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Superhero Movies

Super hero movies

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Superhero Movies

  1. 1. Superheroes© Hollywood’s Love affair with Super-heroes
  2. 2. Superman: The First Superhero  1938  Detective Comics (DC)  Metropolis (not Gotham)  Nietzsche & The Nazis  Ubermensch  Refugee gratitude  Small Town Values  Anti Corruption  Altruistic  Justice  Dilemma: How much to interfere
  3. 3. Batman: Masked Avenger  1939  Detective Comics (DC)  Reworking of ‘The Shadow’  Gotham not Metropolis  No Superpowers  Sublimated Revenge  Dilemma: How to ethically use Fear & Force
  4. 4. Like any genre, the Superhero genre changes as the times change:  Early adaptations to television were much less violent than their comic book equivalents. For example, the “Justice League of America” became “Super Friends.” By the 1990’s television adaptations such as Fox’s Batman was more dark, complicated and geared towards older audiences as well.  Early televisions adaptations of Batman and Superman featured superheroes who looked like men with plain, ordinary bodies in brightly colored tights. Later adaptations, such as the Batman movies of the 1990s, featured a muscular character dressed in a darker costume and environment.  In recent years, film adaptations such as The Hulk and Spiderman have tried to incorporate more elements of the comic book into the movie. Technological advances have helped spur these efforts. Changes over time: Zeitgeist
  5. 5. Early Serials  Cartoon Superman  Superman Story 1  Superman Story 2  Batman  Superman(Live Action)
  6. 6. ‘60s/70s TV  Green Hornet  Batman  Hulk  Wonder Woman
  7. 7. Superman: 1978  National Crisis  Nostalgia  NY in Crisis  Mario Puzo  Two film story  Blockbuster  Post- Star wars Scifi Boom  Franchise  Utopian/Fantasy  ‘Conservative’ Critique  Oscars
  8. 8. Superman Years: 1978-87 Film Year Gross Publisher Studio Superman 1978 $300 m DC Warner Superman 2 1980 $108 m DC Warner Superman 3 1983 $60 m DC Warner Supergirl 1984 $14 m DC Warner Superman 4 1987 $15 m DC Warner 2 ‘Hits’
  9. 9. Batman: 1989  Economic Boom  NY resurgent  ‘The Dark Knight’  ‘Killing Joke’  Popular Culture  Cyber-Punk Scifi  Tech Noir  Dystopia  ‘Liberal’ Critique  Auteur Director
  10. 10. The ‘90s: Dark Heroes
  11. 11. The ‘90s: Dark Heroes 1989 Batman DC Comics Warner Bros. $411,348,924 1989 The Punisher Marvel Comics Artisan 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mirage Studios New Line Cinema $201,965,915 1990 Dick Tracy Tribune Media Services Touchstone Pictures $162,738,726 1990 Darkman Original Universal Studios $48,878,502 1990 Captain America Marvel Comics 21st Century Film Corporation $675.437.000 1991 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Mirage Studios New Line Cinema $78,656,813 1991 The Rocketeer Pacific Comics Walt Disney Pictures $46,704,056 1992 Batman Returns DC Comics Warner Bros. $266,822,354 1993 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III Mirage Studios New Line Cinema $42,273,609
  12. 12. The ‘90s: Dark Heroes 1993 The Meteor Man Original Metro-Goldwyn- Mayer $8,023,147 1994 The Fantastic Four Marvel Comics Constantin Film 1994 The Shadow Street and Smith Publications Universal Studios $48,063,435 1994 The Mask Dark Horse Comics New Line Cinema $351,583,407 1995 Batman Forever DC Comics Warner Bros. $336,529,144 1995 Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Original 20th Century Fox $66,433,194 1995 Darkman II: Original Universal Studios Direct-to-video 1996 The Phantom Various Paramount Pictures $17,323,326 1996 Darkman III: Original Universal Studios Direct-to-video 1997 Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie Original 20th Century Fox $9,615,840
