The Twilight of The Superheroes

June 23, 2011

Has America grown so cynical that it has turned its back on superheroes?

On and off for the past three decades, whatever the nation’s trials, we have been watched over from our multiplexes by a long line of caped champions, and in exchange, America consistently rewarded these crusaders with our allegiance in the form of untold box-office riches.

Since Christopher Reeve arrived as Superman in 1978, superhero films have become the nation’s onscreen superego, reflecting its changing zeitgeist, as they strode like a spandex-clad Goliath atop our blockbuster culture. This summer was to be the year when the genre swallowed the box office whole, with a new superhero mega-adaptation rolled out every third week.

But it’s not working out that way.

Six weeks and three men in tights into Blockbuster Season ‘11, America has met this year’s crop with, at best, muted enthusiasm and, more often, shrugs of indifference. Where the release of a new superhero film not long ago was the grandest (not to mention most grandiose) event on our cultural calendar, the successive releases suddenly feel routine, predictable, and oddly out of tune with the times.

Read the rest at The Daily Beast.

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