Movies & TV / Columns

411 Movies/TV Fact or Fiction: Do We Have Superhero Movie Fatigue?

October 30, 2023 | Posted by Jake Chambers
ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA Image Credit: Jay Maidment/Marvel Studios

Welcome back to the 411mania Movies/TV Fact or Fiction. I’m your host Jake Chambers.

Taking a break from the Wrestling Fact or Fiction this week for a semi-annual Survivor Series-type invasion the Movies/TV zone.

Along with me, as usual, is 411’s Head Editor and our resident cinephile par excellence: Jeremy Thomas. His various daily news reports will do their own invading – invading your dreams! Especially the one article every week you MUST never miss because it’s the best box office report in the business – give this man his flowers!

Jeremy and I are talking some big issues this week, so let’s hear what you think in the comments section below afterwards. Tudum!

Statement #1: You will pay for the premium “no ads” tier of Netflix (or whatever your streaming service of choice is) no matter how much they raise the price.

Jeremy Thomas: FICTION – I almost said FACT to this on instinct.  I am kind of notorious for the amount of streaming services I subscribe to (damn near all of them) and I hate ads on a service I’m paying for.  (Yes, I know you get ads on cable despite paying for it, but it’s an entirely different thing.) I have been perfectly willing to pay more for the ad-free tiers up to this point for Netflix, Max, Paramount+, Disney+, Peacock, and Hulu.  But the key point of this statement is “no matter how much.”  In a realistic read of the question, I would say yes.  But conceivably they could raise the tier price to unrealistic levels if they thought they could get away with it.  I don’t know what the point is where I stop taking it in an uncomfortable place (yes, the back of a Volkswagon) for the ad-free experience, but there would be a line eventually.

Jake Chambers: FACT – I do believe their ultimate goal is to push everyone outside of the 1% down to their ad tiers. Does that mean I’m in that top 1%? No, but I’ll damn well try to get up there if it means I can get out of watching those ads. While it does sound insane to say I’d rather work harder than most people on earth just to avoid ads on a corporate streaming service, it’s the principal. This was NOT what we were promised indirectly with the internet, and this was NOT what we were promised directly by Netflix. Shame on all of these services to painting themselves into this corner, but shame on Netflix most of all.

Statement #2: Martin Scorsese has the best filmography of any director.

Jeremy Thomas: FICTION – These are always hard to say, and I can absolutely see someone making that argument.  But of all-time?  I think he has one of the best, and it’s hard to deny he has some of the all-time great American films.  He also has New York, New York on his resume, and I love musicals and Liza Minnelli but it is a glaring entry amongst his better films.  Just about every director has at least one bad (or at least less good) film on their filmography, to be fair.  Fincher has Alien 3 which gets more shit than it deserves, but isn’t a great movie. Hitchcock had a number of lesser films amidst his all-time greats. I could go on.

If I had to pick one director for the best filmography of all time, I have to go with Akira Kurosawa.  As a director I don’t think he has even a mediocre film, much less a bad one.  And honestly, I don’t think it’s anything even close to a knock to say your filmography doesn’t match Kurosawa’s; I think that’s realistic because I don’t know if anyone could ever achieve it.  Scorsese is undoubtedly in the top 10 (don’t ask me to name the other eight, I’ll be researching this for days) but I think he loses out on the top spot.

Jake Chambers: FICTION – You would think he does if you go go by the media (and social media) lately, as he is presented as the last line of auteur defence against the onslaught of “shitty” roller-coaster ride movies people apparently hate seeing in record numbers. Meanwhile, he second last movie was The Irishman, so. While he doesn’t have the best resume ever, he does have longevity, a few undeniable classics, and a lot of great movies on there (and a couple of amazing TV episodes too). I would put Jeremy’s pick Kurosawa next to Scorsese too, just because I think the more you make the more chances there are to water down your legacy.

So I personally gravitate towards directors who have smaller resumes with the most wins and the least duds. Therefore, I would rank directors like Stanley Kubrick, Park Chan Wook or Quentin Tarantino above John Carpenter, Spike Lee or even Lau Kar-Leung. But the ultimate director to me is David Lynch. A flawlessly singular filmography, with only one “arguable” misstep in his Dune, which has an incredible first half regardless of the fact Lynch wanted to Alan Smithee this one off his resume anyways. The 18 hours Twin Peaks Season 3 is probably the greatest achievement in film-making history, so I’m gonna need to see a director step up and match that before they can have a better resume than David Lynch.

Statement #3: Your favorite horror movie villain is based on the quality of the movies they were in more than their character or appearance.

Jeremy Thomas: FICTION – Again, I almost went with FACT on this because I defaulted to Scream and I adore all those films.  But a moment’s extra thought made me realize that this would mean that I have to like Roman Bridger, and I don’t even though I do generally like Scream 3 (just less than the other entries).  No, my favorite horror villain is close between Freddy Krueger and the Cenobites.  And those two have been in some really bad movies, the Cenobites particularly.  The direct-to-video entries after Hellraiser: Bloodline are god-awful for the most part.  In both villains’ cases, the fact that I like them so much is why I tolerate some of their worse entries (hello Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare).  But no, in the case of this question while film quality can matter — I don’t care what your villain is, if you’re in a franchise like Human Centipede I’m not interested — it’s always about the character more than the films for me.

