The superhero takeover

By Ivan Mateo

Superheroes dominated comic books and animated television shows in the 80s and 90s, but only recently have truly good superhero television shows and movies entered the foray.

In the 80s, “Super Friends” and “Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends” were on television. It’s funny that both popular shows in the 80s had “friends” in the title.

When I was a kid in the 90s, I remember waking up early morning to watch Saturday cartoon shows such as “X-Men,” “Spider-Man” and the excellent “Batman: The Animated Series.”

Today, there is “Young Justice,” “The Superhero Squad Show” and “The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.”

In each decade, the Batmans, Spider-Mans and Wolverines of the world have received a new show with some sort of spin.

In the live action superhero department, DC Entertainment has tried to play catch up with Marvel Entertainment. DC’s animated films have truly been on point, but their live action flicks leave a lot to be desired. The animated “Green Lantern: First Flight” trounces the live action “Green Lantern” by miles, in terms of quality and coherence. DC’s “Batman: Under the Red Hood” has to be one of my favorite origin stories.

There have been some terrible superhero movies besides “Green Lantern”: “Catwoman,” “Batman and Robin,” “Ghost Rider,” (both of them!) “Fantastic Four” (also both), and more. DC and Marvel definitely have a poor track record of superhero and heroine movies.

When Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy and the first Iron Man movie were released, audiences were finally delighted with quality films centered on superheroes.

Who would have thought that a band of misfits consisting of a green alien lady assassin, a hulking bald muscle head, a talking, gun-toting raccoon and a giant tree, who only speaks his name (“I am Groot!”) all led by the actor who plays Andy Dwyer on “Parks and Recreation” would be a success. “Guardians of the Galaxy” was a risky concept. But it didn’t matter, because the movie has made $700 million globally and was highly scored by both critics and audiences.

Marvel can pretty much make money off of anything nowadays. Seriously, a movie based on the superhero Ant-Man will be releasing next year, and they cast Paul Rudd to play him. A movie based on an ant superhero will probably still make zillions of dollars.

Earlier superhero shows like “Heroes” and “Smallville” started off very strong, but tapered off at the tail end of their respective runs.

Today, “Arrow” is incredibly successful because of its quick pacing and well-choreographed fight scenes. Reception to the show has been truly positive, so much so that even a spinoff television show called “Flash” spawned.

These superhero shows are all on different television networks. “Gotham” broadcasts on FOX, while “Arrow” and “Flash” are on The CW.

Marvel’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” which airs on ABC, has an exciting dynamic with the various movie franchises. Throughout the first season of “Shield,” audiences were treated with a mediocre procedural style television show up until “Captain America 2” was released, and then everything surrounding “Shield” changed drastically. Its tone and pacing completely changed, and ultimately improved the entire show.

There are new shows on the horizon for 2015 such as “Daredevil,” “Agent Carter,” “Luke Cage,” “Iron Fist” and more. While these shows will air on Netflix and may not be household names to the general public, they are still Marvel properties and Netflix has shown it houses good, popular shows: the hugely popular “Orange is the New Black” and “House of Cards.”

Robert Downey Jr. joining the cast of “Captain America 3” provides a massive hint to the direction Marvel wants to take their movies in. DC recently announced standalone movies for Wonder Woman, Aquaman and others.

Superheroes have come out in full force, and they are here to stay in the present and the coming future.


SungAh Choi / The Poly Post


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