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Poll: Will Superhero Films Go "The Way of the Western"?


Steven Spielberg recently made the comment below pertaining to superhero films.

“We were around when the Western died and there will be a time when the superhero movie goes the way of the Western,” Spielberg said. “It doesn’t mean there won’t be another occasion where the Western comes back and the superhero movie someday returns.”

What do you think? Explain your reasoning.

  • Yes
  • No
  • Maybe
  • Other

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I fall in the “Other” category. I think superhero films like other genres will be cyclical but will always have some presence. I think this is largely what Spielberg is hinting at. That superhero films are listed as a genre in the same breath as westerns is a huge win in my opinion though.


Of course. It’s a generational thing - Western movies were big because they were icons from their audiences childhoods.

The only thing is, that whatever the next thing is, Superheroes will be back. I’d say - if the boom started with Batman in 1989 - and then ramped up with Xmen in 2000, and exploded with the Marvel stuff with Iron Man and Avengers 2008-2012, then I’d expect it won’t be until 2022, a decade after Avengers, where audiences will stop accepting these films. And by 2030-35 the scripts will have tried up and the audiences will have moved on. We’ve still got a solid decade of decent films left, I reckon.


I don’t think that we really have any idea. The international market has changed everything, and the trends from the last century were all pretty USA-centric. Honestly, trying to forecast it feels like reading tea leaves. I think it’s exciting to be in such new territory, and I can’t wait to have traditional wisdom possibly upended.


That’s a very good point. International audiences are impossible to predic.


What Ronnie said. There will be ups and downs but I think the genre will always have a presence.


I think that it is going to be cyclical and this cycle will finish and something else will take it’s place. If you look at movie genres that have had a fair old run, think of something like the musical. The studios used to churn them out. Some were good. Some were terrible. Most of the big stars of the 30’s and 40’s did one (even the likes of Clark Gable). There were some really lavish musicals. They are still being made today, but they’re not where the studios are putting the bulk of their production budgets.

You could say the same thing about disaster movies, or sword and sandals epics.

That’s a very good point. When you see that Terminator Genysis is doing huge business in China, one imagines that the business model should change.


Westerns are more boring (I’ve never liked Westerns) :wink:


Even Spaghetti Westerns? You didn’t like The Good The Bad and the Ugly?


…or Django Unchained?!?


I think we’ve already seen small cycles. I think the 1989 Batman was one that kind of ended with Batman and Robin. There was also Superman: The Movie and at least the Batman TV series before it.


Yeah - there was the Spider-man stuff too, and George Reeves Superman before it. It’s always had cultural currency, but only now has it been a really big billion dollar industry.


They won’t be forever, but they are for the time being. And that’s pretty cool.


With regard to the Western, I would say that you could count the number of absolute masterpieces on your fingers (and maybe your toes as well), out of thousands of films made down through the years. When the dust settles, presumably the same will be true of superhero movies.


I’ve never seen it.

I did see and like Django Unchained. I’ve seen Blazing Saddles and The Magnificent Seven I can’t think of any more at the moment except for Bonanza on the TV which I didn’t like but we only had 3 channels in those days.

It’s a slightly irrational dislike of stuff set in arrid plains. It’s visually unappealing and makes me skip them for something else.


Friendly tip: you might want to avoid a movie called “Star Wars”. It picks up near the end, but you’ll hate the first third.


I’ve seen it, it opens on a space ship and soon moves to a bar in a city. :wink:

Seriously though it isn’t really a conscious thing. I did enjoy the ones I saw and Lawrence of Arabia after my dad made me watch it (he was a big David Lean fan after appearing as an extra in one of his films). I know that Eastwood’s westerns are highly acclaimed and will surely be good but just when given the choice of a few options as we invariably do nowadays I kind of skip them.


I don’t think so really, no.

Superhero movies have been taking off so immensely because it’s been time for it - they used to suck, compared to comics, because it was, for a very long time, too hard for movies to properly show the miracles that those characters can do.

Now that that has become possible, I’m guessing they’ll remain a presence. Not to the extent we have today - that tide will ebb - but I seriously doubt that they’ll ever go the way of the Western. It’ll be more like spy action movies - not every movie in this genre gets as big as Bond, or the MI series, but there’s a slow-but-steady stream of that kind of movie being made.


Like the western (and several other genres for that matter), I think we’ll also get elements of superhero movies in other genre’s going forward. For instance, Kill Bill 2 was very much a western in a lot of it’s sensibilities. It just wasn’t set in the Old West.


I’m not sure if people realise how many Westerns there were. Thousands. And thousands and thousands.

Hopalong Cassidy had sixty six sequels. Tom Mix made 291 movies. I mean, just ridiculous numbers.

We get less than a dozen super-hero films a year. To become as saturated as westerns were, they will have to be made for the next six hundred years.

“Superhero fatigue”. Ha! You kids have no idea :wink: