Admit it: when you hear the name Mark Hamill, your thoughts immediately turn to Luke Skywalker whining about power converters or lowering the hood of a cape in the most dramatic way possible. However, as many of you already know, this iconic actor is also a respected behemoth of the #superhero genre. Among his roles in innumerable comic book adaptations, the #StarWars star has played the Trickster across two different TV adaptations of The Flash, and the Hobgoblin in the beloved '90s Spider-Man animated series. And who could ever forget his memorable turn voicing one of the most beloved iterations of the #Joker?
As such, Hamill is well-respected by comic book movie fans, and as a fan himself, he is well-placed to offer up his own opinions on the superhero movie landscape at large. And, given that he's a fan, his stance on the modern superhero movie industry may surprise you.
Mark Hamill Speaks Out About The Main Problem With Modern Superhero Movies
Speaking to USA Today on the red carpet at the Tony Awards, Mark Hamill was briefly asked how he felt about the current crop of caped crusader movies, to which he replied:
“I don’t know what’s going on with superhero movies. They’re fantastic, but I think we’re reaching a point of oversaturation...”
In a somewhat diplomatic move, Hamill shied away naming and shaming any particular movies and studios in his criticism of the genre. This is a welcome change from comments which look to stir up the ongoing Marvel/DC war. To some readers, Hamill’s concerns about the genre may seem somewhat familiar; certainly, Steven Spielberg expressed his misgivings about superheroes several years ago. More recently, Ice Cube has railed against the prevalence of tight-clad, tent pole releases and even director John Landis (who was a fan of Wonder Woman) expressed distaste with the #MCU in particular, stating that he is “bored shitless” by each “interchangeable” installment. Strong words indeed; yet no matter how you feel about these celebrities or which superhero studio you prefer, Hamill and his fellow critics do raise some valid points about the sustainability of the superhero movie genre.
As much as we ardently love watching our favorite characters duke it out and face increasingly formidable threats, there are only so many times that we can watch our beloved heroes save the world from impending doom before it grows stale. A trail-off of the superhero movie definitely seems like a possibility when we consider what’s heading our way; within the next decade over thirty superhero films will soar, swing and punch their way into cinemas, and that’s not even counting their many TV shows or installments from the lesser-known fledgling universes, such as Valiant Entertainment. Like so many trends before it, the reign of superheroes is another spring of success which Hollywood will continue to unrelentingly draw from until the well of money runs dry.
It’s not all doom and gloom though. In the same interview, Hamill shows his fanboy side by admitting that superhero movies are “fantastic” overall. More than that, he highlights an area where he feels superhero movies could be improved, thus continuing their reign as box office champs.
Setting Our Sights On The Story
According to Mark Hamill, the superhero movie makers are prioritizing the wrong things. Whether he’s referring to an overabundance of characters, the melee of special effects or the neat endings, it's hard to say. But he certainly feels that a back to basics approach is needed, especially where their narratives are concerned:
“...the gimmicks and all that, they can only take you so far…that’s why the story is so important.... That’s what I want, better stories.”
Let’s face it, some of the biggest critical disappointments of the last year or so (such as Suicide Squad and X-Men: Apocalypse) were guilty of having overstuffed and underdeveloped plots, where character arcs were squished to accommodate n abundance of narratives. Conversely, Wonder Woman, Logan, and Deadpool all met a rousing reception because they maintained a focus upon their respective stories and characters, and each of them promised to be something very different from what we’d seen before.
Thankfully, this looks set to continue. Indeed, Kevin Feige and co. are already aware that complacency isn't an option, and Feige has hinted that the MCU may undergo some sort of revamp post-Avengers: Infinity War to stop the rot setting in. In the meantime, each upcoming superhero movie seems to have a unique tone; they seem to know what they're about, and what they uniquely have to say. Spider-Man Homecoming is, by all accounts, a colorful high-school drama that just so happens to contain super powered people. As for Black Panther? Well, Black Panther will build a whole new side of the Marvel Universe, and give us our first plot laced with royal intrigue. The DCEU, meanwhile, will be giving us our first female ensemble superhero movie with Gotham City Sirens, and hopefully build on the success of Wonder Woman in Justice League. If their narratives are as strong as their visions, the future looks bright.
All in all, these comments from #MarkHamill are not an expression of distaste — merely an offering of sage advice to studio execs. There’s a lot that the men and women of Hollywood can learn from recent superhero hits, to ensure that the future of this film genre remains as fresh and relevant as ever. Aside from trusting directors, the best way for superheroes movie-makers to realize the potential of their property is for them to get their stories straight first. Then, and only then, will the Force be with them.
Do you agree with Mark Hamill about superhero movies?
(Source: USA Today)