Top Five Superhero Film Tropes I Dislike

by - December 05, 2018

Every genre has its tropes, its cliches and its formula, and none more so that superhero or comic book films. With us getting 5-6 major comic book films every year now, it is no doubt the most popular and influential genre in this day and age. However, there is no sign of that trend continuing as superhero films continually get bigger and better, with more characters and storylines to tell.


Venom (2018) Film Frame
Venom (2018) - source: Sony Pictures

Despite how unique each superhero or story may be, most superhero films have a similar formula and a list of tropes that are used. Most of them, like the costumes or the sidekick, work for the most part. However, there are some tropes that are now simply overused and feel formulaic and basically just repetitive and boring now. Here are my list of the five superhero film tropes that I just want rid of now.

1. Car chase sequences. Most times when I see a car chase sequence, it is normally something that is dragged on for five minutes too long, and a lot of the time can look poorly done. Whilst I enjoyed the car chase sequence in Ant-Man and the Wasp due to the playfulness of the sequence, the Venom car chase sequence was just horrible. It took up a lot of the screen time, did nothing to drive the plot forward and simply looked fake and unrealistic. When done well (usually by Marvel), it can work. Overall though, it's boring and overdone.

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) Film Frame
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) - source: Marvel Studios

2. The love interest, or damsel-in-distress. Marvel is definitely the worst offender of this trope, and it is starting to get irritating. If it makes sense in the origin story or for the characters, then yes it can work fine. We all expect to see Mary-Jane in the Spider-Man movies. However, when you try and put Natasha Romanoff and Bruce Banner in a relationship and not have any other reason to do so than perhaps fan service, then it feels forced and uncomfortable.

3. The death of a parent. Yes, this does come down to the origin story, but it feels too much like copy-and-paste now. Batman. Spider-Man. Iron Man. Black Panther. A lot of times, the hero are motivated to do right and try and save other people simply because it is too late to save their parents. This is not just a superhero trope, but also a Disney trope in general with their princesses. It just seems like lazy writing and I want to see some originality.

4. The giant beam or hole in the sky. We get it, you have money and the best CGI teams available. That does not mean that every evil that exists has to come beaming down the sky onto Earth to try and battle our heroes. Thankfully, this trend has seemed to die down and I certainly hope it stays that way.

The Avengers (2012) Film Frame
The Avengers (2012) - source: Marvel Studios

5. The fake death. This is possibly the most annoying one, and that is purely down to the reputation of what Marvel and DC do in terms of character deaths. In terms of Infinity War, they have four major death sequences excluding the finale. It is already rumoured that two of them could be "fake deaths" or come back to life, and that takes away from the emotion I felt from the film. I am sick of witnessing character deaths being reversed for the sake of a plot, and it just feels fake and emotionless nowadays.

Do you agree with my list? Is there another trope that I missed out? Let me know in the comments below.

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