2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Superhero fatigue: Is the big screen becoming too cluttered?

Published: March 24, 2014, 11:05 am, by Bill Radford


With Marvel’s heroes split up among movie studios, it almost seems like there’ll be a new Marvel movie every week. But when — if ever — does it become too much?

Twentieth Century Fox, with a rebooted “Fantastic Four” scheduled in theaters for June 19, 2015, last week announced a release date of July 14, 2017, for a sequel. It also slated another “Wolverine” movie, for March 3, 2017, plus a mystery third Marvel film for July 13, 2018. (One theory is a Fantastic-Four/X-Men crossover.) That’s on top of “X:Men: Days of Future Past,” coming to theaters May 23, and “X:Men: Apocalypse,” planned for May 27, 2016.

Sony, meanwhile, has the rights to Spider-Man. “The Amazing Spider-Man 2″ swings into theaters on May 2, and Sony has announced plans to release a Spider-Man film every year as it focuses on other characters in Spidey’s world such as Venom.

Marvel Studios will release “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” on April 4 and already plans a third Captain America — for May 6, 2016, the same day Warner Bros. plans to release its Superman-Batman movie. Marvel Studios’ “Guardians of the Galaxy” arrives in theaters this summer. “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is set for May 1, 2015, followed a couple of months later by “Ant-Man.” Plans have been confirmed for a third Thor movie. And there’s a lot of speculation about which characters Marvel will mine next.

I am psyched about the Captain America movie coming next month; the buzz is quite strong. And I’m totally stoked about “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and “Avengers: Age of  Ultron,” though both have me worried about overcrowding castwise. I do not care at all about a Venom movie (or one focusing on the bad-guy group the Sinister Six), though I’m sure some Spider-Man fans might.

Certainly, superhero movies vary: “Ant-Man,” for example, will literally be worlds away from the space-faring “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Still, I wonder if audiences will weary of costumed heroes on the big screen. At the same time, I wish Warner Bros./DC Comics would actually pick up the pace. I have a lot of DC faves I’d like to see in movie form — as long as they can be at the same level of quality as Nolan’s Dark Knight movies and not, say, the disappointing Green Lantern movie.