Superhero movies have become a staple of the modern cinematic landscape, with audiences around the world flocking to see their favorite heroes in action. From the Marvel Cinematic Universe to DC Comics, superhero films have captured the imagination of fans young and old alike.

While the individual stories and characters may differ, there is a certain structure that many of these films follow.

Let's pick it apart together.

Black_panther_0'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever'Credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

What Are Superhero Movies?

Superhero films are a genre of movies that focus on the actions of superheroes, individuals who usually possess superhuman abilities and are dedicated to protecting the public.

These films typically feature action, adventure, fantasy, or science fiction elements.

Superhero Movie Structure

The average structure of a superhero movie typically follows a similar pattern, although there can be variations. Not all these movies are the same, but if you're thinking about trying one, you should be aware of what's expected in many of them.

Here is a general outline:

  1. Introduction: The movie starts with an introduction of the hero, their backstory, and how they got their powers. This may also introduce the main villain or conflict. In Spider-Man: Homecoming, the movie opens with a young Peter Parker (Tom Holland) already having his powers. However, the audience still gets to know more about his backstory and how he came to be Spider-Man.
  2. Call to Action: The hero is called to action and must decide whether to accept the challenge or not. InBlack Panther, T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) must decide whether to take on the responsibility of being king and protecting Wakanda after his father's death.
  3. Training and Preparation: The hero prepares for the upcoming battle, often with the help of a mentor or team of allies. In Wonder Woman, Diana (Gal Gadot) trains with her Amazonian warriors and prepares to leave her home to fight in World War I.
  4. The First Battle: The hero faces off against the villain or a significant obstacle, but usually does not emerge victorious. In Iron Man, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) faces off against terrorists and builds a new suit of armor.
  5. The Dark Moment: The hero suffers a setback or loss that seems insurmountable. This is often the emotional low point of the film. In Avengers: Infinity War, the Avengers suffer major losses and failures, culminating in a heartbreaking ending where half the population is wiped out.
  6. The Climax: The hero faces off against the villain or obstacle once more, using what they have learned from their previous battles to emerge victorious. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America (Chris Evans) faces off against the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) and Hydra in a thrilling final battle sequence inside a crashing hovercraft.
  7. The Resolution: The hero reflects on what they have learned and how they have changed, and the film ends on a hopeful note. InThe Dark Knight Rises, Batman (Christian Bale) has to make the ultimate sacrifice to save Gotham City, but the film ends with hope for the future as Robin (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) inherits the mantle of Batman.

Of course, there can be variations in this structure, such as flashbacks, multiple villains, or subplots involving supporting characters. But overall, this is the general structure of a typical superhero movie.

The_dark_knight_rises_robinJoseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake in 'The Dark Knight Rises'Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Summing Up the Average Structure of a Superhero Movie

Superhero movies have evolved over the years, but the average structure of these films remains a reliable formula for delivering thrilling stories of heroism and adventure.

Whether it's through a tale of redemption, the fight against a powerful villain, or the exploration of the human condition, these films offer a unique perspective on what it means to be a hero.

By understanding the common elements that make up a superhero movie, we can better appreciate the genre and the messages it seeks to convey.

Let me know what you think.