‘Deadpool’ Director Tim Miller Rejects Idea Comic Book Movies Are On A Downward Trend, Says He Wants Superhero Films To Explore More Genres
Deadpool director Tim Miller rejected the idea that comic book movies are in decline, noting that the superhero genre is just one subset that the comic book medium explores.
During an appearance on Collider Dailies, Miller was asked by Collider’s Steven Weintraub, “The last few years the comic book movie genre, superhero genre has shown signs of slowing down and I feel like there is a sense of audience fatigue. So you do you think the comic book movie has reached its peak and is on its way down or do you still think there is a lot of life left in the genre?”
Miller answered, “I think there is tons of life left in the genre because as a comic book fun as you are Steve you know that superhero movies, superhero comics are only kind of the tip of the iceberg. There’s a lot of other stories to be told. Just like there’s all kinds of movies. Men and women in tights are not the only kinds of comic books to be made. The Goon being the most obvious one I’m associated with.
“So I believe there is so many different types of stories,” Miller continued. “I still get my monthly pull. I still get a box of comics. And, you know, half of them are superhero stuff and the others are different kinds of stories from science fiction to period pieces to horror. So I think that there’s tons of rooms if you say comic books.”
However, he did specifically address superheroes saying, “If you say superhero movies I do think that there’s a limit to how much people can enjoy. That said I don’t know that we’ve reached that limit because there’s so many good stories to tell and different kinds.”
Miller continued, “The Authority is my favorite comic of all time. There hasn’t been a version of that made. I’m sure Warner Bros. is working on it. But it’s so adult and so violent. The Boys comes pretty close to television, but it hasn’t been done in feature yet.”
Miller would later be asked what he would like to see Marvel and DC do to which he said, “I would like to see them expand to other genres. Even if you’re a Marvel fan there’s horror in the Marvel universe. There’s other types of tropes. … I’m hoping that, and I’m sure it will is they keep expanding their rationale.”
“The brilliant thing that Fox discovered that allowed me to make the Deadpool movie was, ‘We can make R-rated superhero movies and nobody else is doing that. And nobody else really thought they could do that.’ And Deadpool got lucky and opened up that genre. And then you can have other films. You can have a film like the Joker because suddenly everybody realized you could have an R-rated movie,” Miller said.
Miller’s comments are similar to those made by James Gunn during an appearance on Michael Rosenbaum’s YouTube channel.
Gunn said, “I think that what’s happened is people have gotten really lazy with their superhero stories and they have gotten to the place where, ‘Oh it’s a superhero let’s make a movie about it!’ And they make, ‘Oh! Let’s make a sequel because the first one did pretty well.’ And they aren’t thinking about why is this story special. What makes this story stand apart from other stories? What is the story at the heart of it all? Why is this character important? What makes this story different? That it fills a need for people in theaters to go see or on television.”
“And I think that people have gotten a little lazy,” he reiterated. “And there’s a lot of biff, pow, bam stuff happening in movies. Like I’m watching third acts of superhero films where I really just don’t feel like there’s a rhyme or reason to what’s happening. I don’t care about the characters.”
Gunn also noted that superhero films should have different tones or genres, “And they’ve gotten too generic. There’s this sort of middle of the road type of genre, tone that so many superhero movies as opposed to having very different genres. I like very serious superhero movies. I like very comedic superhero movies. I like ones that are really just a murder mystery, but it’s with superheroes.
Gunn added, “I like to see these different types of stories as opposed to seeing the same story told over and over again. I don’t know how many times I…”
The DC Studios CEO also addressed the idea of superhero fatigue saying, “I think that also and then people say superhero fatigue. I think that you see now that it’s not a real thing. People are fatigued with repetition. And I don’t think it’s really just superhero movies, I think you’re seeing it happening now, it’s spectacle films in general.”
He went on, “But there’s a lot of spectacle films made and they just have gotten really generic. And they’ve gotten boring and they aren’t about characters, and there’s no emotion to them. And there should be emotion in things no matter. That should always be there: some type of emotion. I’m not saying it can’t be really light. I’m not saying it can’t be really heavy. I’m saying there should be some sort of emotion.”
Gunn would then reference the horror genre, “In a horror movie if you like that main character then you are much more scared when they’re about to get killed. The stakes matter.”
While Miller and Gunn seem to have similar beliefs, long-time comic book creators see the end is near or has already occurred.
Former Marvel Comics writer and the creator of Wanted, Kingsman, and Kick-Ass Mark Millar told The New York Times, “[The genre] had a great run, and kind of ended in 2019 with Avengers: Endgame. That felt like the last truly great superhero movie.”
He explained, “Everything since then … I feel that the people involved haven’t loved the material the way that Sam Raimi loves Spider-Man, or Christopher Nolan [who] read 50 years worth of Batman comics before he started doing Batman.”
While he believes the superhero genre is a dead man walking, he does believe it could be resuscitated.
Millar stated, “I think it will come back. These movies made too much money for them to fail.”
“What I know from talking to friends at DC and Marvel is there’s a massive course-correct being planned, they need to get it back on track. Getting some people with an interesting voice again is critical,” he said.
Millar’s peer in the comic book industry, Chuck Dixon, shares his thoughts. In a post to Facebook, Dixon wrote, “The superhero cycle had a good run but it’s over.”
He explained to Bounding Into Comics, “Every movie cycle ends. Westerns give way to spies who give way to horror and on and on. The superhero genre has had a extraordinarily long run.”
From there, he pointed to a number of different factors, “But a number of factors have contributed to drop in interest for comic book based content: Oversaturation, inconsistent quality, and Hollywood’s restricted access to the Chinese market.”
He also put the blame firmly on DC and Marvel and their parent companies, “Both Disney and Warners are to blame as well. Marvel fans had to put up with a steady assault of woke content, an overbearing amount of comedy included in material, a general decline in the quality of effects and, most damaging, a deliberate departure from the source material at every opportunity.”
“DC screwed the pooch by constantly re-booting their franchises with new auteurs and casts. In addition, they diluted their brand with multiple different and conflicting continuities spread across TV and features,” he asserted. “Which Batman is ‘real?’ Who is the authorized Superman?”
Pointing to the most recent The Flash film, Dixon said, “And they damned themselves with this latest Flash flick by leaning into all the multiverse nonsense in order to cram as many cameos into this failed project as possible.”
What do you make of Tim Miller’s comments about comic book movies and the superhero movie genre?