Superhero movies are all the rage right now and have been box office gold for about a decade. The same can’t be said of previous attempts, and there are certainly some superhero films that would love to be torched by disgruntled fans who expect so much more than they got.
It’s a matter of semantics that a superhero film can only be considered successful if it lives up to the idea of what a superhero is – awesome. Extraordinary. This, it seems, is the pitfall of so many attempts at film.
For the casual fan looking to get a little more out of the superhero genre, it’s important to know what to look for in a film of this nature. Here are five must-haves for a great superhero movie:
1. Pay attention to the source material — This is and always will be the number one rule for a caped crusader type movie. These stories largely began as comics, and comic fandom is fandom at its most intense. These guys know the story inside out, know the origin stories of everyone involved in the plot, and are quick to jump in on any mistakes or creative touches a film studio might want to add.
2. There must be a tragedy – We live in a world where it seems everything must have a happy ending. The fact is, most superhero plots involve death, deception, lost love, and the occasional rebellion between the heroes and the “normies” they deem inappropriate. From these difficult times, a hero emerges triumphant.
3. A little humor needs to be…something – This is tricky, but in the end, when an audience just watches a masked crime fighter holding court “at the improvisation” while beating up bad guys, the shtick gets a little old fast . Yes, there’s an element of humor that provides moments of catharsis, but a writing team needs to know when to throw in a laugh.
4. The Casting Must Be Well Done – To revisit the idea that there is a hardcore group of fans who know the story of the hero in question well, they also have an idea of what they think the characters are all like like to look too. Sure, a comic might only fit a small cell for that, but the person being cast for a role has to feel right.
5. Characters need to have a human element – Even if we’re talking about superhuman characters with superpowers, a movie audience needs to relate to the plight of the hero, as well as all of the other characters. Whether it’s a villain or a love interest, audiences want to feel invested in a story that carries weight. Other than that, it’s just loads of on-screen action for no reason at all.