The Batman Star Welcomes Superhero Fatigue For More Original Movies

By Robert Scucci | Published

In recent years, there has been a decline in viewership and critical reception across the board for both the MCU and the DCEU. While comic book adaptations raked in an unthinkable amount of box office dollars for the better part of two decades, it’s safe to say that moviegoers and critics alike have finally reached a level of superhero fatigue that will prove difficult to overcome. Paul Dano, who portrayed the Riddler in 2022’s The Batman, sees this as a good thing because superhero fatigue may very well be what studios need to push themselves into new creative territory that will make way for more compelling and innovative storytelling.

Paul Dano Wants Original Movies

paul dano riddler

During a revealing interview with The Independent, Dano talked about why The Batman was a diamond in the rough among the other myriad superhero titles that have been endlessly projected onto multiplex screens to mixed reception. As we all know, The Batman was a critical and commercial hit despite the looming sense of superhero fatigue that we’ve all been recently experiencing. Operating outside of the DCEU, The Batman offered a change in both pace and tone, as it focused primarily on Batman’s detective work in a way that’s more reminiscent of a neo-noir film instead of succumbing to the typical trappings of your average superhero movie.

The Batman Was A Breath Of Fresh Air

Reflecting on his contribution to The Batman, Dano felt like the film was a breath of fresh air compared to other franchise properties that have told the same story over and over again. The Spaceman actor praised Matt Reeves for his directorial vision and screenplay, suggesting that his unique voice and instinct for storytelling is exactly what the genre needs if filmmakers need to address the diminishing returns that superhero fatigue has caused.

Studios Need To Take Risks Again

superman legacy

In other words, the Robert Pattinson-starring film went against the grain just enough to make viewers interested again. Dano anticipates that ongoing superhero fatigue will eventually lead to filmmakers taking a similar approach to intellectual properties that will make for better storytelling, or deviate from the genre entirely and come up with original concepts that aren’t related to superheros at all. Citing this cultural shift as a critical “what now?” moment for movie studios, Dano is excited about what direction big-budget blockbusters will take now that audiences are craving something new and exciting.

Quality Over Quantity

paul dano the batman

But perhaps the biggest point that Dano wants to drive home regarding superhero fatigue and movie making in general is when the word “content” became a part of the cultural zeitgeist. At the end of the day, cinephiles don’t want to experience content, which implies quantity over quality, but art for art’s sake instead. Dano isn’t alone in expressing this sentiment either, as Robert Downey Jr. has also recently gone on record criticizing the MCU for hurting his credibility as an actor after portraying Tony Stark/Iron Man for over a decade.

Marvel And DC Aren’t Stopping

It’s worth noting, however, that superhero fatigue doesn’t mean that the MCU is going to pump the brakes anytime soon. And with the upcoming DCU reboot on the cinematic front, we’ll probably see more of the same before we see a massive shift in how movie-making is approached. But now that interest in origin stories and multiverse arcs is seemingly on the decline, it’s possible that filmmakers will try to push the envelope in new directions within the genre as well as outside of it.