Hollywood doesn't know how to make superhero films.
Sure, there have been some great superhero movies (Dark Knight, Punisher: Warzone, The Punisher, Ant-Man), but more often than not, fans can bank on them being a swing and a miss (The Amazing Spider-man, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, any Superman movie).
And sorry, but "it was OK" counts as a miss. These characters have been with us for most of our lives. They deserve better than "OK."
As a fan, when a superhero movie turns out bad, I feel a personal embarrassment. It's like in high school when your friend showed up to school wearing his dad's old sport coat and looked like a total ass. Somehow you felt the shame he should have felt.
Fact is, there's usually something that feels off (Topher Grace's Venom), forced (romance between Thor and Jane), or missing (anything interesting in Superman). We can blame it on studios being scared to try something new, a lack of understanding of the source material, or Sam Raimi. Either way, it's a problem that isn't going away, as is evident by the terrible new Fantastic Four (That's 4 bad Fantastic Four movies!)
There's just too much on the line for these movies to be bad.
If the studios would follow my advice below, we could have some perfect superhero movies, instead of future $5 DVDs at Target.
Skip the origin story
We don’t need to see Spiderman's origin again. Or again. Or again.
An origin story serves two purposes:
1) To show how the hero got his/her power.
2) To show how life was/could have been without the power.
You don't need 45 minutes of backstory to accomplish either of those. It can be accomplished through a flashback or through great dialogue. Audience's unfamiliar with the character's backstory will piece it together, you know, just like how normal movies do with character backstories?
Treat your audience like poets and they’ll become poets.
For major heroes, audiences don’t even need the backstory. Especially after the third or fourth iteration!
Unless there’s a really unique origin story, or a character audiences don’t know, who cares? Even then, I’d prefer to get right into it and learn more about the character by their actions, not by spending 45 minutes on what happened to them.
Get to the action
Start with an action scene. Period. This is why the pilot episode of Daredevil was awful (yes, the rest of the series is good. I get it. Terrible pilot though).
When it comes to superheroes, let’s not get it twisted. We want to see their powers in action, and we want to see them quick. Punisher Warzone is the best example of this. The first sequence has Punisher going full-Punisher on a gang, giving you exactly what you want to see from a Punisher movie. The villain can even have a great action scene, like Joker's heist in Dark Knight.
Yes, some of Hollywood's finest films don't start with an action scene, and ultimately we want superhero movies to elevate to the highest standard of cinema, but a great opening see shows the protagonist at their most heightened state of normal. For heroes, that means a fight.
A movie about the Hulk will never be Citizen Kane, because Citizen Kane didn’t have a giant green monster in it.
Pick one major villain, that’s it.
And for god's sake, make it a good one
Superhero movies tend to have too many villains, causing one, or both of these two problems:
1)The focus splits between all the villains, lessening the stakes (Spiderman 3)
2) A villain who could have been great as a lead, is nerfed so they can play a smaller henchmen role, taking away from what could have been a great character (Sabretooth in X-Men )
That's not to mention that it completely ruins any hope of using the villain in the near future. Sam Raimi butchered Venom, now I'm sure we won't see him in any Spiderman movies anytime soon.
Generally, there should be one major villain and one major henchmen who the hero can beat on his way to the major villain.
If you have some examples of where this wouldn't work, let me know in the comments.
Forget Hollywood Tropes, remember Comic Book Canon
Serve the story you're telling instead of molding the story to fit into a Hollywood mold.
We don’t need a love interest 25 minutes in, unless the comic book calls for it.
We don't need the newest Maroon 5 song.
We don't need a scene featuring the newest craze like parkour, MMA, or freestyling.
Every superhero has their own story to tell, and they don't always fit into the common Hollywood tropes, so don't force them.
Give us exactly what we want to see. Give us canon.
Super hero movies need to be made by people who love and respect the canon. When that happens, we get good movies. Although my suggestions are generalities, but they can serve the canon of any story.
So, what do you say fanboys and fangirls? Can you think of some great super hero movies that defy what I've said in this article? Let me know in the comments.