The three big superheroes, what next?
With the news of Superman's rights being taken away from Warner Brothers and passed back to the original creators, with a new Batman around the corner having to battle hard to match the success of the previous and both Spider-man and Batman facing the last outings under their most successful directors to date, it made me wonder what's next for them all, and have they all reached their peak and outlived their heady status? Is it time for the new heroes to step up?
Undoubtedly Christopher Nolan has been Batman's greatest driver, and the same can be said for Sam Raimi, so with their third and fourth outing respectively will the franchise continue, or will they be put into retirement for a new breed of superheroes to announce themselves? Then what of the mighty Superman now that he is once again owned by the Seigel's? Does it mean the end for him on screen?
The where to next question for Superman is a difficult one as with the rights reverting to the Seigel estate we have no idea what's in store fot the character. It could mean a number of things from good to bad. Warner Brothers were hyping up another restart of the franchise, pretending that the previous Bryan Singer directed film was the closing of the old Superman franchise allowing something new to begin, something very different in tone and style.
Personally I think that passing off the last film, Superman Returns (Filmstalker review) was a mistake and they should have taken in Bryan Singer once again to correct the mistakes he made, for me that would mainly be around the boy in the story, and put the character and the series back on track.
Of course what I think they really wanted for the film series was a complete dark reboot a la Batman, a new and more realistic, modernised Superman.
The question is now, with the original creator's estate back in control of the character and almost everything associated with him, are we set to see a return to the original Superman stories, going against the direction we see other superhero films going, a direction that gains a great deal of audience approval?
So where to now for Superman? Will the rights issue mean we just won't see another film on the character for a long time? Will studios avoid the property until the estate are ready to do a deal again, or perhaps the last film is just too close to everyone's memory to attempt another?
I think for now, Superman is on a long sabbatical.
Batman has a much clearer dilemma, but a dilemma none the less. He's coming to the end of his current outing with the creative team that has undoubtedly given him the most successful run ever, or even for that matter any media.
Christopher Nolan will probably not be back for a fourth film and we know that a number of stars have said that they will leave the franchise when Nolan goes.
It's clear that we'll see a third film from him as all the rumours and those involved point towards it. It will be interesting to see if he can manage to recreate the success of The Dark Knight (Filmstalker review) with the third and perhaps even surpass it, but I think that third film will be it from the director and therefore Batman will pass to someone else's hands. Or will he?
Could Batman simply be retired? Put out to pasture in a growing world for superheroes? We've seen him battle his ultimate foe The Joker, and events in real life mean that we are unlikely to see that arch-enemy return for some time. So is it the end of the road for Batman? Is he just too long in the cape? Is there a chance for him after Nolan has done such a superb job?
Spider-Man is the other of the big three, although it is fair to say that his mantle is fast coming under pressure by some of the other superheroes who are rapidly rising up, Iron Man, Wolverine, and so on.
He did start off with a very well, but in the last Spider-Man we saw the age old problem of studio executives getting too involved, an over abundance of bad guys, a weakened plot and a half-arsed attempt at bringing one of his greatest villains to the big screen, The Dark Knight this was not.
With that weak film it's a wonder that anyone wants to return to the series and try and resurrect it, Sam Raimi does, and he thinks he can do it. However there's only so much he can do, and like Christopher Nolan you have to wonder how many films he has left in him. I think just this one, he's already showing signs of moving onto other productions.
Now these superheroes are having to battle others who are rapidly becoming a leading superheroes and taking their places. We see Iron Man with his second film about to appear and nothing but positive signs for him and his immediate future, joining with all those other superhero names to form The Justice League.
Wolverine has been building himself through the X-Men films and has just seen his first rather whimpering outing, but we're told that things will only get better with the second film, especially with Christopher McQuarrie announced as the screenwriter.
Are the traditionally leading superheroes coming to the end of their reign and we're going to see Wolverine, Iron Man, Justice League, Captain America, and a whole bunch of other names come up through the ranks and take over from them?
Is the end nigh for the current runs for Spider-Man, Batman and Superman, and is there any way that they can, when they return, live up to the level that each of them have been elevated to by their recent directors? Perhaps so with Superman as his latest outing wasn't the best, but I find it hard to believe Batman can live up to level of the last two films.