Are Modern Superhero Movies All About Money?

DARK KNIGHT RISESOur very own Michael Moran has published a piece over at The Guardian today, digging into the trend for modern superhero movies to be about the rich having rich people problems.

The plot of the first Iron Man movie was centred on a boardroom battle between Stark and his rival, Obadiah Stane. The second focused on a business rivalry between Stark and a rival arms manufacturer, Justin Hammer. Expect more corporate shenanigans in chapter 3, due next week.

Similarly Batman Begins, Christopher Nolan’s feted relaunch of Gotham City’s crimebusting vigilante, involved a corporate sellout from within Bruce Wayne’s own company. There was more of the same in the concluding part of Nolan’s trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises.

So when did popular culture grow up and fall in love with the military industrial complex?

Grow up? Well, that’s one way of looking at it but it certainly doesn’t relate to my experience of growing up. The one where I seem to have less money every day.

And one might also argue that this trend isn’t so new. We’ve also had at least Oliver Queen, Warren Worthington and Danny Rand for a good while, though maybe not on the big screen.

But it does seem to be true that these billionaire superheroes are the ones making billion dollar bank. Perhaps they’re not taking over the form and crowding out the Supermen and Spider-Men and Thors – though he is a rich prince, I suppose – but just trumping them at the box office. Perhaps the promise of playboys at play only adds to the allure?

Now, just for fun, and in case you missed it last time, a financial comparison of Batman and Iron Man from Forbes. Click through to see it at full scale.

iron man batman riches