It's not your imagination: We've been in a superhero-movie boom for nearly two decades now. But as Hollywood continues to reboot old franchises and stir up support for even the most obscure comic-book characters, Cillian Murphy, like many of us, has to ask: Are we running out of caped crusader stories to adapt?
“Have they exhausted every single comic book ever?” Murphy asked from a giant, comfy chair in his New York hotel room during a recent Vulture interview for his upcoming film Anthropoid. “I don’t know where they’re coming from anymore.” It’s an interesting question coming from Murphy, who played Dr. Jonathan Crane a.k.a. Scarecrow in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises. Those three films debuted just as easily accessible special effects helped create a boom of movies specifically engineered to metastasize overseas, yielding the glut of half-baked, spandex-laden films that have come since.
“It was a different time back when we made Batman Begins,” Murphy said. "I think that Chris [Nolan] has to take credit for making that trilogy of films. I think they’re so grounded in a relatable reality."
“Nobody in those films ever had a superpower,” he continued. “Do you know what I mean? It’s a slightly heightened level of storytelling, where New York is Gotham, and no one did anything magical. Batman in his movies just did a lot of pushups and was, like, British. So that’s what I loved about them. My kids love the Marvel movies, but I don’t know. I don’t watch them.”
From over on the couch, Murphy's Anthropoid co-star Jamie Dornan perked up and chimed in.
“Do you remember when you were a kid, and you used to go, like, 'Who would win in a fight, Batman or Superman?' That’s exactly what studios are doing now,” Dornan said. “They’re having those kind of playful oppositions of, 'Oh, who do you think would win in a race between these two?' And then they’re going, 'Oh, why don’t we make a bloody movie about it?' It’s like a day at the playground.”
“I reckon they’re going to make a movie of Rice Krispies starring Snap, Crackle, and Pop,” Murphy said with a laugh. “I’m hoping to play Crackle.”
“I’ll play Pop,” Dornan said.
You heard it here first.