  13. 13. The ‘90s: Dark Heroes 1997 Batman & Robin DC Comics Warner Bros. $238,207,122 1997 Spawn Image Comics New Line Cinema $87,840,042 1997 Steel DC Comics Warner Bros. $1,710,972 1998 Blade Marvel Comics New Line Cinema $131,183,530 1999 Mystery Men Dark Horse Comics Universal Pictures $33,461,011 19 ‘Hits’
  14. 14. The ‘00s: Mutant Heroes  Marvel strikes back  Genetics  Outsiders  Batman begins  ‘Vanilla Reboots’  Franchise rush (LOTR)  Superman returns
  15. 15. The ‘00s: Mutant Heroes 2000 X-Men Marvel Comics 20th Century Fox $296,339,527 2000 The Specials Original Regent Entertainment $13,276 Comedy film 2000 Unbreakable Original Touchstone Pictures $248,118,121 Psychological thriller 2002 Blade II Marvel Comics New Line Cinema $155,010,032 1998's sequel 2002 Spider-Man Marvel Comics Columbia Pictures $821,708,551 2003 Daredevil Marvel Comics 20th Century Fox $179,179,718 2003 X2: Marvel Comics 20th Century Fox $407,711,549 2000's sequel 2003 Hulk Marvel Comics Universal Studios $245,360,480 2003 The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen WildStorm/DC Comics 20th Century Fox $179,265,204 2004 Hellboy Dark Horse Comics Columbia Pictures $99,318,987 2004 The Punisher Marvel Comics Lionsgate $54,700,105
  16. 16. The ‘00s:Reboots 2004 Spider-Man 2 Marvel Comics Columbia Pictures $783,766,341 2004 Catwoman DC Comics Warner Bros. $82,102,379 2004 Blade: Trinity Marvel Comics New Line Cinema $128,905,366 2005 Elektra Marvel Comics 20th Century Fox $56,681,566 2005 Son of the Mask Dark Horse Comics New Line Cinema $57,552,641 2005 Sharkboy and Lavagirl Original Columbia Pictures $69,425,966 2005 Batman Begins DC Comics Warner Bros. $372,710,015 2005 Fantastic Four Marvel Comics 20th Century Fox $330,579,719 2005 Sky High Original Walt Disney Pictures $86,369,815 2006 X-Men: The Last Stand Marvel Comics 20th Century Fox $459,359,555
  17. 17. The ‘00s: Finales 2006 X-Men: The Last Stand Marvel Comics 20th Century Fox $459,359,555 2006 Superman Returns DC Comics Warner Bros. $391,081,192 2007 Ghost Rider Marvel Comics Columbia Pictures $228,738,393 2007 Spider-Man 3 Marvel Comics Columbia Pictures $890,871,626 2007 Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer Marvel Comics 20th Century Fox $289,047,763 2007 Underdog Various Walt Disney Pictures $65,270,477 2008 Superhero Movie Original Metro-Goldwyn- Mayer $71,237,351
  18. 18. The ‘00s: New Ambition 2008 Iron Man Marvel Comics Paramount Pictures $585,174,222 2008 The Incredible Hulk Marvel Comics Universal Studios $263,427,551 2008 Hancock Original Columbia Pictures $624,386,746 2008 Hellboy II: The Golden Army Dark Horse Comics Universal Studios $160,388,063 2008 The Dark Knight DC Comics Warner Bros. $1,001,921,825 2008 Punisher: War Zone Marvel Comics Lionsgate $10,100,036 2008 The Spirit DC Comics Lionsgate $39,031,337 2009 Watchmen DC Comics Warner Bros. $185,258,983 2009 X-Men Origins: Wolverine Marvel Comics 20th Century Fox $373,062,864 37 ’Hits’
  19. 19. The ‘10s: The Avengers cash in  Marvel’s ambitions  Batman
