Home > NewsRelease > Superhero Fatigue – It’s Not You, It’s The Storytelling
Superhero Fatigue – It’s Not You, It’s The Storytelling
David Blixt -- Shakespeare Expert, Author of Historical Fiction, David Blixt -- Shakespeare Expert, Author of Historical Fiction,
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Chicago, IL
Friday, April 12, 2024


I don’t like to join in bashing films. It’s not fun for me. I don’t enjoy being cynical about things I love, or want to love. That said, I want to make an observation about “superhero fatigue.”

It’s not that people are tired of superheroes. They’re tired of movies that don’t tell a complete story. And superhero films of late have been incomplete – by design.

This isn’t new. My least favorite Marvel film isn’t Dark World, it’s Iron Man 2. That film exists only to set up other characters (Captain America, Thor, and Black Widow). As a result, Tony’s own story was shortchanged. They could have gone for Demon In A Bottle, but there wasn’t room. The result is a car crash of a story. However, most of the films surrounding it told a coherent and complete story, and RDJ is awesome, so no one really cared.

Then came the Snyderverse, which tried to speed-run characters to get to Darkseid and the Justice League. We got two complete films – MOS and WW – but the rest are a murky hodgepodge of story beats without heart. Because Snyder really wanted to make an Injustice movie, where Superman breaks bad and Batman is leading the resistance. So he wasn’t interested in the story he was telling. Result – bad movies. Even when he stepped away, all anyone wanted to do was tease us with promises of better movies. Black Adam was nothing but a massive tease to another film we’ll never get where Superman fights Black Adam.

The trouble with most of the Sony live-action Spidey-adjacent films is they exist only to set up future films no one will ever see. Madame Web could have been something, but its entire premise was based on “someday these characters will matter.” But in truth, the current MCU is doing the exact same thing.

In retrospect, it’s amazing we got Endgame. It so easily could have been a disaster. But it was magical. And, like always, Hollywood execs took the wrong lessons. No, people don’t want McGuffins and interconnectivity. Those are just the setups for characters interacting. People want to care about characters. And since Endgame, we largely haven’t. Because our main characters are too busy setting up “what comes next.” And that’s not Kang. It’s the Young Avengers and Thunderbolts. We’ve swapped Infinity Stones for young people who will be important – someday.

Let’s look at recent plots:

Black Widow: Natasha must protect her amazing younger sister, her own journey already determined.
Multiverse of Madness: Strange must protect an amazing young person from danger, his own journey being secondary.
Wakanda Forever: Shuri must protect an amazing young person, her own journey being secondary.
Quantamania: Scott must protect his amazing young daughter, his own journey being secondary.
The Marvels: Captain Marvel and Photon must protect an amazing young person, their own journeys being secondary.
So our heroes didn’t have fulfilling stories, but we were promised that all this will matter – someday.

Some movies didn’t follow this formula. Shang-Chi told a great, complete story (didn’t love the CGI fest at the end, but still, awesome). No Way Home told a great, heartbreaking story with real stakes and surprises. Eternals was a slog, again more interested in setting up than doing. And Love And Thunder watered down a terrific tale for humor, but still managed some good moments (you could argue that Love falls into the setup category, but the film focused mostly on Thor and Jane, rightly). And Guardians was always its own thing.

Meanwhile, the Marvel shows are mostly being used to set up a new slate of heroes. Wandavision (wonderful) gives us Billy and Tommy. FATWS gives us Eli Bradley and Falcon’s replacement, along with US Agent. Hawkeye gives us Kate Bishop. Ms Marvel naturally gave us her, though she was better than the plot. Same goes for She-Hulk, who needed more law in her legal parody. Moon Knight and Loki, alongside WV, were the only ones that told a story without the desperate need to set up what comes next.

All this is to say, if you’re not enjoying comic book movies today, it’s not that you’re tired of superheroes. It’s because they’re not crafting complete stories. They’ve embraced the serial nature of comic books too much, and so nothing is allowed to finish. You feel dissatisfied because they keep teasing you with better stories at some distant future day, thereby watering down your enjoyment today.

To the makers of these films, I’d say, “Make the movie you’re making. Make it the best it can be. Then leave the door open at the end for the next artist.”

A good reminder for all writers. Tell the story you’re telling.

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Scott Lorenz
Group: Westwind Book Marketing
Dateline: Plymouth, MI United States
Direct Phone: 734-667-2098
Jump To David Blixt -- Shakespeare Expert, Author of Historical Fiction, Jump To David Blixt -- Shakespeare Expert, Author of Historical Fiction,
Contact Click to Contact