The Rise of Superhero Movies 2018
2018 saw the emergence of several action-packed superhero movies that dominated the entertainment industry. From blockbuster hits such as Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War which grossed over $2.2 billion and $2 billion within weeks of their release, to DC’s Aquaman that earned over $1 billion worldwide, the superhero movie phenomenon has grown to monumental levels. Statistics reveal that the global box-office revenue of superhero movies in 2018 surpassed $2.3 billion, the highest of any year since 1998.
However, the rise of superhero movies isn’t just due to the gripping action scenes, box office records and jaw-dropping visuals. It’s also because of the values and messages imbued in the stories. Audiences are drawn to the everyday, relatable struggles portrayed by protagonists while they also go head-to-head with seemingly insurmountable odds. In 2018, several movies explored their characters’ inner strength and resilience in the midst of adversity, underlining the themes that heroism is more about courage and sacrifice than about superpowers.
The sheer diversity of characters was also hailed as a milestone. The much-anticipated Black Panther movie became the first superhero flick with a predominantly black cast, critically acclaimed for its complex representation of characters and confronting of deep-seated racial issues. Another award-winning movie was Marvel’s groundbreaking hit, Marvel’s The First Avenger: Civil War, which introduced Black Panther’s arch-nemesis, the Winter Soldier, and a female superhero, Scarlet Witch, that gained immense popularity.
As superhero movies continue to dominate the entertainment industry, there is increasing pressure to make the stories representative and representative of various gender, racial, and social identities. Diversity within superhero movies is important because it allows every audience member to exist within a world that not only has superhero’s they can resonate with, but also characters they look up to and strive to be like.
Audiences are hoping that future adaptations maintain the quality, respect the raw diversity and carry forth the underlying themes that the stories of superheroes are more about perseverance than mere fantasy. Here’s a list of some of the popular and critically acclaimed superhero movies that were released in 2018:
- Black Panther
- The Incredibles 2
- Avengers of Infinity War
- Deadpool 2
- Ant-Man and the Wasp
- X-Men: The Dark Phoenix
Box Office Records
As a whole, superhero movies were dominant at the box office in 2018. Black Panther shattered several box office records and grossed more than $1.35 billion worldwide. It was the second highest-grossing movie of 2018, behind Avengers: Infinity War, which itself grossed more than $2 billion across the world. This makes it the first standalone Marvel Cinematic Universe character to reach this milestone as well as the first Marvel film to cross the $650 million benchmark at the domestic box office.
Aquaman was another superhero movie that performed extremely well at the box office in 2018. It grossed over $1 billion worldwide and broke several records, including the highest-grossing DC Extended Universe film in China, where it earned more than $300 million. Aquaman officially dethroned The Dark Knight Rises as the highest-grossing DC Extended Universe movie in the US and became the highest-grossing DC movie ever in the global market.
It was also the first superhero movie to pass the $1 billion mark since Avengers: Age of Ultron. The success of Aquaman is widely attributed to its special effects, stunning visuals and gripping story which resonated with audiences of all ages.
Fostering Fan Communities
The success of superhero movies in 2018 was largely attributed to the extraordinary fan base and their diligent efforts in promoting their favourite films. Avengers: Infinity War had an incredible fan base which dedicated time and resources to facilitate viewing parties, campaigning and spreading the hype on social media outlets such as Twitter and Instagram. Fans created several initiatives such as ‘Thanos Did Nothing Wrong’ and ‘Thanos Did Nothing Wrong-Know Your Rights’ and also organized many flash mobs in several cities.
The media was huge within the superhero fandom throughout 2018. Whether it was radio plays, mobile games, comic books, or all manner of merchandise, fans were geekily engaged in the success of their favorite superhero films and the universes they inhabit. While this had a financial impact, it also generated communities of like-minded fans and helped a resurgence in traditional comic book reading and fan culture, almost as if the films acted as a springboard to a deeper exploration of the material.
This lead to a resurgence in the popularity of comic books and comic book conventions. Attendance of comic book conventions skyrocketed, as fans flocked to these events to meet their favorite artists, writers, and characters from the comic book universe. The fan base has been exceptionally loyal and shows no sign of waning with the same enthusiasm going into 2019.
Superhero Movies and Social Awareness
The superhero movie craze has also acted as a medium to promote social awareness. Superhero films not only depict characters overcoming villainy, but they are increasingly used to bring awareness to severe social issues in the world. Movies such as Wonder Woman and Black Panther addressed topics such as gender equality, poverty, and the power of relationships while successfully breaking through gender stereotypes.
These films also provide an opportunity to educate moviegoers on societal issues. Black Panther, for example, opened up conversations regarding caste and stereotypes. Films such as The Incredibles 2 tackled social issues such as sexism, inequality, and generational pressures. Deadpool 2 also featured a significant scene centering around domestic abuse and its effects. Fans grew to appreciate that superhero films weren’t just about the lavish costumes and special effects, but also about inspiring stories that have relevance to the world today.
CG and Visual Effects
One of the biggest draws for audiences of superhero films in 2018 was the stunning visuals. CG was used to create some of the most complex characters, creatures and environments, making the films come to life in ways that have never been done before. From Deadpool’s time-travel scene to Ant-Man and the Wasp’s quantum realm and the spectacular fight-scenes in Aquaman, CG and visual effects played a major role in the success of the films in 2018.
CG also enabled filmmakers to create characters with visual complexity and nuances that weren’t possible before. Vision, a character in Avengers: Infinity War, is a complex, intricate character that was created entirely with CGI and motion capture techniques. The character is able to transform into different forms, which was only possible with the help of computer-generated imagery. Similarly, the underwater scenes and characters in Aquaman were created with the help of CG and vast amounts of detail added to create a mesmerizing and convincing experience.
Reaction from Critics
Despite the massive success of superhero films at the box office, their reception from critics has been mixed. Black Panther, for example, was critically acclaimed and the Marvel juggernaut was hailed as a milestone in the industry, especially due to its progressive content. Meanwhile, several other films such as Venom and X-Men: The Dark Phoenix were criticized for their lacking story and production values.
Some movies were also criticized for attempting to introduce too many characters in a single story, which made the story convoluted and hard to follow. However, critics also praised the phenomenal special and visual effects in most of the films, giving them credit for attempting to push the boundaries and create larger-than-life stories that audience previously haven’t seen before.
Future of Superhero Movies
The future of superhero movies is looking brighter than ever. Fans can expect to see an array of sequels, spin-offs and original stories, with more diversity and creative angles. There is a new wave of characters that are being added to the pantheon, with heroes like Captain Marvel, Black Widow and Doctor Strange also getting their own standalone movies setting up some of the most exciting stories in the industry.
Superhero films in 2019 are likely to be bigger and bolder than ever, with more pulse-pounding action, larger stakes and ambitious stories. The production budget is also expected to be higher and filmmakers will employ more cutting edge technologies and visual effects to make these films look more realistic and unique.
The success of superhero films in 2018 marked a new era in the entertainment industry, with higher demand for stories that are diverse and packed with action. With more than ten superhero movies set for release in 2019, this movie genre shows no sign of slowing down.