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Lone Wolf Action Films Vs The Future Of Superhero Films

Mister Pink

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Mister Pink

I think we're heading in to another phase of the lone-wolf action hero genre akin to the big action films of the 80s/90s. The superhero films have been dominating popular cinema for the last 10-15 years while action-flicks have taken a back seat with the odd film here and there rearing it's head to some critical acclaim but not like it was in the 80's/90's. The quality slumped and they seemed a little passe for the last few years. Gone are the glory days of Van Damme, Seagal and Willis.


But now I think we're seeing a return of the lone-wolf action hero film. With the success of films like Taken and moreso John Wick, there seems to be a market again. These films seem to be finding their style and breaking in to the mainstream market in a big way. While a lot of these action films had a lot of style, action and not much substance, there was always something very compelling and thrilling about them. Films like John Wick and John Wick 2 have not only been well received by it's audiences but they're getting a lot of praise from the critics too.


The market has been over-saturated with

.(The link sums up why I think a lot of them are overrated) I'm not a huge fan of them but I do enjoy odd exceptional superhero films, namely the Batman trilogy. I get they're popular and I will try invest more in them.


Are we seeing the end of the Superhero film era and shifting over to films like John Wick, Taken etc? Many big-time directors have spoken out about their dislike of the superhero film genre such as Steven Spielberg, John McTiernan, Mel Gibson, Ridley Scott...


“Superhero movies are not my kind of thing,” he claims. “I can’t believe in the thin, gossamer tightrope of the non-reality of the situation of the superhero.” - Ridley Scott


Steven Spielberg also commented that superhero films will go the way of the western back in 2015.


I'm not bashing those films, I see the culture and the love people have for them. But for some of us, they're a little thin, 2D and don't hold much weight when you cant be invested in the characters. Is this the end of an era for superhero films? Are we seeing a new era of the lone-wolf action hero of the past, like John Matrix or John McClane?


What made me think of all this was seeing the trailer for American Assasin..



Edited by Mister Pink
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Leftist Bastard

The super hero genre isn't going away anytime soon. Marvel is gearing up for possibly their biggest releases yet with two back to back Avengers films and audiences are still interested. The traditional action film never went away, either, they just kind of became mostly sh*t recently which lead to a slight downwards spiral, the same happened with the western towards the late 70's and 80's which allowed for the action hero to spring about. See where i'm going here?


Each decade had its heroes and when they went out of fashion, something replaced them. Super heroes are still the in thing right now.

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Mister Pink

Yes, I'm not saying that the superhero genre is dead. But it could possibly the beginning of the end. I read a lot of people, comics fans and fans of the superhero genre complaining that the market is over-saturated with them. Meanwhile, I'm seeing more action flicks making a resurgence.


Another genre I wanted to bring up was the western genre. There's been a rise in westerns too lately such as Slow West. The Homesman, Bone Tomahawk to name 3 in the last 2 or 3 years.


There's been a string of superhero flops which are arguably cashcows like Baman Vs Superman, Spiderman 2, Suicide Squad and Fantasic Four There's certainly demand but demand doesn't mean quality.


Anyway, I'm not putting them down but there has to be a time where people will have enough and move on to something new. I'm just trying figure out what it is.

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Always been a fan of the lone-wolf action genre, Jackie Chan all the way. Just randomly putting that out there.


If we're strictly speaking about Western action films, I can't think of any good ones between (Bourne Ultimatum) 08 to 2014 (John Wick). There would be that occasion where a new Bond film and a Mission Impossible movie would come out and that would really be it. It was until 2014 where we got films like John Wick, Equalizer, Kingsmen and the Purge Anarchy (I found it better than avg. tbh) where we saw truly great/good action films.


