Spielberg Compares Superhero Craze to Death of the Western
Steven Spielberg’s impression on Hollywood trends are nothing to scoff at. The man has been making great, cultural touchstone movies since at least Jaws in 1975. Nonetheless it could be a little discouraging to hear that he expects Hollywood’s currently ubiquitous superhero boom to eventually deflate.
While interviewing with the Associated Press about his upcoming period thriller Bridge of Spies, Spielberg likened the modern day popularity of superhero movies to westerns in decades past.
“AP: You caused a stir two years ago when you predicted Hollywood was headed toward an “implosion” because of the over-abundance of mega-budget movies. Do you still feel that way?
Spielberg: I do. I still feel that way. We were around when the Western died and there will be a time when the superhero movie goes the way of the Western. It doesn’t mean there won’t be another occasion where the Western comes back and the superhero movie someday returns. Of course, right now the superhero movie is alive and thriving. I’m only saying that these cycles have a finite time in popular culture. There will come a day when the mythological stories are supplanted by some other genre that possibly some young filmmaker is just thinking about discovering for all of us.”
Not an unreasonable assertion, perhaps. For my perspective, it’s an understandably unwelcome prediction to the average movie going superhero fan because it feels like we’re in the middle of a major stride in the genre. The Avengers was a smash, so now we’re getting to enjoy the superhero movie as an established genre with the main stay continuations in Captain America, Avengers, Thor and Ironman as well as the more unusual diversions like Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-man and SHIELD and Daredevil. Oh, and yeah, the X-men, Spider-man and Batman movies.
On the other hand, Age of Ultron specifically seemed to be a focal point for critics of modern superhero movies saying that the genre is getting to convoluted and too effects driven, even though it raked in the dough. So while Steven Spielberg’s comments may happen to fit with what the old school Hollywood critics are saying, they don’t sound snooty or disingenuous. More like curious to see what the next ubiquitous fascination of popular culture will be. And from that perspective, I’m kind of curious too.
But, for now, can we at least enjoy this crazy ride up on through Avengers Infinity War? And including the Justice League movie?