After Deadpool 2, it's official. Superhero fatigue syndrome has set in

Commentary: Please, no more blockbusters. All my blocks are already busted.

Daniel Van Boom Senior Writer
Daniel Van Boom is an award-winning Senior Writer based in Sydney, Australia. Daniel Van Boom covers cryptocurrency, NFTs, culture and global issues. When not writing, Daniel Van Boom practices Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, reads as much as he can, and speaks about himself in the third person.
Expertise Cryptocurrency, Culture, International News
Daniel Van Boom
4 min read
20th Century Fox

When Ted and Marshall drove from New York to Ohio in How I Met Your Mother, a faulty cassette player forced them to listen to a tape of the song 500 Miles on repeat the whole way.

At first, it was a riot, but after a few hours the song lost all its charm. They hated it. It came back around hours later, though, becoming the perfect road-trip singalong tune once again.

I regale you with this parable not to remind you that How I Met Your Mother was once actually funny, but rather to announce, with shame and regret, that I have become Ted and Marshall. Instead of tiring of The Proclaimers' road trip classic, however, I've become drained by comic book movie franchises.

Superhero fatigue syndrome is rearing its head. Quite frankly, it's amazing it took this long.

I had this realisation after seeing Deadpool 2 over the weekend. Though I thought it tried too hard to be irreverent, I enjoyed it. But the night highlighted a worrying trend. The last time I went to the movies, I watched Avengers: Infinity War. Prior to Deadpool 2 playing, the audience was treated to a trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story. As we walked out of the theatre, the first thing I saw? A huge poster for Ant-Man and The Wasp.

Star Wars isn't a superhero franchise, of course, but it pulls almost all the same levers as the superhero blockbusters. It's a high-budget, geek-friendly affair where each new film takes from and adds to a deep lore. Call it collateral damage.


Sorry, gang, I'm going to have to skip you this time. 


I'm not sure I can handle any more blockbusters right now. All my blocks have been well and truly busted.

I don't want to be that guy, even if I have a recent history of being exactly that. Recently I wrote about how I thought much of the public has been pressured into liking Black Panther, which I thought was a good but not great movie, an extremely that guy opinion. Even more recently, I voiced concerns about Avengers: Infinity War having a dizzying amount of Avengers -- a concern I'm happy to admit didn't materialise.

I'm no superhero-movie hater. And it goes without saying that comic book films are reliable money makers. Infinity War is the fourth highest-grossing film of all time, while Deadpool 2's opening weekend raked in triple its budget.

Disney could pump out a new Star Wars or Marvel flick every week and there'd be a sizeable contingent of people (as in the population of a midsize country) who would make time to see each one. Then again, there are many who don't watch superhero movies at all.

In the middle are people like me, who like comic book flicks but not enough to drop everything they're doing to watch the ninth Spider-Man reboot the weekend it comes out. In other words, customers who are at risk of becoming former customers.

Solo is the first victim in my case. I've decided to skip it. The Last Jedi was everything I wanted it to be, but it was also five months ago. If Solo was released in February, there'd be enough residual Star Wars enthusiasm left over to get me into a theatre -- and alternatively a thirst for another Star Wars Story may have developed by December time if they were to follow a Rogue One schedule.


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But between Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok, The Last Jedi, Black Panther , Avengers: Infinity War and Deadpool 2, all of which were released in the last 12 months, plus more upcoming flicks, a guy needs a respite from the hype. If every film is the next big blockbuster, no film is the next big blockbuster.

These franchises pressure you to keep up. Skip a few films and you've got a weekend of catch up if you want to enjoy the next big one. Movies having that "can't miss" feeling is a plus, until there are so many they become easy to miss -- which makes films like Solo, which aren't essential to the main plot, all the more tempting to pass on.

Star Wars has been around for yonks, but the MCU has only been around for a decade. It's shaped Hollywood during that time, but 10 years, in the scope of the cinema's history, isn't that long. Hard-boiled crime fiction influenced pop culture for many years, as did western films. Eventually, they both faded from prominence.

There will be a time when we say things like, "remember when superhero movies were a thing?" It seems like the quickest way to achieve that is to bombard us with blockbuster after blockbuster. 

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