Various factors, including the ongoing impact of the pandemic, mixed project quality, and the rise of streaming services contributing to oversaturation, have played a role in these setbacks. However, an emerging trend might be the influence of darker, edgier superhero shows on the genre.
Amazon’s “The Boys” spinoff “Gen V” and the animated series “Invincible” have embraced more mature themes, pushing boundaries with violence and sexuality that cater to an older audience. While these shows are not suitable for young viewers, they have found a dedicated fanbase, injecting freshness and complexity into a genre that had started to feel formulaic.
Both “Gen V” and “Invincible” explore the moral ambiguity and corruptibility of superheroes. “Gen V” focuses on college-age characters aspiring to join the Seven, a group of morally questionable heroes controlled by a profit-driven corporation. On the other hand, “Invincible” features a dark twist on the Superman archetype, with its protagonist’s father, Omni-Man, being a harbinger of an alien invasion.
These shows, while not directly competing with traditional superhero movies, have created a space for mature, thought-provoking storytelling within the superhero genre. As “The Marvels” aims to reignite the box office, it faces the challenge of attracting an audience that has developed a taste for these darker narratives.