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Superheroes - up, up, and away

Since the early 2000s, the superhero genre has saturated our screens with no intention of slowing down. And I wonder why this is. Why are Marvel and DC superhero movies the front runners in the current cycle of action cinema? What might be the cultural conditions which boosted the popularity of this genre? Is it simply a matter of evolved special effects adding a more realistic spectacle to the narrative, or does our love of superheroes expose a wider cultural anxiety about the need for national protection (an after-effect of 9/11, perhaps)?

  • I've always wondered this myself. A great source for this piece would be Robert Kirkman's Secret History of Comics, because viewers see just where these superheroes came from and how they affected society at that time and continue to do so now. Everyone wanted to BE Superman or HAVE a Superman. Marvel comics took a step forward from black-and-white "bad guys" to villains with complex backstories and motivations. I believe that the heart of superheroes continues to be so relevant and prevalent nowadays because we still have that yearning to see good triumph over evil, as well as see these comic book characters come to life. – EJSmall 1 year ago
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  • On top of all the factors which you have mentioned, part of me (the optimistic side) believes that the superheroes genre provides a fertile ground for experimentation especially with diversity. Though it is not perfect, superheroes movies tend to make an effort to be inclusive with diverse casts and I believe, rightly or wrongly, that it has contributed to the success and appeal of the cycle of those movies. – kpfong83 1 year ago
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