  20. 20. The ‘10s: The Avengers 2010 Kick-Ass Icon Comics/Marve Comics Lionsgate $96,100,206 2010 Iron Man 2 Marvel Comics Paramount Pictures $621,751,919 2010 Jonah Hex DC Comics Warner Bros. $10,876,396 2011 The Green Hornet Holyoke Publishing/NOW Comics Columbia Pictures $227,478,580 2011 Thor Marvel Comics Paramount Pictures $431,600,000 2011 X-Men: First Class Marvel Comics 20th Century Fox $348,529,513 2011 Green Lantern DC Comics Warner Bros. $154,501,789 2011 Captain America: The First Avenger Marvel Comics Paramount $365,935.065 2012 Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance Marvel Comics Columbia Pictures 2012 The Avengers Marvel Comics Walt Disney Pictures
  21. 21. The ‘10s: DC strikes back? 2012 The Amazing Spider-Man Marvel Comics Columbia Pictures 2012 The Dark Knight Rises DC Comics Warner Bros. 2013 Man of Steel DC Comics Warner Bros. 2014 Guardians of the Galaxy Marvel Comics 2015 Ant Man Fantastic Four Marvel Comics 2015 Batman v Superman DC 2016 Suicide Squad DC 2017 Wonderwoman Justice League DC
  22. 22. Themes  Good & Evil  The Hero’s Journey  Archetypes  ((Hyper)Masculinity  Femininity?  Difference  American Identity  Ethnicity  Crime/Social order  The Cold War  Terrorism post 9/11  US Foreign policy  Capitalism  Ecology
  23. 23. Themes: Good & Evil  Binary Opposition  Levi Strauss’s Theory  ‘Anomalous Zone’  The Hero Myth (doing ‘Evil’ for ‘Good’ ends)  The ‘Villain’ (representing ‘Elemental Evil’)
  24. 24. Themes: The Hero’s Journey
  25. 25. Spiderman: Teen Hero  1962  Marvel (Stan Lee)  Teenager  Radioactive mutation  Dilemma: How to balance the Mission with Personal Relationships
  26. 26. Hell Boy: Anti Hero  1993  Dark Horse (Indy)  Mike Mignolia  ‘Occult’/Conspiracy  ‘The Beast’  Dilemma: How to remain hidden
  27. 27. X-men: Team No 1  1963  Marvel (Stan Lee & Jack Kirby  Mutants  Fantastic Four (1961)Avengers (1963)  Dilemma: How to serve a Society that fears difference
  28. 28. Themes: Propp’s Archetypes  The Hero/Protagonist, who departs on a search (seeker- hero), reacts to the donor and weds at end  Antagonist the villain, who struggles with the hero  The Donor, who prepares and/or provides hero with magical agent  The Helper, who assists, rescues, solves and/or transfigures the hero  The Princess, a sought-for person (and/or her father), who exists as a goal and often recognizes and marries hero and/or punishes villain  The Dispatcher, who sends the hero off  The False Hero (or antihero or usurper), who claims to be the hero, often seeking and reacting like a real hero (ie by trying to marry the princess)
  29. 29. X-men: Politics  the isolation of mutants and their alienation from ‘‘normal’’ society could be read as ‘‘a parable of the “alienation of any minority’’ in the 1960s.  Professor Xavier and his X-Men, who sought accommodation with homo sapiens, recalled moderate elements of the civil rights movement of the 1960s as exemplified by Martin Luther King.  Militant mutants such as Magneto … who ‘‘disdained to cooperate with homo sapiens’’ resembled increasingly radical elements. These included the Nation of Islam (or ‘‘Black Muslims’’) whose best-known spokesperson, Malcolm X, advocated black nationalism. JOHN M. TRUSHELL (2004)
  30. 30. Batman v Superman  Frank Miller’s ‘Dark Knight.’  “a dionysian figure, a force for anarchy that imposes an individual order. Dressed as a bat, Batman deliberately cultivates a frightening persona in order to aid him in crime-fighting, a fear that originates from the criminals’ own guilty conscience.”
