Superhero movies have become big business over the past couple of decades, with most of the credit going to Marvel. The company had the vision and tenacity to create its own cinematic universe, which was highly unique at the time of inception. The interlocking stories and characters would provide a series of films adored by fans and help change the movie genre’s archetype, generating billions of dollars in the process.
This might surprise you, but Marvel has quite a tumultuous past when it comes to cinema. Despite its vast stories and characters, Marvel didn’t have confidence in its content being in films, which led it to license its properties out to other companies. This spawned a wave of movies during the late 1990s and early 2000s, starring Marvel characters such as Blade, X-Men, Daredevil, and even Spider-Man. While not all bad, the movies left something to be desired.
It wasn’t until 2008 that Marvel officially entered the fray, delivering “Iron Man” under its newly formed Marvel Studios banner. The film would become one of the highest-grossing films of the year, showing off what was possible with a superhero movie when it was helmed correctly. “Iron Man” would become a cornerstone, spawning other successful films such as “Captain America”, “Thor”, and later “The Avengers”. Marvel Studios would fully manifest its vision with “Avengers: Endgame”. This film would not only bring characters and stories from 20+ different films together but go on to become the second highest-grossing film ever released.
Blade – the first Marvel hero hit on the silver screen
Blade was a dark superhero film for its time. The success of Blade began Marvel’s film success and set the stage for further comic book film adaptations.
Marvel Studios had developed the film as early as 1992, when rapper/actor LL Cool J was interested in playing the lead role. Blade was eventually set up at New Line Cinema, with David S. Goyer writing the script. According to Goyer, New Line originally wanted to do Blade as “something that was almost a spoof” before the writer convinced them otherwise. At one point, the studio even asked if Blade could be white. After failing to get a Black Panther film into production, in 1996 Wesley Snipes signed on to star as Blade.
The reboot – which was announced at 2019’s San Diego Comic-Con – will star Mahershala Ali in the titular role and sees him follow in the footsteps of Snipes, who starred as Blade in the original trilogy of vampire hunter movies between 1998 and 2004.
While there are many detractors to superhero films, it’s without a doubt that Marvel Studios has changed how we view these types of movies. There are higher expectations now when it comes to story and character building. They are no longer films or television series that are meant just for children. They require a playfulness that makes it accessible for all ages but depth that can also keep adults engaged. Perhaps most critical of all, Marvel Studios has shown that this isn’t something that can be copied or emulated, with its competitors failing to produce the same results when trying to design its own cinematic universe.
Marvel might not have started on the right foot, but by taking the reins and driving its vision, it was able to turn something generally thought of as a campy genre and make it into a powerhouse of a business, thus changing the superhero archetype forever.
The newest dark hero on the horizon
Marvel Studios‘ “Moon Knight” set to begin filming in Budapest. Marvel Studio‘s action-adventure series is about Marc Spector, a psychologically fascinating vigilante who has multiple identities living within him who all play their parts in the new series which is for Disney+. The show has an Egyptian iconography theme. Although the show will be filmed in other locations too, it is expected a large part will be filmed in Budapest.