Last week (or the week before – I don’t remember these things) Steven Spielberg predicted that superhero movies would “go the way of the western,” citing how pop culture always has phases like this and then moves on. While it may be difficult for we fanboys and fangirls to hear, he’s not wrong. These things always have a limited time in Hollywood, and while I don’t think superhero movies should run out of steam soon, if the genre continues to be exhausted like it will be up until 2020 then we could see a sharp decline within the next ten years or so.
Someone whose career might be affected is Zack Snyder’s. Every movie of his except Dawn of the Dead has been a comic book adaptation, with all but 300 coming from the DC-side of things. The next few years won’t change that either, as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is out next March, and following that are the two Justice League films. Amongst them are the other DC solo movies which Snyder is producing; he’s effectively the architect of their whole universe. Unlike Kevin Feige, though, he’s a director first and foremost.
Chatting with Yahoo! about Doritos or something, Snyder was asked about what Spielberg had to say, and his thoughts on it…
He might not be wrong. I think it puts more pressure on us, the filmmakers, to not just crank out superhero movies for the sake of it. To me, the one thing I love working in the DC universe is that Superman and Batman and Wonder Woman are American mythology. It’s not about making a superhero, it’s a mythological universe that we live in. That I hope stands the test of time. They stood the test of time. That’s hopefully the sort of magic bullet. But who knows what audiences will want in the future.
To me it’s about the drama, the humanity of it. Those are like Shakespearean characters, Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent, they have inherent drama built into their makeup.
To me, the main difference between DC and Marvel movies are that DC have not yet gotten to a stage where “crank out superhero movies just for the sake of it.” Marvel has to, as that’s what their entire studio is built around. DC isn’t a studio and Warner Bros. makes lots of other movies; they can live on without comic book characters. Yeah, movies like Batman v Superman will make them a lot of money because that’s what’s hot at the moment, however not everything will drop dead over there once the genre does. It gives them the advantage that Marvel Studios can’t ever have.
He’s also given another advantage – DC have been in this business longer. Superman started showing up on TV and in movies back in the 1940’s and people aren’t tired of him (yet). He, Batman and Wonder Woman really are American mythology. This obviously doesn’t mean that DC will be magically exempt from the hypothetical demise of superhero movies. Of course they won’t. They just have more of an advantage right now.
Snyder really hit the nail on the head. The key to helping these movies survive is bringing something fresh each time; Marvel produces films set in a variety of different genres, and Man of Steel was very much a sci-fi movie. So long as there’s always something new to see, audiences will keep coming.
Check out the rest of the interview for even more awesome stuff from Zack Snyder – including some good ol’ rumour-debunking. Batman v Superman punches its way into theaters March 25th, 2016.