My big takeaway: Superhero movies CAN be emotionally engaging if they go SMALL with their plot. An old man dying and dealing with his regrets. A young girl discovering her true self… and a father. A downtrodden ‘gunslinger’ straps it on one last time to face down his ‘shadow’… and bond with a daughter.
You don’t need the imminent destruction of the universe to create meaningful stakes in a superhero story.
The more general takeaway for those of us not writing superhero stories: Write characters who have points of universal connection. Regret. Redemption. Grief. Revenge. Loss. Family. Connection. So many aspects of the human experience which have the potential to create compelling characters in compelling circumstances. That and a strong story concept well-executed on the page…
That’s the foundation of a good script.