A couple of years back when the Green Lantern motion picture was released, some critics complained that there were “too many superhero movies,” and that by the time GL hit the theaters, moviegoers were suffering from “superhero fatigue.” “We just can’t take this many superhero movies in one summer,” said one commentator.
Now, we can debate the quality of the film, which is fine. But I’m intrigued that we’re not hearing about “superhero fatigue” nearly as much this year.
I’m referring to The Wolverine, which debuted this past weekend to $55 million, below what industry “experts” estimated it would make. It took in $30 million less than the previous Wolverine film. (Now, the movie did much better overseas.)
This summer, we had Iron Man 3, which is likely to be the highest-grossing film of the year. Then came Man of Steel, which has done very well, now taking in more than $630 million around the world to date.
I’m intrigued that The Wolverine isn’t getting nearly the number of catcalls that Green Lantern did, that by now, moviegoers don’t want any more superhero films this summer.
If I were a conspiracy guy, I’d think that Disney, who now owns Marvel, did their best to torpedo GL, but won’t do the same for a film containing one of Marvel’s best-known characters. But I’m not, so I don’t worry about such things.
THE MANY SHAPES AND SIZES OF WOLVERINE
Of course, he wore a very different costume when he first appeared, battling the Hulk. (See the image to the left.)
Then, when John Byrne took over Uncanny X-Men, I noticed that Wolverine seemed shorter, was furry all over, chomping cigars, ending every sentence with “Bub,” and against taking baths, which other mutants commented on.
Now, if you have seen the recent Wolverine anime, he’s tall, lanky, smooth-skinned, with no cigars or “Bubs” to be found. Not only that, he looks like a young adult wearing fashionable outfits. What happened?
My favorite hero is Batman. He’s had a great many incarnations, on TV to animated shows to comics. I like many of them, but not all. (I despised The Batman on Kids WB. After watching Batman: The Animated Series, it was like seeing my best friend after his lobotomy. Painful!)
I figure the same thing has happened to Wolverine. Depending on the creator working on him, Logan has “mutated” into different variations of the same guy.
WHAT ABOUT WOLVERINE’S POPULARITY?
Is Wolverine’s star fading? Well, Batman has also had his up’s and down’s. Just before the release of Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, DC actually was ready to cancel Detective Comics, but they thought better of it. I remember reading with horror about Nocturna, a vampire Batman had taken a liking to. The last we saw of her was in a hot-air balloon vanishing into a red sky. (May she stay there forever!)
It seems that the X-Men and Wolverine aren’t quite the popular people they used to be. But I don’t expect that to last long. Batman’s on an up-tick right now, so I figure Wolverine will be back, as popular as ever soon. He has appeared on Ultimate Spider-Man on Disney XD a couple of times and has been the leader of the X-Men in a recent cartoon, so I know Disney is keeping an eye on him, waiting for the right time to re-establish him with the public. Still, Wolvie’s claws can’t really rip and tear into a villain with the kids watching now, can they!
WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN AREN’T GOING AWAY ANY TIME SOON
The reviews for The Wolverine have been mixed, and that might also have contributed to the drop in income for the movie. I understand that the economy isn’t so great, so people are using reviewers now more than they previously did to decide whether they’ll go see a film or not. Personally, I’d rather go myself if I have any interest at all.
Still, the film landed in the top spot, and the company making the movie (and the other X-films) is planning to continue the franchise, so you can look forward to more Hugh Jackman with his claws coming your way soon! “Superhero fatigue?” Nahhhh!