It is 2016, and I am reposting this, almost without effecting any major changes, simply because superhero/comic book movies over the last 20 years have become ubiquitously repetitive, formulaic, and almost consistently, unimaginatively, interchangeable.
I have enjoyed many – but not nearly all, in fact not even MOST – of the superhero movies that we’ve had over the last decade or so, but honestly it’s getting past the point of oversaturation.
I really can’t wait for the trend to end, especially with the slate of really terrible DC films about to be shat out. We all remember far too well how awful Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel was, and I went in with great expectations because other than that movie about the slutty looking teenaged girls in the mental hospital, I’ve loved pretty much every Zack Snyder movie I’ve seen, especially the Watchmen.
Having seen the trailer, Having downloaded a pirate bootleg of the movie, I can see that Zack Snyder is literally using everything Christopher Nolan hasn’t used from the graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns for the Batman Versus Superman; then he throws in Doomsday and Darkseid from one of DC’s Crisis comic books’ storylines as a set up for the surely-terrible Justice League movie, I saw both the theatrical and the Special Edition – which left me with even more questions than the original – and I will say that this movie absolutely underscores EVERYTHING wrong with comic book movies in general, and the DCCU in particular. From now on I’ll be staying away from comic book movies that aren’t already available either on Netflix or as a bootleg, especially DC movies, at least until they cast a decent Human Being as the Joker.
Every goddamn year we get another glut of superhero movies, and they’re almost always bereft of any dramatic tension (How could there be when you know no major character EVER dies (examples include, but are not limited to, Jean Grey/Phoenix; Professor X; Mystique; Loki; Phil Coulson; Nick Fury; Pepper Potts; Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier; Groot; Batman; Superman, who fucking started to rise from the grave at the end of his movie faster than The Doctor can regenerate) or dies “permanently”,
These fucking movies are almost always they are built upon the cheap foundation of copy-paste plotlines from either the previous entry in the series or from another movie in the “genre”, a pointless overabundance of gimmicky special effects, and a predictable as shit save-the-world-from-apocalypse-in-the-third-act storyline that is virtually interchangeable from one film to the next. Usually the third act is also mainly CG porn, includes at least fifteen minutes of ridiculously over the top combat, and a MacGuffin introduced in and / or chased after in the First Act before falling into / or always having been in the Villain’s clutches by the second act. That MacGuffin not only drives the plot, it often resolves it, frequently in a manner contradictory to what is previously established about that MacGuffin’ properties and / or abilities. Then, of course, is the fact that unless it’s a two-parter the Bad Guy is ALWAYS defeated, and the Bad Guy almost always dies, especially when they’re working for the REAL Bad Guy who shows up a film or two later.
There’s already been so many comic book movies; it used to be they were a rare treat, and a spectacle for their rarity. Now there’s so damn many of them out or coming out that they’re no longer anything special; they’ve become the Expected Staple of Summer.
Just off the top of my head, Strictly pulling from the “Mainstream” Comic Book movies (Therefore not including a lot of pretentious fucking 90s-era and post millennial non-superhero hipster comic books) and a couple of graphic novel titles, I can think of X-Men; X-2: X-Men United; X-Men: The Last Stand; X-Men Origins: Wolverine; The Wolverine; X-Men First Class; X-Men Days of Future Past; X-Men Apocalypse; Wolverine 3; The Fantastic Four; The Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer; Fantastic 4; Ant-Man; Spider-Man; Spider-Man 2; Spider-Man 3; The Amazing Spider-Man; The Amazing Spider-Man 2; The Spectacular Spider-Man; Hulk; The Incredible Hulk; Iron Man; Iron Man 2; Iron Man 3; Iron Man 4; Black Panther; Gambit; Thor; Thor: Age of Darkness; Thor: Ragnarok; Captain America: The First Avenger; Captain America: The Winter Soldier; Captain America: Civil War; The Avengers; The Avengers: Age of Ultron; The Avengers Infinity War Parts 1 & 2; Batman; Batman Returns; Batman and Robin; Batman Forever; Batman Begins; The Dark Knight; The Dark Knight Rises; Catwoman; Superman; Superman II; Superman III; Superman IV: The Quest For Peace; Superman Returns; Man of Steel; Batman Versus Superman: Dawn of Justice; The Justice League; Wonder Woman; Aquaman; Suicide Squad; The Flash; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Secret of the Ooze; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3; TMNT; Michael Bay Presents Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; The Spirit; The Phantom; Sin City; Sin City: A Dame to Kill For; 300; 300: Rise of an Empire; V for Vendetta; The Watchmen; From Hell; League of Extraordinary Gentlemen; The Crow; The Crow: City of Angels; Daredevil; Elektra; Ghost Rider; Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance; Men in Black; Men in Black II; Men in Black III; Hellboy; Hellboy II: The Golden Army; Jonah Hex; Swamp Thing; The Return of Swamp Thing; The Mask; Son of The Mask; Judge Dredd; Dredd; The Road to Perdition; Constantine; Green Lantern; Green Hornet; Deadpool; Guardians of the Galaxy…and so many more it’s exhausting.
