ByTom Somerfield, writer at
A UK-based teen looking for the next good bad joke and an excuse to nerd out. This is me in my spare time.
Tom Somerfield

The superhero genre of film is booming right now - no doubt about it. If you mention Iron Man to pretty much anyone, they're sure to tell you he's the coolest guy they've ever seen. Isn't that right, Robert?

What I'm saying is, no matter where you've been these past seven or so years, you're bound to have at least glanced Thor shooting lightning around the place or The Hulk smashing through a wall. Needless to say, their movies have not only been a success, but inspired millions of people (much like myself) to become part of a larger superhero fandom, and maybe even occasionally spew their thoughts onto the net. Gotta love what inspiration does for you.

However, despite its success initially, critics have recently been hailing the superhero section of the movie industry as the current "trend", and that it will fall out of style much like spaghetti westerns did way back in the day.


However, I would first like to tell these critics that they're wrong (Deadpool for life), and secondly tell them that they have missed a key characteristic of this wonderful genre of film. Whereas westerns were very much limited to, uh, being in the west - superhero movies have a numerous amount of paths that they could take from here on out.

I'm sure it does.
I'm sure it does.

A route which is seemingly the go-to for our beloved super-humans is the metaphorically darker one. We're seeing gorier and more emotionally connecting material each time a new release hits the screen. Whether you've noticed it or not - these comic-based reels have slowly been evolving into more adult pieces of cinema right before your eyes.

The first piece of evidence for this transformation has been the increasing reliance on in-depth storytelling. Films like Iron Man 3 and Captain America: The Winter Soldier really delved deep into the emotions of the characters. A big reason as to why is because as our heroes become more regular on-screen, we get to know them more, and sometimes that shallow villain-vs-good guy script won't cut it for fans who've seen it happen too much already. You can't expect to keep being fed the same story over and over and be satisfied, can you?

A big way of identifying this is the much more personal approach these popular films are now taking - we've seen the Hulk wrestle with his inner demons and nearly destroy an innocent city in Avengers: Age of Ultron, and we saw Iron Man himself create a robot that nearly drove mankind into extinction. As time goes by, we're seeing much less physical wrestling, and much more of the emotional kind.

Marvel's Captain America: Civil War is the next big installment in the MCU (releasing May 5, 2016), and it will take its main plot from the graphic novel of the same name. If you're a reader of Marvel as well as a watcher, you'll know that Civil War is one of the toughest experiences many characters have ever had to go through. Not because their world was under threat, not at all. Instead, it's because their friends were.

The amount of "feels" we're set to experience in that film will certainly outdo many other superhero movies, and introduce a much more serious tone that will appeal almost equally to different audiences - as much to adults worldwide, as it does to kids and teenagers. Personally, I wouldn't be surprised if Marvel decided to stick to the more adult side of things after this major blockbuster releases. Heck, the next film after that is Black Panther, and he's certainly not the cheeriest of fellas.

On the other side of the story, a whole new franchise that is the DCEU is about to be set in motion with its second and third installations, Suicide Squad and Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. You don't have to be a genius to figure out that those reels aren't going to be entirely focused on rainbows & lollipops.

See what I mean?
See what I mean?

We already know we're going to be seeing an "older, more brutal" Batman and a somewhat "unaware" Superman. The Suicide Squad will (pretty obviously) contain a bunch of deranged psychopaths, including the potentially darkest character known in comic book history - The Joker.

Nice ink...
Nice ink...

As well as the more serious tone the world of superheroes is slowly taking, we're also depending much more on adult themes such as sex and violence. Marvel's Daredevil series certainly was a whole new side to the usually joyful MCU, and, as I've said, new characters like "brutal" Batman and The Joker will certainly be cracking a few skulls on the DC side of things.

It's been confirmed that Marvel's upcoming series A.K.A. Jessica Jones will feature the infamous Luke Cage/Jessie Jones sex scene, and will deal with brutal problems like alcoholism, sexuality and mental health over the course of its thirteen episodes.

So it's pretty obvious that what all was set in motion way back in 2008 is slowly changing the way it rolls along. We're going to see more violence, more serious issues, and certainly much more adult themes. But hey, what do you guys think? Is the superhero genre slowly becoming a darker place? Do you like the fact that it is? Leave your thoughts in the comments - or take the poll!

Until next time, guys :)


Is the superhero genre evolving into a darker category of film?


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