-office and at the hands of the critics (also: it’s really not good).