Superhero film

From ArticleWorld

One of the most popular types of film is the superhero film. These tend to have an individual in the central role who lives a double life, switching from Average Joe to someone with special powers when they are required to save a life or, in some cases, the planet.

On occasion the films can feature a group of superheroes, a good example of which being the characters in the X-Men trilogy. These characters are also unusual in that they do not have two identities but live in their superhero personas permanently. Many, but not all, superhero films have been adapted from comic book characters, and the films tend to fit into both the action and sci-fi genres equally.


Comic books containing superheroes became popular with children in the 1940s, and almost immediately a number of film versions were made to be shown to children on Saturday morning television. These were highly enjoyable and well received but were only aimed at a younger audience and were short episodes rather than full length feature films.

The first example of this was 1978s Superman, which was released well after the success of the comic books had begun to wane. The popularity of this film encouraged others and the Batman series of films were launched in 1989. The first three were highly successful but the fourth was a box office flop and was poorly received by the critics. This was one of a number of factors which saw superhero films begin to disappear, the studios were nervous and felt the public had grown tired of them.

It wasn’t until 2000 that the next major comic book adaptation, the aforementioned X-Men, was released. This was a huge success and was swiftly followed by the record breaking Spiderman in 2002. Since then the floodgates have opened and any superhero who is anybody has had a film made about their exploits.


While these films continue to make money they will continue to be made. However not everyone is happy about it, with critics suggesting that Hollywood has taken an idea and run with it and is making no attempts to try something new or original. Less popular comic book stories are being made into films and there seems no end to the phenomenon at present.

Due to the nature of the films sequels are almost always possible and, indeed, hinted at. Not happy with merely churning out new characters and episodes in a series, filmmakers are now revisiting characters, with the new Superman Returns film awaiting release later this year. Many see this as a controversial move and feel that no-one could play the part as well as the original actor, Christopher Reeve.