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Superhero films suck the life out of motion pictures, diverting industry resources to insanely expensive “tentpole” films that supposedly prop up other projects.
Today’s superhero films have not yet reached the point where they flat-out suck. But they are getting there.
There are too many superhero films: their storylines are all beginning to run together.
In superhero movies, women are almost always accessories. This is true even if they themselves are superheroines. The men do the heavy lifting; the women serve an ornamental function. This is why we are all the way up to Iron Man 3 and Batman 7, but have not seen a Supergirl film since 1984.
The 12-year-old boys for whom superhero movies are made are not interested in women. They may not even be interested in girls. They are certainly not interested in girls with superpowers.
Today’s global economy is a disaster, unemployment is ravaging the economies of both the developed and the developing world, and the threat of terrorism stretches from Kabul to Moscow, from London to Boston. Superman debuted during a particularly dark time in the world’s history, the 1930s, so it is not surprising that the franchise is being rebooted now.
The most interesting thing about the popularity of superhero movies is that they are insanely expensive to make, yet they spring from a plebian, populist artform. Comic books, at least until recently, were cheap. They were beautifully drawn and exciting, but they were still basically cheap. That was the point. Movies are not cheap, especially not in 3D. Comic book heroes, like football players, have lost all contact with their proletarian roots.
After all, they say, it’s only a movie. That’s exactly right. It’s only a movie. But it’s the same movie – over and over and over again.