What’s next for costumed heroes?

Where do superhero movies go from here?  For all that I love about seeing my favorite comic book heroes leap off the page, I worry about the narrow range of storytelling.  After seeing The Amazing Spider Man I began to wonder if there is a saturation point for costumed heroes who continue along standard action plots. Whether it is Iron Man, Superman, Batman, Thor, Green Lantern, Captain America, The Avengers, in all cases the movies follow very standard action plots.

Yet, comic books are not all about the flash.  It is as if they have taken a medium defined by a collaboration between writer and artists and only taken the “artist” part onto the screen.  With a few exceptions, The Watchmen for example, these movies are failing to explore different kinds of stories.  We need to see more urban and street level heroes, a dive into other cultures of the world. I am ready for mysteries and thrillers and dramas filled with these characters.  I am ready for tragedy and depth, for introspection and thought. Where is the crime and detective stories?  How is Marvels newest announcement, Guardians of the Galaxy, going to bring something new to the screen? I will keep an open mind, and I hope for the best, but I feel I can already see the script.  Good guys group up, they bicker, someone bad is doing something bad. They chase them a bit through a few good battles with great effects until they have one final battle that is bigger and badder than the mini-battles earlier.  And then they win. I think I’ve already seen this movie.

I am amazed to say that my best hope seems to be the upcoming The Wolverine. Set in Japan, the movie already has a nice cultural feel with a cast that includes Hiroyuki Sanada (The Last Samurai) and Hal Yamanouchi (The Way Back), Tao OkamotoRila Fukushima and Will Yun Lee as Silver Samurai. The infusion of a crime family story alongside an authentic cultural background might be something exciting in the world of superhero movies.  Let’s hope for some success and originality that will support more projects that break out of the standard action stories we seem to have on infinite repeat.

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