Arrowverse Creator Blames Bad Marvel & DC Movies for Superhero Fatigue

By Nathan Johnson Posted:
Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen, Avengers, Justice League

Arrowverse creator Marc Guggenheim recently expressed his thoughts on the recent superhero movie fatigue, specifically regarding the Marvel brand.

When the MCU started in 2008 and Iron Man saw such great success, many were extremely excited for the future of the comic book movie realm.

The MCU specifically capitalized on the growing interest of general audiences and became one of the most profitable franchises of all time. Still, more recently, fans expressed that there may be too many films and TV shows being released too close together, resulting in what many call "superhero fatigue."

The world of DC also attempted to create its own MCU-esque version of an interconnected comic book movie world with the DCEU, but it didn't quite see the same level of success as the MCU.

The Arrowverse Creator Reveals the Problem With Superhero Movies

Arrowverse poster

In an interview on The Aarthi and Siriam Show podcast, co-creator of the Arrowverse Marc Guggenheim was asked about the superhero genre as a whole in regards to how those types of movies are being received by fans.

The podcast hosts specifically compared the current state of comic book movies to the Western genre in the 1960s and asked Guggenheim what his thoughts were on the matter.

The Arrowverse co-creator agreed, but also suggested that fans may be tired of superhero movies because they are "not great:"

"Look, I think so. I think superhero movies are going to become like what Westerns are, which is… it’s a genre that you revisit every now and again. I question how much of this is superhero movie fatigue and how much of this is not-great-superhero-movie fatigue…"

Guggenheim pointed out that this year's Across the Spider-Verse was one of the most well-received superhero movies of all time "because it's done so well," backing up his claim that fans are just tired of films that aren't worth seeing:

"One of the most successful movies of this year is ‘Across the Spider-Verse’ which is a [movie] with all the tropes including the multiverse and it’s a huge hit. Why is it such a huge hit? Because it’s done so well. I mean, it’s so good. So, I personally don’t think of it in terms of the audience is tired or not tired."

The Arrow writer went on to point out how superhero movies "were doing gangbuster business" over a decade ago because the genre as a whole hadn't been too deeply explored at the time. Now that it has, he believes that the negative response to lower-quality films is "good for the business:"

"I think what the audience is basically telling us with their dollars is to us, for a long time, superhero movies that were not particularly good were doing gangbuster business because of just the flywheel and everything. Thankfully, because I think this is good for comic book movies, I think it’s good for the business, I think it’s good for the audience. Thankfully, I think we’re past that…"

Guggenheim also talked about how convenient streaming services like Disney+ are and briefly mentioned how they are now keeping movies accountable and forcing films to be worth watching in a movie theater:

"The audience is basically saying to us, you have got to justify the experience of going out to the theatre and seeing this as a movie, as opposed to waiting a couple of months to watch it on Disney+."

Are Current Superhero Movies Just Not Good?

Marc Guggenheim does present some fairly effective arguments regarding the current state of comic book movies.

It is no secret that reviews and overall fan satisfaction with recent projects within the genre are lower than in the past.

On the MCU side, Eternals, Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania, and Secret Invasion are the three main examples of recent titles that haven't sat well with the general audience. 

All three projects have a 'Rotten' score on Rotten Tomatoes, and many fans immediately point them out when arguing that the genre isn't what it once was.

DC recently released Shazam! Fury of the Gods and The Flash, both of which were deemed extremely underwhelming by the majority of fans.

However, to Guggenheim's point, there have still been some superhero titles that viewers have adored and have performed extremely well at the box office.

As the Arrowverse creator mentioned, Across the Spider-Verse was one of the biggest movies of the entire year and is currently sitting in the top-15 movies of all time on IMDb.

Another extremely successful 2023 superhero project was Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which performed fairly well at the worldwide box office and was praised by many comic book fans.

At the end of the day, it truly does come down to quality. The MCU has always pushed out content at a pretty rapid rate, and if fans deem a title to be worth seeing, the quantity of projects is really never brought up.

The MCU specifically might not be seeing the same amount of consistent success it saw prior to Phase 4, but to say that fans are just tired of superhero movies doesn't seem to be true due to recent successes within the genre.

- About The Author: Nathan Johnson
Nathan is a writer at The Direct where he covers Star Wars, the MCU, and DC news. He joined The Direct in April 2021 and currently writes news and feature articles about all three brands mentioned above, but his main specialty is his knowledge about anything and everything Star Wars.