Marvel broke the superhero movie formula of the 2000s when it gambled with assembling superheroes for a mega-crossover event with 2012’s The Avengers.
It was a big risk considering that it was their biggest project yet and except Iron Man, none of their solo superhero movies had managed to conjure the magical numbers they would have liked.
But it paid off. And the $1.5 billion worth of worldwide viewers meant the inception of the golden age of superheroes.
A new method to this madness had been established and all anyone had to do was play around the idea with a few tweaks here and there they had a billion dollars to show for it.
But it also meant that studios could now take risks in making films and introducing characters that had never been represented in live-action. Characters like Captain Marvel, Black Widow, Gamora, tht are badass women in their own right but would have never become a part of pop culture, had it not been for these films.
Which, quite honestly, has been great for us fans, for the last decade.
Every year, since 2012, we have been blessed with one or more of these movies. You would think that at one point, we would just feel the exhaustion of this never-ending monotony of caped crusaders and apocalyptic threats.
But filmmakers have somehow found ways to change the stories or how they are being told.
Case in point, movies like Logan, where the only thing at stake is the life of the hero. It was a grounded story rooted in the dystopian reality that the X-Men inevitably had to face, despite their willingness to co-habit the planet with humans.
Or a film like Deadpool, whose success meant that Logan could be made into an R-rated film, giving the creators much more space to work.
A film like Winter Soldier, a beautifully written thriller that doesn’t need CGI for its action to look good. It’s pure joy, watching this Mission Impossible-type action thriller that uses the old school method of storytelling with spies and assassins and unadulterated hand-to-hand combat.
And how could we possibly forget what Guardians of the Galaxy did for the whole genre? A string of B-Grade characters from the comics was made mainstream with this film.
I mean, 10 years ago, if someone had told you that kids today would know Rocket Raccoon better than they knew Superman, you would have asked them to piss off.
But here we are. Characters from movies like Ant-Man and GotG have become a representation of the common man sitting in the theatre. They are fans of the Avengers. They are as much in awe of them as we are.
And then there have been the record-breaking behemoths like Infinity War and Endgame. These movies don’t fuck about. They are here to steal the show and shut down whole cities the day they hit the theatres.
Everything about them is a spectacle. I mean, the final hour of Endgame had more goosebump induing moments than all the movies in the last 5 years.
Even the DCEU, despite its failure to consolidate on the foundation that Man of Steel had laid, managed to give us two very entertaining films in the form of Wonder Woman and Aquaman.
And they rounded up the decade with quite possibly the best superhero film of the decade, Joker.
The truth is, the 2010s have been the golden age of superhero cinema. But it has only begun. The unique stories that have been few and far between have become a regular occurrence.
While we talk of films, we often tend to forget what TV has done for the genre. What started off with a formula CW show like Arrow, has speared out and gotten us classics like Daredevil and Watchmen.
This world is crawling with superheroes. So much so that The Boys, a very R-Rated parody of the superhero culture has come into existence.
The next decade is where things really begin to get unhinged, in terms of cinematic brilliance. Bigger risks are going to be taken, better films and shows are going to be made.
But at the end of the day, we will always come back to this decade, the 2010s, that did the grunt work, laid the foundations and undoubtedly will go down as the decade of the superheroes.