This year Avengers 2: The Age of Ultron, Ant-Man, Fantastic Four, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Next Summer a Batman movie, the first Justice League, and so forth. Dr. Strange, Wonder Woman, and several other characters are due to have their own movies in the next couple years too. How many times over the last few years have we been told that all these movies are going to wreck everything in Hollywood?
So let’s look at this realistically. It looks like we are going to have three groups of interrelated, intelligently written movie universes going on in Hollywood for the next few years. Most of them will be blockbusters, and those that aren’t will generate more money than they would otherwise because they will be a part of a larger universe. Wait a minute, that doesn’t sound like the devolution of anything. It feels more like the evolution of the action movie into something beyond cheesey, muscley, or specialists (martial artists, UFC fighters, and so forth).
So, is the change in action movies going to mess up romances, science fiction, and dramas? Why would they? Sure, they have some of the same viewers, but they satisfy very different interests. If you want to watch a modern love story it won’t be found in a Captain America movie. The beauty and elegance of Interstellar can’t be matched in Guardians of the Galaxy 2 or an Ender sequel, and those YA dystopian movie series – Maze Runner, Hunger Games, and Divergent – seem to be gaining interest as they come out even while the Marvel universe is going full steam and DC is generating interest.
You know the action movie came into its own in the 1980s with muscular men giving one-liners that are a little painful to hear now. In the nineties they got better, but many of the actors remained the same. The people I have seen in the Expendables movies are what I remember of the action hero genre. It’s great to see them all, and nice to see them still fit, but I don’t mind that they are almost the only game in town any more. There’s something better now – improved plots, stronger characters, deeper themes, fuller arcs. I don’t see the down side here. Come to think of it, I kind of hope the other genres continue to improve along the same lines.