Director: Peyton Reed
Production Company: Marvel Studios
I remember when Marvel was a comic book company, creators of sometimes-cheesy print heroes like Spiderman, Iron Man, and the Incredible Hulk. Now they are multi-billion dollar entertainment company, with enough bank revenue for Stan Lee to retire on a private Caribbean island (probably), largely thanks to the insanely popular Marvel Cinematic Universe, kickstarted back in 2008 with Robert Downey Jr.’s inimitable turn as Iron Man.
Superheroes have never been more popular. According to Wikipedia, the first true ‘superhero’ movie was The Mark of Zorro, back in 1920. I would argue that Zorro isn’t quite superhero material, but Batman is, and made his first big screen debut played by Adam West in 1966 (based on the still-amazing TV series). However, I would argue that the true age of comic book superhero movies started in 1978, with Richard Donner‘s Superman. To this day, there is something profoundly memorable about Christopher Reeve‘s portrayal as the Man of Steel, and Donner truly captured the essence of the comics.
What Marvel have managed to do … since Iron Man … is nothing short of astounding.
In this regard, DC Comics truly reigned supreme for the first decade and a half, with 1989’s Batman introducing us to the darker side of comics (one could hardly argue there is much darkness in Adam West), despite the sequels becoming increasingly cringeworthy. Superman and Batman, already the bread and butter of the comic book world, triumphed in the cinematic universe, and Marvel remained sidelined as a second-rate imitator (the same year as Tim Burton‘s Batman, Marvel’s The Punisher was released direct to video).