WHAT’S UP WITH ALL THESE SUPERHERO MOVIES?
Superheroes are coming to the big screen faster than a speeding bullet, and there’s no stopping them. Just how did it come to this?
If you feel like you can’t hit the cinema these days without seeing a superhero movie, you’re right. This year alone, we’re scheduled to have Deadpool, Batman v Superman, Captain America: Civil War, X-Men: Apocalypse, Suicide Squad, and Doctor Strange playing in the theaters — that’s six superhero movies in just one year!
And there are many more coming. The various studios involved have released timelines from now until 2020, and if everything works out, 27 more superhero movies will be coming in the next four years, which makes an average of six to seven movies a year. Not to mention all the spinoff superhero TV shows that are already on the air, or yet to come.
If you think this is all too much, you have one movie, and one post-credits cameo, to blame.
How a single post-credits scene changed everything
There have always been superhero movies and TV series. The list ranges from classic (if painful), like the campy Batman TV show from the 1960s, to forgettable (if beautiful), like Helen Slater as Supergirl in the 1984 movie, to landmark (if, well, Michael Keaton), like Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman movie.
And while movies in this century, like 2000’s X-Men, and 2005’s Batman Begins did well at the box office, it was really Iron Man that changed everything, in 2008. Until Iron Man, the movie studios had been content to take characters from comics, and run them as individual movies. While characters and cast might make a return in sequels, like in the X-Men movies, they never tied together across separate titles; Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins never even hinted at Superman’s existence, much less had him appear in a cameo.
Iron Man, though, introduced something that audiences take for granted today — the portentous post-credits ending scene. After the credits finish rolling on Iron Man, a mysterious Nick Fury suggestively asks Tony Stark if he thinks he’s the only hero in the world (hint), ominously tells Stark that he’s just became part of a bigger universe (hint, hint), then directly namedrops the “Avengers Initiative” on him (hint, hint, hint!).
Keep in mind that this is a full four years before the Avengers movie actually hits the screen. This years-long story arc is possible because of that universe Nick Fury talks about —