There used to be a time when everyone in the world recognized action heroes. We had the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester "Sly" Stallone, Jackie Chan, Liam Neeson, Bruce Willis, Sigourney Weaver, Bruce Lee, Mel Gibson, Chuck Norris, and countless others. The box office was filled with big names who kicked ass and asked questions later. We had movies with huge explosions, loud gunfire, killer martial arts feats, daring rescues, and lots of blood. We used to live in a time when everybody knew who the coolest people in Hollywood were, it was the people who killed at the box office. But let's face it, the action heroes we all love are undoubtedly becoming too old to be the intimidating fighters they once were. Those films today still hold a special place in our hearts and will last for ever, however, have Action Heroes become a dying trend?
Action Movies Today
Throughout the 20th century we got hundreds upon hundreds of action flicks, many of which have become staples of the genre. However, in today's world, is there a market for action heroes? Let's take a look at the action movies that came out this year. There's been another Fast and Furious, The Man from U.N.C.L.E which was based off a hugely popular show from the 60's, Jurassic World, another Mission Impossible, another Terminator, and Hitman: Agent 47. What do all those films have in common? They're sequels; movies based off of super popular franchises that have made millions of dollars. However, aside from Jurassic World, not a single movie can stand up to the box office prowess that superhero movies wield.
Where are our new action heroes? Where are the icons of this new generation? Who will be remembered as well as Stallone, as well as Jackie Chan, as well as the countless other people that made a huge names for themselves? Can you think of a single non-superhero actor that is as instantly recognizable as an action star as the famous men and women before them? Perhaps Jeremy Renner and Matt Damon can hold that title, yet both men are already 44, where are the younger actors who can hold a candle to the immense fire? The simple answer is they're all wearing tights.
The Rule of Superheroes
It's no secret that everyone loves superheroes. Nobody can stop talking about Batman V Superman, Deadpool, Captain America Civil War, and the dozens of superhero movies we will be seeing in the next few years. It's true that at one point, there was no superhero genre, there were action films with superheroes. That idea is a thing of the past, nearly a decade ago the superhero industry had made such an huge impact that the superhero genre was a reality. Now we have superhero movies that feature action, comedy, romance, political thrillers, and much more. In the next few years, the superhero genre will continue to expand with aspects of horror, melodramas, fantasy, and possibly even musicals. In every corner of the market, superheroes are winning; millions flock to see the latest superhero flick and generally are overjoyed with shared geekiness. It's a wonderful time to be alive if you're a superhero fan, and yet this success has come at a great cost.
The Death of Action Films
The action films that came out this year were mostly met with mediocre reviews, nothing compared to the huge success of the superhero industry. The movies were rehashing the same tropes that made them so popular in the 20th century that at times it felt like we were missing something. The originality and creativity it took to create an epic action movie 20 or 30 years ago appears to be gone and instead, it's been replaced with reboots and remakes of successful properties. The action heroes of the past have been replaced with the superheroes of the future. Actors the like of Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Pratt, Henry Cavil, Christian Bale, Scarlett Johansson, and countless others have become immensely popular for their portrayals of iconic comic book characters.I firmly believe that it is due to the popularity of superhero movies, that we no longer have the thrilling action pictures that once graced our screens. Don't get me wrong I love superhero movies with a burning passion, yet I can't help but be saddened at the apparent lack of quality action films.
Perhaps we should all take a moment from celebrating the sheer awesomeness of the next few years of superhero films, and take a moment to mourn the loss of one of the greatest film genres of all time. In the 70's, 80's, and 90's it was hard to get a weekend without a new action movie coming out, and in the 2000's, the teen's, and the 20's it appears we won't get a weekend without the release of a new superhero movie. While I am nerd jumping in glee over the amount of superhero flicks coming, a small part of me is slowly dying as the action genre slowly fades from existence.
However, that doesn't mean we won't see our fair share of action! That action just happens to be a part of some of the greatest superhero movies of all time. In the next year we get to see Deadpool shoot a bunch of people while shouting profanity, we get to see Captain America and Iron Man go head to head, we get to see Batman and Superman beat the living daylights out of each other, we get to see Apocalypse completely dominate the X-Men, and hopefully we'll get to see plenty of explosions. The fact that Superheros have swallowed the very genre they stemmed from shouldn't be a source of pain, but rather, a source of pride.