Jake Chambers: FACT – If you love horror movies it really is tricky because you have a pretty high tolerance for movies that are not considered traditionally “good” and then those villains we love are probably stuck in a lot of oddball sequels even by those standards. And while I align with Jeremy in that my all-time fav is Freddy Krueger, I do think he’s been in the best movies, comparatively speaking. If you count Nightmare 1, 3, 5, New and vs. Jason, then that’s five great horror movies featuring a charismatic bad guy. And I think I like him more because those movies were so good, compared to say Chucky or Leprechaun who are great characters that just completely outshine their movies.

I love Jason too, as he’d be my second favorite, but I don’t know his best two movies are better than the first and third Nightmares. And then there’s Leatherface, who is the highlight of what I consider one of the greatest movies of all time, but is in so many sequels of diminishing returns. So I think we can all agree, Freddy is #1, right?


Statement #4: You have the dreaded “super hero movie fatigue”.

Jake Chambers: FICTION – I like to live in a world where there are good super hero movies and bad super hero movies. I don’t need them all to be excellent, but I need them all.

I grew up at a time when there were almost no super hero movies at all, but came home from the comic shop every week with a stack of books to read. Some of those books were amazing, some were okay, some were bad, but I loved comic books so that was my thing.

Amazingly, now are there not only more comic books to read than ever, but there’s also so much TV and movies based on comic book stories that I don’t have watch anything else. This is a victory for kids who grew up like me, and I love it.

Like I said, it doesn’t matter if they are the “best ever” movie or TV show when they come out. Why would anyone expect that? Despite what some cinephiles might have you believe, before super hero movies started to dominate the theaters, it’s wasn’t all Martin Scorsese movies out there. The majority of the stuff before was terrible melodramas or bad comedies or cheesy action movies. You get the same amount of Scorsese type movies before or after the MCU.

So, for me, I prefer having more comic book based media and will never have “super hero fatigue”.

Jeremy Thomas: FICTION – I also am not in a state of superhero movie fatigue.  Listen, if a movie is good, it’s good.  I don’t really care if it’s a superhero movie or a horror movie, or a romantic comedy or what have you. Frankly, if there was a time for fatigue around superhero movies for me it would have been at the genre’s apex in the lead up to Avengers Endgame when each film was relentlessly promoted and it seemed like it was all people could talk about; there was barely a gasp between the end of one dominating the box office before the next one came in.

In 2023 we’ve had a total of seven superhero films (if we include Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem). Some like Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 have been great and others (hello, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania) have been…less great.  But they haven’t tired me out.  You could conceivably add in the TV shows to talk about exhaustion but again, not a lot of people (some, admittedly) were complaining when there was literally a superhero show on every day thanks to The CW.  I think that superhero films have become less dominant at the box office and that was both inevitable and not a bad thing.  It was always going to taper off a bit, but I still look forward to the next one (if it looks good) just like I look forward to the next horror film despite the fact that horror has been on the rise again and we literally get a new one wide releasing in theaters or in a big way on streaming almost every other week.  If people are tired of superhero films I get it, but I haven’t hit that wall.

Statement #5: AI will replace actors and writers for Movies and TV within 10 years.

Jake Chambers: FACT – I say this only because there could be a case made that narrative movies and TV are a dying form of media. It takes an all out social media frenzy like Barbenheimer to drag MZ-ers out to a theater… and Gen X-ers and above don’t want to sit in the same places with them anyways. As these young people get older, they’re not going to suddenly shed off streaming and social media for movies and TV shows like their parents. And then the next generation of teens in the 2030s are going to be even less interested.

The biggest movies of all time, currently, are the Avatar and Avengers films, that are pretty much already mostly CGI. I think they could probably plug in some realistic AI actors in there if the technology just gets a little better, and we might not even notice. And while I personally think that the writing in those movies is really good, there are plenty of people who complain about them being either too formulaic, cliche or empty. And yet, these were still some of the most popular worldwide blockbuster ever. So if that’s the case, and people will happily watch movies that are mostly CGI and have stories they think are lame, then why would it be so hard for Hollywood to use AI to replace the actors and writers making movies like this? Since it’s only going to be for people in their 40s and above in 10 years, it could be an easy decision for studios to just use AI at that point.

Jeremy Thomas: FICTION – Not a chance.  That’s one of the key things that SAG-AFTRA is fighting against right now, and while the contract they eventually get with the studios won’t be a 10 year deal there’s no way that it won’t include significant protections for AI.  The WGA already got that in place with their contract, and the fact remains that it will, at least for the remotely foreseeable future, be cheaper to use even big name actors than it will be to CGI people in their place.

Also, while the technology is definitely getting better, it isn’t even close to there yet.  People give AI way too much credit; while there are certainly reasons to be concerned about it from a creative standpoint, that’s just in terms of how it is stealing people’s work in order to create their own.  (That’s a simplified explanation for a very thorny and nuanced issue, but it is more or less the gist.) Anyone who has ever tried to do an AI script can definitively say they aren’t good — and you can say that neither are a lot of Hollywood scripts, but even bad human-written scripts are worlds better than what AI does.  AI is something that creatives need to keep an eye on, but not for this reason and I’d wager they don’t have to worry about being replaced for a good while.

Thanks again to Jeremy Thomas! You’ll be reading his news and reviews all day here at 411mania, but be sure to follow him on social media:

And we’ll see you next time for your regularly scheduled Wrestling Fact or Fiction!