James Wan Explains Why Superhero Movies Are So Popular

Gregory Wakeman - Author
By

Jun. 12 2016, Updated 6:54 p.m. ET

The superhero genre has now become the most dominant in Hollywood, a fact that was underlined earlier this summer when Captain America: Civil War’s $1.142 billion gross pushed the Marvel Cinematic Universe beyond the $10 billion mark.

But why has the superhero genre become so popular? Director James Wan has a theory, and since he is set to direct Aquaman for the DC Extended Universe, he is someone who has been paying quite a bit of attention to these films and knows quite a bit about them. After being asked why he superhero films have become so popular by Collider, James Wan remarked.

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“I think a big part of it is because we’re finally at the point where we can actually tell these larger than life stories and have the technology to make them work.”

“That’s one factor, that we can create these whizz-bang visuals to go with the story and ultimately superheroes say a lot about the society we grow up in. Pretty much all the good superheroes have some kind of social commentary about why they are who they are.”

“It teaches values and so it’s a very important thing. On one hand it works on a surface level because it’s super incredible to watch from a visual feast standpoint but on another level it works on a very human level it works on a very human, emotional level and I think it makes it fun for us.”

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We’ll get to see James Wan’s entry into the superhero genre when Aquaman is finally released in 2018, and, if everything goes according to plan, it will be the seventh installment of the DC Extended Universe.

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Wan will direct Jason Momoa in Aquaman, with the Game Of Thrones actor having already made his debut as the superhero in a brief cameo in Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice. Momoa will follow this up with an extended performance in 2017’s Justice League, which will see him star alongside Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, and Ray Fisher, who will portray Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, and Cyborg, respectively.

After directing Saw, Insidious, The Conjuring, and Furious 7, James Wan was seen as one of the most talented and sought after directors in Hollywood. Warner Bros., the studio that owns the DC Comics canon, soon set out to offer the director his very own superhero film, giving him the option to direct either The Flash or Aquaman.

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James Wan ultimately decided to take on Aquaman over The Flash, and during a recent interview with Uproxx the filmmaker explained why he found the nautical blockbuster more appealing.

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“But the thing that ultimately pushed me more towards Aquaman is I love the possibility of creating a whole new world. I’ve always wanted to do a world creation story and visually create this amazing, incredible, magical kingdom.”

“And also, I love the fact that Aquaman is an underdog character. I love the fact that people like to make fun of him. [Laughs.] I feel the bar is a lot lower and I can have fun with him! […] Everyone makes fun of him! And I actually don’t mind that!”

“What it allows me to do: I think people are a lot less precious with him than, let’s say, you were doing a Spider-Man or a Batman or whatever.”

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Instead of James Wan, The Flash will now be directed by Dope’s Rick Famuyiwa, who replaced Seth Grahame-Smith in this position after the screenwriter left the project back in April.

[Image via Warner Bros]

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