The Positive Side of Stale Superhero Movies

I am going to start this by basically proving myself wrong, but I think you still might want to hear me out.

My favorite superhero movie is Batman Returns. Yes, still. After over 30 years, huge leaps in CGI, and billions of dollars being spent into making those movies with a lot of talent behind them, and yet, the movie I like the most is still a weird little personal piece, which was only a hit, because it was a sequel to an actual popular movie.

Anyhow, as a kid I used to read a lot of comics. Well. relatively. We didn’t really have access to that many. We had translated Spider-Man, X-Men and a couple of others, which collected stories from various Marvel properties, like Daredevil, Punisher, Avengers, Fantastic Four and even Alpha Flight at times. Every once in a while I would be able to get an Incredible Hulk issue, which was for some reason imported to our little town from the US.

Now, most of those stories are completely forgettable. We have a villain with a dastardly plan, our hero needs to fight him and come up with a cunning solution against a superior foe. And then you do it again and again. It becomes boring.

But you still enjoy the characters, at least your favorite ones. You even sort of miss the villains, if you haven’t seen an interesting one in a while, which often lead to various faceturns (a wrestling term for becoming a good guy), although those usually failed by just making the interesting villain a boring hero (which also happens a lot in wrestling).

However, the real reason you kept reading was that every once in a while they would hit on something interesting. Either it would get really dark (in a good way, not in the basic bitch edginess of 90s), sometimes it would just get weird and sometimes you would get something poignant.

However, all of this was predicated on there being established characters. We don’t really care if Spider-Man is killed by Kraven in the very start of the story, if we aren’t familiar with Spider-Man and the rest of the story doesn’t work, if we aren’t familiar with Kraven. Same with the death of Jean deWolff at the hands of Sin-Eater. That wouldn’t work either, if the comics hadn’t established her as an important character in Spider-Man’s life as a vigilante. Also, as Sin-Eater is a vigilante as well, that story wouldn’t work if we couldn’t compare the methods of these two individuals.

So, we sort of need to sift through the dregs of all those boring movies, so that someone gets the opportunity to make Logan or Deadpool or Doom Patrol or whatever Gunn has been doing within the genre. The tropes can’t subverted unless they exist.

Of course, one would hope that the industry doesn’t get itself into a complete creative rut, which they have actively been working themselves towards for a while now, which is part of the reason the writers are striking as I am writing this. Good luck to the writers. I dearly hope industry sees the problems in their approach and doesn’t kill of the profession as it now exists as a pure cost cutting measure. Without the writers we will only be getting the boring stuff.

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