Comic book movie fatigue (let’s call it CBMF for short) appears to be a term that pops up every once in a while. Is this a real condition? Have doctors or clinical professionals verified this? I’m no expert, but I do believe that this “condition” is a bit faulty. Before I give you my top-five reasons as to why it isn’t a real thing, let’s just go over a little context first.
Don’t feel like reading? No worries. I’ve got you covered with a video about CBMF instead.
Comic book movies have been around for almost an entire century! The Mark of Zorro can probably be claimed as the first comic book movie dating back to 1920.
However, I think it may be safe to say that the resurgence of comic book movies in the 2000s has to begin with X-Men (2000). From that point on, we have had a plethora of comic book movies to hit the big screen.
So, let’s go over my five reasons why CBMF isn’t a real thing.
#5 The Genre Is Still Expanding
Comic book films have been able to bring to life many of the classic stories audiences have grown to enjoy about some of the most iconic heroes. In some cases, we even get alternative versions of those same stories just to give us something new yet familiar at the same time.
Of course, fans haven’t been the only beneficiaries of these films. The movie studios are making a ton of money from them as well. That would probably explain why studios like Marvel or Warner Bros. have unveiled their movie plans for the next four to five years or more.
#4 New Characters Are Still Being Introduced
Well, maybe they aren’t “new,” but more so unfamiliar to mainstream audiences. There are a number of lower-tier characters who are getting introduced and highlighted by comic book films. In terms of commercial success, The Guardians of the Galaxy or Ant-Man were surprising successes for characters that many noncomic fans may have even heard about. Plus, we also have more characters like Doctor Strange, Cyborg, and Black Panther still yet to come.
#3 New Directors With New Perspectives
To top things off, the studios are giving more indie and smaller-budget directors an opportunity to bring forth a fresh new perspective to many of these characters as well. Whether we like their approaches or not, we cannot deny that we’re getting uniquely different comic book movies. Suicide Squad is a great recent example, despite its mixed reactions. Director David Ayer undoubtedly brought in a different feel and vibe compared to other comic book movies to date. Another indie director is Patty Jenkins, who is pegged to direct the upcoming Wonder Woman film in 2017.
#2 Lack of Interest Does Not Equate to Fatigue
While this may all sound great, there have been a number of people within the film industry who claim to suffer from CBMF. More specifically, it appears as though some directors in the industry seem to be inflicted with this fatigue. Director David Mackenzie (Hell or High Water) had this to say in The Guardian:
I can’t f****** bear superheroes, so I won’t be doing one of those…I look forward to the day when the general public get tired of these things – I’ve been tired of them for a long time.
Another example of a director with CBMF would be actor and director Mel Gibson. In an interview with Deadline, he stated his thoughts on big-budget comic book films and Batman v Superman:
And it’s a piece of s***. . . . I’m not interested in the stuff. Do you know what the difference between real superheroes and comic book superheroes is? Real superheroes didn’t wear spandex. So I don’t know. Spandex must cost a lot.
Judging these quotes, it would appear that CBMF happens primarily in people who are just not interested in comic book material. I suppose that would make sense. Although, I think that also disqualifies their opinion to some degree as well. For instance, I’m a film critic. I do not particularly care for musicals. I don’t go and critique musicals. Due to my lack of interest in them, I’m already coming into a film with a perceived bias, and I won’t be able to objectively judge the genre with the respect it deserves. So, I disqualify myself from conversations about musicals. In a similar way, I think that people who hate comic book movies should excuse themselves from the conversation as well.
So, in my opinion, if you’re not interested in comics or comic book movies, then don’t watch or make them. Avoid them like the plague. You have every right to like whatever, and we’re all entitled to our opinions. I just think that the opinions are moot when there’s no substance behind them.
#1 We’re Just Tired of Bad Comic Book Movies
I could be entirely wrong, but I rarely, if ever, hear about comic book movie fatigue when a good superhero movie is released.
The outcry of fatigue seems to only arise after the release of certain films that have been disappointing in the box office or to fans in general. It’s my impression that people who may legitimately suffer from CBMF do so only after some really poor comic book films are released. So maybe, just maybe, the issue isn’t a problem with the oversaturation of comic book movies. Maybe the problem is just the oversaturation of really poor-quality comic book movies. As a comic fan, I can tell you right now that if I saw any of the films below again I’d have comic book movie fatigue too.
I think at the end of the day, we all just want the same thing: better movies in general. When it comes to comic book movies, the most interesting thing about the cinematic adaptations is that they are slightly altered to cater to even noncomic book fans. If a studio can get that perfect blend of comic adaptation with casual-audience appeal just right, then no one is going to complain about anything (except for maybe wanting more). Comic book movies are just a genre. The key, just like any other genre, is to just keep things interesting. To quote Christopher Nolan in TimeOut:
I don’t see it as a limited genre. If I did, I never would have worked for almost ten years in that genre. I think like any genre, like the Western, it has limitless opportunities. It’s just about the audience’s appetite. What’s very important is that the studios be open to making other sorts of films at the same time.
So, when you hear of comic book movie fatigue, think twice. Are these people even interested in comics in the first place? Do they also get fatigued with the really great comic book movies too? Are they literally just tired and in need of a nap?
Whatever the case may be, comic book movies are going to be here for a while. Luckily, no one is forcing you to actually go watch or make them if you don’t want to. We have plenty of choices to see whatever we want. Only in America!