Chris Schulz is the deputy head of entertainment for the New Zealand Herald.

Chris Schulz: We don't need another hero

Chris Schulz says he's had enough of superheroes. He should know - he once was one.
There is no stopping the tidal wave of superhero movie's that will be hitting the big screen. Photo / Supplied
There is no stopping the tidal wave of superhero movie's that will be hitting the big screen. Photo / Supplied

Sitting in a photo album, stuffed into a cupboard at home somewhere, there's a photo of me I'd rather forget. It was taken when I was around 7 years old, and it's become a bit of a family joke.

In it, I'm dressed as Batman, wearing a black suit, cape and mask made by my mum. Wrapped around my waist is a homemade utility belt, complete with bat rope, bat glue and - probably illegal - pointy metallic bat stars that, in my mind, I'd use to throw at crooks to pin them against walls.

Standing on top of my tree hut, with a glint in my eye as I pose in an awkward kung fu fighter stance, I can tell that I really did think I was Batman. Shortly after that photo was taken, I tried to fly from the top of the hut, only to land sprawling and injured in the bushes below.

This is 'Batkid'.

The point of this story is that I'm down with superheroes. If a movie has costumes, capes and crusaders, I'll be there. Robert Downey Jnr's muscled-up tin opener Iron Man? Loved it. Christian Bale's grizzly take on Batman? Brilliantly dark stuff. Thor? Give me more. And Joss Whedon's The Avengers? Only my favourite film of 2012.

Even the recent Lego movie - with its wry Batman jokes and the antics of supercool heroine Wildstyle - was a tonne of superhero fun. I should know - my son makes me watch it every other day. Which only makes what I have to say next all the more depressing. I'm over superheroes. And I know why. There's too damned many of them.

Already this year we've had instalments of Spider-Man, Captain America and X-Men, and next month it's the release of Guardians of the Galaxy, a comedy film based on the Marvel comic books.

Next year, we're getting The Avengers sequel, Superman vs Batman and, er, Ant Man. Oh, and though not strictly a superhero film, there's something set in space with some droids and some Jedis that some fanboys seem particularly keen on.

On top of that lot, Marvel has also announced five new, untitled film projects to hit theatres by 2019. So there's no stopping this tidal wave of superhero sequel-itis.

For me, the turning point was the announcement of Ben Affleck as Batman. I'm not opposed to Batfleck as an idea; I've consigned Gigli to a distant memory and reckon he'll do a fine job. My problem with it is the same reason I can't get on board with the latest Spider-Man trilogy: it's too soon. We've only just finished Nolan's trilogy. Give us some breathing room, guys.

We're also running out of ideas for these films. How many times does Earth need saving from a malevolent force? How many dodgy wisecracks and catchphrases are there? And have we run out of comic book characters to the point we need a superhero raccoon armed with a rocket launcher?

For the record, his name's Rocket Raccoon. He'll be in Guardians of the Galaxy next week. I won't be there. But thankfully, I've found a solution to this superhero overload, and I didn't have to look too far. One flick through the programme for the International Film Festival, currently screening in Auckland, proves there are plenty of original, thought-provoking, action-packed films being made without a colourful costume in sight.

I implore you to grab a programme, pick out some favourites then jump on YouTube to check out the trailers for films like Snowpiercer, Housebound, Life After Beth and Under the Skin.

Maybe, just maybe, you'll find something worth jumping from a treehouse over.

- TimeOut

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Chris Schulz is the deputy head of entertainment for the New Zealand Herald.

Chris Schulz has interviewed some of music's biggest names during his career writing for various entertainment publications in New Zealand. He is a Herald and TimeOut feature writer who covers music, movies, TV and games both online and in print.

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