Superhero movies: bringing the comics to life in more detail than ever before


Melissa Giugno – Special to Southern News

Superhero movies are better than ever. With improved technology, filmmakers take the unimaginable feats that masked crusaders achieve in comic books, and make them possible on the silver screen said Shavey Ortiz, a sophomore communication disorders major.

“Everything is bigger and better. You can see everything better and things are in more detail,” said Ortiz. “I feel like technology really advanced when it comes to movies. Some of the things that superheroes do, you feel like they can actually do because it is so nice and clear.”

According to Nash Information Services, LLC, which provides analytical data for the movie industry, collected box office sales from superhero movies released between 1995 and 2015. “The Avengers” released in 2012 produced top ticket sales with $623,383,136. “The Dark Knight” released in 2008 received second most with $533,345,358.

Ortiz said while the superhero movie industry is booming, if filmmakers continue with cliché storybook endings, then audiences are going to lose interest.

“With superhero movies, in general, everything is the same,” said Ortiz. “They win in the end. That is kind of one of those things where you say, ‘of course, the good guy won again.’”

David Petroski, Ph.D., communications professor, disagreed with Ortiz with saying current films present a harsher side of superheroes that are extremely contrasted from older, more flamboyant representations.

“If you look at the comparison between the Superman that was Christopher Reeve and the newer one [Henry Cavill], the difference was a sense of grit. There was a moral dilemma where [Superman] kills Zod. That is a big turning point in terms of superhero cinema because Superman is the paradigm for all that is good.”

Petroski added if audiences can sense that filmmakers skimped on quality, the characters’ stories are weak, or storyline is fragile, then patrons will make it known after watching the movie.

“They are only going to last as far quality is upheld,” said Petroski. “When you look at the release of ‘Fantastic Four,’ it was an abysmal movie, partly stemming from a new director that was doing one of his first big budget films.”

Michael Bay, associate communications professor, added if filmmakers can overcome the challenge of presenting a world that is imaginary yet relatable, then they have provided the perfect mix.

“To imagine a world that is completely different from our own yet is still recognizable to us. I think that is the challenge of the superhero movie,” said Bay.  “Things are so fantastical, in order to connect, they still have to be representative of the lives we lead.”

Petroski said another quality superhero movies must possess is to provide a strong, captivating storyline.

“I want them to stay true to having a strong, compelling story,” said Petroski. “Marvel in particular has been able to sustain many movies that have compelling stories. I am encouraged that they are tapping into great storylines that have not been told yet. Like ‘Guardians of the Galaxy.’ I think that was a genius movie and part of that was discovering that this is a really cool story.”

Bay said a superpower these movies will always have is the ability to connect audiences to a simpler time—the ability to make them feel safe.

“Where you lived life and there was always someone looking out for you. I think when you are an adult you realize the world is not that way,” said Bay. “To temporarily go back into that place where, although bad things are happening, there is always that feeling of, ‘someone is fighting for me.’”

Photo Credit: marvelousRoland

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