COMIC book movies are everywhere right now. Whatever your thoughts on how close we are to saturation point, after all every era has its bubble, the ’80s had buddy action films a la Lethal Weapon, 48 Hours et all, the early ’90s had the high concept action romps like Under Siege, Speed and the Die Hard sequels.
It’s fair to say that the earliest 21st century equivalent are comic book movies. From Bryan Singer’s X-Men in 2000 onwards, the past 12 years have been a steady stream of more spectacular, if not always necessarily better, blockbusters arriving one after the other.
We’ve had five X-Men movies, a stunning trilogy of Batman films, and by next year we’ll have had two new incarnations of Superman and Spider-Man. There have even been a number of under the radar adaptations like Ghost World and Scott Pilgrim to show that it’s not all about spandexed heroes punching and bashing their way to box office gold.
But all eras must end, so how do the studios stop the comic book movie train from going over the cliff? The answer would appear to be by aping the success stories of the comic book industry.
The ridiculously successful Avengers Assemble and, to a lesser extent, The Amazing Spider-Man are clearly adaptations of the Ultimate versions of those characters.
DC might have dropped the ball somewhat by failing to take off with Green Lantern, audiences aren’t as ready to embrace characters who aren’t Batman or Superman it would seem. Even though Superman Returns, worryingly for DC, wasn’t successful enough to warrant a sequel.
That’s why they’ve went back to the drawing board with the new JLA project which happens to have more than a few similarities with the New 52 universe that was launched to much success last year.
Even the new Superman film Man Of Steel, due next year, has our hero wearing a suit that’s almost an exact replica of his new duds courtesy of Geoff Johns and his team.
How Dredd fares at the box office could tell a story though. If it hits the heights then it will open the floodgates for any number of lesser known characters, who if we’re honest, are much more interesting than the usual suspects who get the lion’s share of the attention.