  31. 31. Social & Historical Context Messages & Values Genre Conventions Narrative
  32. 32. Superman: Conservative?  In Superman we have a perfect example of civic consciousness, completely split from political consciousness. Superman's civic attitude is perfect, but it is exercised and structured in the sphere of a small, closed community  the underworld is an endemic evil, like some kind of impure stream that pervades the course of human history, clearly divided into zones of Manichaean incontrovertibility-where each authority is fundamentally pure and good and where each wicked man is rotten to the core without hope of redemption. The Myth of Superman Umberto Eco
  33. 33. The genre’s thematic and moral discourse, which supports the action and conflict, may include:  the possibility of transformation beyond what most of us are capable of;  endowment with extraordinary powers, including a sometimes fatal weakness which prevents hubris;  a story establishing a myth of origins, legitimizing the exercise of one’s powers;  unavoidable dilemmas wherein the hero must choose between a normal life and the heroic role;  tensions between reality’s complexities and a comics vision that is usually black-and-white, good-and-evil;  facing the injunction that “with great power comes great responsibility,” which poses questions about the extent of one’s power and one’s responsibilities;  living the phenomenon of the misunderstood outsider, sometimes driven by a passion to better the world;  the necessity of lies, secrecy, secret or dual identities, costumes, significant symbols, to make the heroic role easier to realize and an occasionally “normal” life possible. Themes & Values
  34. 34. Superhero stories often make similar assumptions about the nature of our world. Here are two examples of the types of assumptions they make: Assumptions about the Nature of our Problems:  Our fate is in the hands of a single, heroic individual.  We lack supernatural powers, so we cannot solve our own problems.  Women, in particular, are weak and require saving by the superhero. Assumptions about Morality:  Everyone – even superheroes – have to obey moral rules and responsibilities.  Although some rules can be violated (lying about identity) in pursuit of higher morals (saving the planet).  Some people, like the villains, are pure evil.  Physical confrontation is the only way to deal with such villains. Assumptions about the World
  35. 35. Themes& Values: Gender  ‘Hyper-masculine’ heroes  Unsuitable Bachelor alter-ego (Playboys or ‘Dweebs’)  Women ‘good’ or ‘bad’ girls  ‘Impossible’ relationships  Girls in Peril (&/or Dead)  Dead Father figures with strong morals  Widowed Mother Figures with strong emotions  ‘Gay’? (Wertham’s ‘Seduction of the Innocent’)
  36. 36. Themes & Values: Difference  ‘Immigrants’ (reflecting Siegel & Schuster’s experience?)  Outsiders (Teenage alienation?)  Social Class Division (reflecting ‘American Dream’?)  Mutants & Aliens (metaphors for alienation?)  Alienation (Psychological difference)  Concealed Identity (‘Anomie’? Lack of social approbation?)  Concealed ‘Powers’ (Physical difference?)
  37. 37. Super Powers  Supernatural  Extra-terrestrial  Science Fiction ‘Magic’  Technological  Training
  38. 38. Themes/Values: US Identity  Immigrant Identity  Second World War  The Cold War (Secret Agents?)  US Foreign policy (Iron Man /Watchman)  ‘Simple’ Patriotism (Truth, Justice & The American way)  Ethnicity (Bruce Wayne as WASP?)  Terrorism post 9/11(Joker?)
