Since the 90s, superhero films have been the kings of the summer box office. Over the last two decades, audiences have been enthralled with the rise of the “X-Men,” the assembly of “The Avengers,” the chronicle of “Batman’s” life journey from start to finish, and, in roughly one week, will be treated to a new vision of world renowned American icon “Superman” in the form of Zach Syder’s “Man of Steel.”
A reboot of the film series, “Man of Steel” shares similarities to a previous summer blockbuster and superhero film reboot of last summer.
Released as a reboot for the “Spider-Man” film series, “The Amazing Spider-Man” saw its silver screen debut on July 3, 2012. Starring Andrew Garfield in the titular role of Spider-Man, the film was released to a generally warm critical welcome and a fair amount of financial success. It was also the weakest financial performance of the film franchise and the second lowest critically received film of the series, standing only above the divisive “Spider-Man 3.”
Both “Man of Steel” and “The Amazing Spider-Man” find themselves in interestingly similar binds in regards to their relationship with their own respective franchises. While I would not personally call “Spider-Man 3” or “Superman Returns” bad films by any stretch of the imagination, both were critically divisive, primarily because they dealt with set ups and ideas that were not designed for wide audience appeal.
“Spider-Man 3” for instance, did a somewhat admirable job juggling many plotlines and character arcs, but it was only inevitable that the film would collapse under the weight and quantity of its material. Meanwhile, “Superman Returns” was a fascinating character study and deconstruction of Superman from the perspective of his well-established Superman persona, going as far as to make parallels to Greek tragedy. It was highly-sophisticated content that was unfortunately packaged in a confusing mess of nostalgia chasing with a hollow climax that hits after the film runs out of steam.