Well, Spider-Man: Homecoming has been released and I just can not even begin to give the faintest of a toss about it, and based on the more than 60 percent drop in box office returns during the second week of its release it is safe to say that I am not the only one. Marvel’s recent Netflix offering, Iron Fist, was a rushed out of the door, dull, plodding mess that was pilloried for all the wrong reasons. What’s that, hipsterella? You’re upset that blonde haired, blue eyed white boy Danny Rand was played by a blonde haired, blue eyed white boy instead of an Asian? That’s the biggest problem? Did we not watch the same show? What about the poor pacing, awful dialogue, poorly choreographed fight scenes (in a series based around a martial arts focused character no less), bad special effects, and washed out visuals? Then there is the ongoing X-Men film series. What once were entertaining, albeit cheesy, sci-fi flicks have been bogged down over the course of the last three entries with rehashing the same boring quasi love triangle between Mystique, Xavier, and Magneto. The last picture treated Apocalypse as a glorified extra, mere window dressing in what was ostensibly to be a film centered around him. Why was this done? To shoehorn in a rehash of the same aforementioned supernatural soap opera, of course. 2018 is set to see the release of three films in the X-Men franchise, with two of them (Deadpool 2 and New Mutants) set to be released within two months of each other. Of course, the big one is X-Men: Dark Phoenix, which will doubtlessly rehash the Charles, Mystique, Magneto drama yet again and feature Jean Grey in a small cameo. On the small screen, there is The Defenders coming to Netflix in August, The Inhumans coming to ABC in September, and New Warriors set to debut next year on ABC. One also can not forget about season two of Jessica Jones, Daredevil season three, and Luke Cage season two, all to be released next year. 2018 could also potentially see the release of Iron Fist season two (break out the caffeine pills for that one). On the DC/Warner Bros. front, things are a bit quieter. November is set to see the release of Justice League (featuring the combined directorial “talents” of Zack Snyder and Joss Whedon). Aquaman is coming in 2018, Shazam (a.k.a. the real Captain Marvel) is coming in 2019, and Cyborg (no, I am not joking) is coming in 2020. However, given the recent critical and commercial (779.4 million USD on a 149 million USD budget as of the original drafting of this diatribe) of Wonder Woman, I fully expect Warner Bros. to start puking these things out at a rate similar to Disney and Fox. I am sure that I missed a few releases somewhere up in there, but the sheer glut of these things being cranked (shat?) out makes it difficult to keep track of, even for an obsessive-compulsive cynic like yours truly. Hollywood is so sure that the comic book gravy train will keep rolling that they’re even picking up some of the also-rans. Kingsman (based on The Secret Service by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons), a film that I will fully admit to enjoying, has a sequel coming in September. Recently released critical bomb Valerian and the Horrendously Overlong Subtitle is a filmic adaptation of a long running French sci-fi comic series. There is even a second attempt at a Spawn film in the works as of the original drafting of this bloviation. Eight year old me would have been excited by that prospect. Thirty-two year old me, on the other hand, remembers how incredibly disappointed twelve year old me was by the first attempt at a Spawn flick.
I guess I have one question here. We all know that Hollywood will milk trends until they are dryer than Anita Sarkeesian trekking across the Sahara, but at what point is enough enough for the audience? For me, I think the point of fatigue has already passed. I have seen so many of these superhero flicks since the trend first began in earnest (back in 2008), and each franchise follows pretty much the same template, that they are all starting to run together. I was sure this fad was beginning to show signs of scraping the bottom of the barrel when Doctor Strange and the Guardians of the Galaxy got their own films. While I legitimately enjoyed Guardians and found the good doctor’s eponymous film to be entertaining, these are C-list, maybe (if I am being generous) B-list characters. What’s next? Is hollywood going to plumb the depths of 1990s dross and give us a round of Chaos! Comics flicks? The world is clearly pining for an Evil Ernie or Chastity movie. People have begun to ask when superhero and comic flicks are going to hit the wall. I say that, given how deep they are diving for characters to adapt now and how formulaic these films have become, that the wall has already been hit. I am calling it now, cape fatigue is setting in. It may take a few more films to really show in the returns, but 3 studios releasing at least 3 films a year in a single franchise each is not sustainable in the long term. Like slasher flicks, musicals, and film noir before them, the wheels will fall off of this gravy train and it’s going to happen at some point soon. If a guy like me, who has been a comic book fan for over two decades, can get sick of it this easily, I imagine it will be even easier for the rest of the moviegoing public who aren’t really invested in any of these characters apart from enjoying the occasional big budget popcorn flick.