Coogan cites several reasons for the rising popularity of the superhero genre in film – one is the development of CGI technology and the second is that film producers love pre-developed brands with a built in audience. The third and most insightful observation for us for the intensification of film productions and the strong audience response is the following:
... the primary difference is respect – respect for the material. The main difference between Batman and Robin and Batman Begins is that Joel Schumacher doesn't respect Batman, but Christopper Nolan and David Goyer do. Superman 1 and most of Superman II were good because of the accident of Richard Donner being a fan – the Salkinds didn't know he was a fan, they hired him because of the success of The Omen.But look at the scenes he filmed for Superman II and compare them to Richard Lester's – the difference is respect. Hollywood has somehow learned to give superhero movies to directors who respect the material and most oftens are fans themselves – one can say that the inmates have taken over the asylum, but it turns out they're crazy about running the place, not just crazy.
Go read Part I and Part 2 and "Mythic Archetypes and all that Superhero Jazz" NOW! Then let us know what you think.