In 2008 Marvel Studios released Iron Man, a movie based on one of their lesser known heroes. The film starred Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark and the titular character. After seeing the movie fans and critics realized RDJ was the perfect actor for the role and epitomized the billionaire-playboy persona. This movie started Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, and ushered with it, a new era in comic book movies. Obviously, superhero movies existed long before Iron Man. We have had Spider-Man, X-Men, Hulk, Blade, Cat Woman and even Sin City, to a lesser extent, on the big screen before 2008. But those are all of a different time, with a different feel and formula. The “Modern Age” of comic book films will ultimately live and die with Marvel. The consistency in quality and box office draw has made Marvel the most popular brand in films. So much so that even Spider-Man and X-Men (licensed by Sony & Fox respectively) benefit from the red Marvel banner before the beginning of their movies. DC Comic has been slow catching up, but they are preparing to compete with Marvel with their own cinematic universe for the next six years and beyond. Some worry that with all of the tights, super powers and origin stories the movie industry won’t survive. These huge, big budget, event films will hallowing out the mid-tier projects and risker gambles from, already cautious, movie studios. That may be true, and if you know anything about movies you know nothing last forever. Westerns were once the big blockbuster genre in movies, and now cowboys are rarely seen in cinema.
I think it would be wise for us to take a step back and recognized what we’re witnessing. In the past ten years we’ve seen the most well-crafted and fully realized version of Batman in films, and we’ve seen The Avenger’s Assemble better than we could have imagined. This past year alone Captain America 2, Guardians Of The Galaxy and X-Men: Days Of Future Past were all impressive additions to the comic book movie canon. What will the next five years have to offer? The Avengers will look very different as contracts for RDJ, Chris Evan and Chris Hemsworth are all coming to an end. We’ll finally see The Justice League in theaters in 2017. All of these things are resulting in a critical mass of superhero movies and the quality will not always be there. I’m excited to see the next several years of comic book movies, but I’m also interested to see how the Movie Industry moves forward after they fade away.