Roland Emmerich is undeniably something of a pioneer when it comes to disaster cinema (movies about disasters, not movies that ARE disasters, though he’s not entirely unfamiliar with those either). The original Independence Day was groundbreaking when it was originally released, there’s no argument there (Its recent sequel? not so much. It spawned a slew of imitations, none of which could quite live up to the mastery of portraying mass destruction that the original was able to. And its influences are still being felt today, be it in the form of superhero blockbuster films or Michael Bay’s infamous Transformers franchise. Emmerich recently spoke to his influence in blockbuster cinema and seems to believe he deserves some credit for the state of the modern superhero blockbuster in a recent interview with Loaded.
“I felt like when I saw some of these Marvel movies or DC movies from Warners. I felt, ‘oh my God that looks familiar to me’. Why is Superman bashing so many buildings? I was actually warned already by Steven Spielberg that this will happen. He said Independence Day will be the most imitated film of the next 20 years – and he was right.”
He’s not entirely incorrect. Short of maybe just Deadpool (a film entirely built upon the appeal of NOT being like other superhero movies), the climax of every superhero film these days seems to feature destruction on a massive scale, the kind that became popularized by Independence Day (Emmerich is also largely responsible for superhero films’ propensity for destroying national landmarks in said sequences). Advancements in CGI have made scenes like that significantly more doable for studios and have become the norm. Love it or hate it, Roland Emmerich is a big part of why it happened. You can send him your thank-you letters or hate mail, depending on which camp you fall in.