And yes, barring the ones that haven’t come out yet, I’ve seen nearly all of those films. I’m not saying I don’t like them; well…I’m not saying I like them all, either. More than a fair share of them sucked pretty hard, and I expect so will more than a few of the upcoming ones, actually. But what I’m saying is, you only eat turkey a few times a year because it’s for a special occasion. When you get turkey all year ’round, eventually you start to crave a hamburger.
This “genre” of film, if one can be so generous as to separate comic book movies from the Fantasy/Sci-Fi Genre, is already out of fresh stories, new ideas, or anything other than Baysplosions and CG porn.
What raises my ire the most about these primary-colour escapades is that they are keeping new, innovative and potentially cinematically-redefining stories from being told.
The only reason Nolan was able to get The Prestige, Inception and Interstellar made is because of his Batman trilogy; and the last installment’s ending was painfully predictable, and neither Bane nor Robin were treated with proper respect for the characters; it says a lot when Joel Schumacher’s Bane was more loyal to the comics in appearance and abilities. And The Dark Knight Rises does not survive repeat viewing: eventually the boundaries of logic are so stretched that not even Gullible Man’s mutant power of the Suspension of Disbelief could make sense of half the ridiculousness that went on in Dark Knight Rises; it was a bad movie.
If we had this much of a hard-on for a specific genre of movies back in the 1970s, for example, you can put good money down we’d have never seen Star Wars. Likewise, would The Matrix or its underappreciated sequels get made today? Well, possibly, but they wouldn’t have automatic “Geek Cred” because even the most ardent of sci-fi fans these days seem completely wrapped up in Comic Books: THE MOVIES! But now the same people that oversaturated us with Superheroes are about to squeeze every last drop out of said same Star Wars franchise. At least we know it won’t suck as bad as the Prequel Trilogy.
I went in to Avengers 2: Ultronic Boogaloo with VERY low expectations, but like a Ferrari slipping under a toll booth barricade, the movie still managed to be worse than I thought. Every superhero movie trope I described above happens in this one, including a new Superhero Movie Stable: Several slo-mo shots of The Gang in Action designed SOLELY to be screen-capped and used as desktop backgrounds.
From now on, I’ll be keeping my eye out for something else; something that’s actually not going to be full of Goatse-sized gaping plot holes and a nauseatingly pointless blitz of continuous CG shots in between cutscenes of tired, oh-snap-riddled dialogue.
I also doubt I’ll be spending money to see another superhero movie in theatres; perhaps I might break this rule for Captain America: Civil War, but the old adage, “Fool me once, shame on you…” is ringing in my ears.
We need fresh ideas, Hollywood. Both for Genre and non-Genre movies. Most of the “chick flicks” my ex-wife took me to were as recycled as the current crop of superhero movies. Enough of the fucking Nicholas Sparks adaptations, goddamn Young Adults Save the World fucking Mary Sue fucking bullshit movies, and FUCK SETH ROGEN AND HIS SELF-AWARE AREN’T I FUNNY LOOK AT THE CAMERA FUCKING SO-CALLED COMEDIES!
Time for something new. For fuck’s sake.