It’s not exactly news to anyone that Hollywood is out of ideas creatively. They have been for at least a decade now. Television and cinema are quite possibly the best examples of how we as Americans love having our favorite shows repackaged and sold again to us. There are so many tangents on this point, but I am going to stick with one that is especially topical this summer: superheroes.
Iron Man. The Incredible Hulk. Hancock. The Dark Knight. I myself am guilty of wanting to see these movies. In May I said I wanted to see them this summer because they looked good, but in truth, of the three out so far, I have only seen one. It is not that they suddenly lost their appeal to me, it is just that I can only watch the same thing so many times in a row and justify paying for it.
Seriously, what is it with pop culture and people with powers lately? Television is littered with them, and for the past few summers, so has the silver screen. There are no plans to stop. Of course there will be a third Batman movie, there will be a fourth Spider-Man movie, there are going to be tons more movies like Iron Man and Hulk because Marvel is building up for an Avengers movie in 2010. Honestly, I really do not want to see it at the moment.
We get it. Society really hates itself and finds itself conflicted, so it needs heroes, and they need to be even more conflicted. That is our version of escapism today. But come on, people, how many times can you watch it re-fed to you? Hero is flawed, hero gets powers, hero misuses powers at first but learns lesson and sharpens skills. Hero fights super villian that is tied in with hero’s origin. Hero wins. Enough!
What about plain old drama, without the super powers? Have we gotten to the point where we find regular people so boring that someone needs to be able to fly in order to make it interesting, or do we just like them because they have guns that are not really guns and do not technically kill people (that we outright see, anyway)?
I am not against comic book heroes making it onto the big screen, I just hate it when Hollywood gets obsessed with a genre. (Remember the heist movie craze that Ocean’s 11 started a while back?) When done well, they can certainly be entertaining, but too much of a good thing is still too much of a good thing. If I have to choose next summer between Antman and a Friends movie, I might pick the latter. I hate that I just said that.
I get why Hollywood is doing it. It is the same reason that we are seeing comebacks of action movie characters from long ago: why take a chance making a movie with a fresh, untested batch of characters and plotline when you can make a movie that you know will sell and then make it into a franchise? You and I are also partially to blame for this. That is why I am writing this, because the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.