Here at Heroic Hollywood, our passion for the greatest heroes found in the big and small screen knows no boundaries. It is a weird thinking back to the late 1990’s and early 2000’s where the superhero craze had only just begun, but little did we know at the time that we would be graced with more of these films and television shows featuring these colorful characters whether they are heroic, villainous, or in between.
Many fans may argue on which specific film kickstarted the renaissance, but if you were to ask me, Batman Begins played an integral role into shaping the genre as we know it today. Granted, this was before Iron Man, which kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe – a franchise which would influence Hollywood itself, but in terms of how these types of films can be taken seriously, it was Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy that helped bring us to places that other films haven’t gone before.
Flash forward to 2016, and now we have three major comic book cinematic universes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the DC Extended Universe, and 20th Century Fox’s Marvel Mutant franchise. If you were to ask a random fan, he/she would argue that there has never been a better time to be a comic book fan, with even the most obscure properties such as Guardians of the Galaxy and Suicide Squad receive film adaptations.
However, even though many actors are lining up to hop onto the bandwagon, an actor who had his experience with the genre doesn’t seem all that impressed with the current state of it. Actor Cillian Murphy who portrayed Scarecrow in all three Dark Knight films was interviewed by Vulture, in which he expressed his feelings towards modern comic book films post-Dark Knight.
Have they exhausted every single comic book ever? I don’t know where they’re coming from anymore.
It was a different time back when we made Batman Begins. I think that Chris [Nolan] has to take credit for making that trilogy of films. I think they’re so grounded in a relatable reality. Nobody in those films ever had a superpower. Do you know what I mean? It’s a slightly heightened level of storytelling, where New York is Gotham, and no one did anything magical. Batman in his movies just did a lot of pushups and was, like, British. So that’s what I loved about them.
I respectfully disagree with Murphy’s sentiments. Even as someone who adores Christopher Nolan’s Batman films, I contend that they served their purpose wondrously as an interpretation of the caped crusader within a real-world context. Even though I still believe that there is a place for realistic comic book movies, one of the most important things about these stories is how the fantastical elements still feature relatable situations and human characters. Only in these cases, the characters have special abilities and are facing extraordinary circumstances bigger then themselves.
And if you were to ask me, these types of stories are reasons enough to why we keep returning to them in the first place. Audiences want to see themselves in these superheroes because they epitomize one of the most innately human desires: the desire to accomplish incredible things despite adversity. Sure, these stories are archetypical, but honestly – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.