Where this new resurgence for the Western world producing good action movies came from, I have no idea but I have one guess. The Raid (2011). Since 2008 I noticed more and more people jumping over watching great Hong Kong/Asian cinematic flicks. I say 08 because of the film Ip Man. As a fan for Hong Kong/Asian action I haven't seen such a large amount of Western people being attracted to an Asian film. (This is excluding the Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan period in the 90's). People became exposed to 08's Ong Bak 2 which made them research for more films like that such as Ong Bak, The Protector etc. There are so, so many people checking out Donnie Yen action films (SPL, Flashpoint etc).


But what I feel like sparked the new found love for lone-wolf action love is The Raid. The Indonesian film directed by Gareth Evans with a budget of only $1.1 million pulled off some of the greatest fighting choreography and action ever put on screen. This film became exposed to the whole World, it's critically acclaimed etc. Stallone told Gareth that he will attempt to beat it in Expendables 3 (which was not in its league). Multiple, multiple western people love and praise that film including Hong Kong cinema too (Hollywood is attempting to remake it). The praise is for the fighting choreography, how its fresh and brings a new light on fight scenes since many many Western films have done it wrong in the past. This is also why John Wick is praised, for its choreography. Long-takes, wide shots, right angles etc.


The directors of JWick have been trying to sell their idea, to multiple action films, on Gun Fu for many years but were turned down by all of them. It was only when they were brought a script where they could finally shine and put that HK style in the Western world. Now they're going to direct Atomic Blonde, the new Deadpool (which David said he'll, "Re-define sword fights") the new Highlander movie and the next JWick film. These 2 have left a mark and has inspired the director for the upcoming Robin Hood: Origins to which he said it would be like John Wick except with a bow and arrow. With Kingsmen doing its thing with great choreography I can only see action films of this type only getting better, unless filmmakers take it the same way they saw Jason Bourne (2002) to which they miserably failed. Raid 2 was brilliant and the director will be making his own shoot-em-up film, "Apostle" after that Raid 3. And Equalizer 2 will begin filming this year.


The only pattern between these great action films, and the difference to the crappy ones, is the choreography -wide shots, long takes, powerful angles. Bruce Lee has been saying that since the 60's.




As for superhero films, I don't see them slowing down until maybe the next 8-11 years. I can see the trend slowly move down if they begin to adapt strange random characters that only comic fans would care about (seeing there fav character for the first time on-screen).

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Leftist Bastard





As for superhero films, I don't see them slowing down until maybe the next 8-11 years. I can see the trend slowly move down if they begin to adapt strange random characters that only comic fans would care about (seeing there fav character for the first time on-screen).

They did that with GotG and that proved to be a huge success and is considered one of their best IPs.

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They did that with GotG and that proved to be a huge success and is considered one of their best IPs.


I just feel like there will be this plateau and then a slow decline of interest of the films due to fatigue. Unless they keep making them fresh and direct them well then it'll last longer. Gotg was just so fresh, directed well, good humour, brought life to the characters and it escaped us from the usual Earth setting which set itself apart from the Avengers and their members movies. I feel like there will be this fatigue at some point, the equilibrium of supply and demand, I don't know when but I can just feel it in my blood.

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The Time Ranger

My issue with superhero movies is that sometimes they are like a stepping stone for the sequel, a multi million dollar costing marketing platform. I understand that they are designed to make money but an individual movie has to have it's own identity, not just to set up this hero or villain for the next installment. I can't see superhero movies going anywhere though, they have a large fan base and a solid market, it's a relatively safe bet to pump money into them. Also considering how much money is pumped into these movies they are going to go down a safe route, while I like Marvel movies, they have a formula. An action movie can be made on a lower budget, thus allowing more creative control.


I would like to see more action films being made, John Wick showed that this type of movie could do well in the box office, thus maybe opening the floodgates for more of this type of film. A bit like how the R rated Deadpool doing well meant that R rated superhero movies were suddenly viable.


I always enjoyed the 80's and 90's action movies, they were great. Eraser, Commando, The Specialist, True Lies. From Asia there was Hard Boiled among others. Today great action flicks are being made such as The Guest for example. I don't think the days of the lone action hero are over, they could be on the cusp of a resurgence.

Edited by Neon_Dreaming
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