Both "X-Men" and "Blade" made LESS than "batman returns" and "batman forever." Far from "becoming a joke," "Batman Returns" and "Batman Forever" were successfull blockbusters. Only "Batman and Robin" was a bomb, and that was '97.
Yeah, people often lump the Schumacher films together these days, but Batman Forever
was a big hit. If Schumacher had kept things at that level, rather than dialing it up to 11, he probably would have ended up making Batman films for some time to come.
I still go with "Spider-Man" starting the modern wave.
I'd say X-Men
started it and Spider-Man