Comic book movies fight for popularity

Movies based off of comic books have had massive box office success such as "Spider-Man: No Way Home." Photo Illustration by Camryn Duffy

By Luke Araujo | Staff Writer

Marvel Studios’ “Spider-Man: No Way Home” was the highest-grossing movie in 2021, making a whopping $260,138,569 in its opening week. When speaking of comic book movies, many think of the extremely successful Marvel Cinematic Universe. As of May 2021, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the most successful movie franchise in North America, beating its runner-up, Star Wars, by almost double.

Within the Marvel franchise, however, there are outliers. “Avengers: Endgame,” “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War” are the four-highest grossing movies by a wide margin. What sets these movies apart is the collaborative nature of their makeup, bringing in heroes from across the shared Marvel Cinematic Universe to face a threat larger than themselves.

Dr. Greg Garrett, professor of English, said he believes comic book movies are so popular because they wrestle with humanity’s biggest issues.

“What does it mean to be heroic, to sacrifice for a cause bigger than ourselves?” Garrett said. “What does evil look like, and how do we stand against it? How do we bring justice to a world full of injustice?”

Garrett said comic book films are used to critique systems of power and justice.

“’Suicide Squad’ or ‘Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ ask tough questions about the way things are and why things cannot be different,” Garrett said.

Houston sophomore DJ Scott said he thinks the rise in comic book movies’ popularity is a result of appealing to people’s imaginations.

“Superhero movies in particular have always appealed to people because everyone at some point has had dreams of being a superhero and having superpowers,” Scott said.

Scott attributes the superhero craze to the now mainstream culture of sci-fi and fantasy as well as new crossover feature films.

Looking toward the future, Scott said he hopes the genre evolves into releasing more unique movies, with each movie having its own tone and style.