2016 is shaping up to be an epic year with the superhero genre taking a more twisted, darker turn. Rising to popularity over a decade ago, the superhero genre traditionally depicted the age old theme of good vs evil. With Marvel’s Phase One and Two complete and DC attempting to make its own mark in a similar fashion, it appears to be high time for a drastic change, particularly in theme, style and plot line.
Last week the trailer for the juggernaut film that is Captain America: Civil War released worldwide and boy was it exciting! Unlike earlier Captain America films, this trailer portrayed a much more unique and gritty approach to the star-spangled patriot’s story, one which appears to test loyalties and friendships by pitting hero against hero instead of good vs evil, all the while introducing new characters as well as giving some supporting heroes/sidekicks additional screen time.
Captain America: Civil War isn’t the only superhero film taking a darker route. DC’s highly anticipated Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice film follows a similar formula to Captain America: Civil War, with two of the world’s greatest superheroes standing on opposite sides, both intent on bringing each other to justice (judging from what I’ve read and seen so far). Not only that, but where old-school superhero films focused on just one superhero or a collective team, newer films appear intent on including as many big names as possible, with Captain America: Civil War bringing in Iron Man, Hawkeye and Black Widow, Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice featuring two DC heavy hitters, Wonder Woman and Aquaman, Suicide Squad including one of the greatest villains of all time, The Joker, and then there’s Thor: Ragnorak (which is due in 2017) which gives the not-so-jolly green giant, The Hulk, some screen time with the Norse God.
The superhero genre is not only undergoing a makeover in film but the recent rise in television series depicting a hero’s origins illustrate a more poignant, bitter and often violent past and upbringing that results in the hero donning their suit and rising up to fight crime. Unlike The CW network’s Smallville, which centred on the growing pains of Clark Kent and his journey to become the legendary Superman, newer shows such as Arrow, Gotham and the Netflix original, Daredevil, portray our favourite heroes struggling with the notion of what it means to be a hero and battling their inner demons so as to not cross the fine line between right and wrong.
The next few years are certainly going to be interesting. I’m definitely keen to welcome in a new age of superhero films and television series. Are you?
Be sure to catch the trailer of Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice this Thursday (that’s Wednesday for all those in the USA) and my review of Daredevil Season 1, which will be up soon!