  39. 39. Themes/Values: Crime & Disorder  Binary Opposition (Levi Strauss’s Theory)  The‘Anomalous Zone’  The Hero Myth (doing ‘Evil’ for ‘Good’ ends)  The ‘Villain’ (representing ‘Elemental Evil’)  Masked Super villains  Side-kicks  The ‘Underworld’ (Criminal Class)  Gangs  ‘Ethnic’ Gangsters  Corrupt Politicians  New York
  40. 40. Genre: Repertoire of elements  Narrative: Story & Plot  Setting: Time& Place  Characters  Stars  Visual Style  Iconography  Themes
  41. 41. The Genre as Narrative Spectacle (Set Pieces, Jeopardy, Revealing powers/abilities) Plot (Foiling Super Villain’s plan) Story (maintaining secret Identity and managing personal relationships) Character (Idealism versus Evil & Cynicism)
  42. 42. Genre: Repertoire of elements Setting: Time& Place  New York/Big Cities/The Metropolis  Small Towns  Domestic  Work place
  43. 43. Genre: Repertoire of elements Characters (Propp)  Super Villains (Antagonist/Nemesis)  Villains (Antagonists)  Mentors/Father Figures/ ‘Kings’  Romantic ‘Princesses’  Assistants  False Assistants
  44. 44. Super Villains & Antagonists  Mirror/Shadow  Nemesis  Mad Scientist  Madman/Anarchy/Misrule  World Dominator/Bad Mentor  Corrupt Politician  Organised Crime Boss  Temptress
  45. 45. Mentors, Allies & Side Kicks  Understudies  Faithful Servants  Girl in Peril/ Smart Girls  Mentors  Street Smarts  Techies  Chalk & Cheese ‘Buddies’
  46. 46. Genre: Repertoire of elements Stars  ‘Auteur’ Directors  NEW Action Hero Male Leads  Female Leads  ‘Guest’ Villains & Mentors
  47. 47. Genre: Repertoire of Elements Visual Style  Spectacular  Big screen spaces  High Production Values  Dystopian & Utopian iconography  Urban decay  Iconic Modern Architecture
  48. 48. Sub Genre: Scifi elements Iconography  Vehicles  Weapons  Gadgets  Screen technologies  AI & Robotics  Futuristic Cities
  49. 49. The Genre cycle (Schatz)  Naïve/Experimental  Classic  Revisionist/Refinement  Pastiche/Self Reflexive/Mannerist
  50. 50. The Genre cycle  Fast forward  Bust?  Big and Dumb?  Franchise fever  Multi-platform
  51. 51. The Genre as Narrative Spectacle Plot Story Character
  52. 52. PLOT ELEMENTS The Superhero genre’s plot-lines usually involve:  a normal person who becomes a hero, often with extraordinary powers;  a romantic interest rescued by and/or endangered by hero but seldom learning the truth;  a powerful villain planning to do evil but temporarily thwarted by the hero;  a hero forced to choose between extraordinary obligations and a need for love and a normal life  the villain learning the hero’s secret identity; and  forcing a decisive confrontation and the hero’s triumph.
  53. 53. Sub Genre: Scifi elements Iconography  Vehicles  Weapons  Screen technologies  AI & Robotics  Futuristic Cities
  54. 54. The Genre cycle (Schatz)  Naïve/Experimental  Classic  Revisionist/Refinement  Pastiche/Self Reflexive/Mannerist
  55. 55. The Genre cycle: Fast Forward 1. Naïve - The Origin Story 2. Classic - Meet the Nemesis 3. Revisionist- The Big Twist 4. Pastiche – Camp it up 5. Vanilla Reboot
  56. 56. The Genre cycle  Fast forward  Bust?  Big and Dumb?  Franchise fever  Multi-platform
  57. 57. The previous assumptions provide some insights into limitations of the genre:  It plays into our fascination with crime and evil  However, it offers no realistic messages about how to deal with our problems given that we don’t actually have supernatural powers.  For example, negotiation or compromise cannot solve the problems in the story. (Image if they could: you’d have characters with skills like “supernatural negotiation skills” – that would not fascinate or sell!)  It commonly perpetuates stereotypes about women and minorities.  Oversimplifies problems of crime and good vs. bad. Limitations of the genre:
  58. 58. TWISTS Of course, there are many variations to the generic superhero story :  Sympathetic Villains – (Villains in Spiderman)  “Normal Guy” superhero – Unbreakable  Women as superhero – Catwoman, Wonder Woman  Anti-heroes – The Punisher, Wolverine, Hellboy  Out-of-control Superhero: The Hulk

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