Stuporheroes Dept.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2016-01-02 18:00:00 No comments

The missus and I watched the new Avengers and Terminator movies back-to-back over New Years' Eve, and afterwards I repeated a line I've said to other people quite often: It's not that I don't want this stuff, it's that I don't want nothing but this stuff.

I also repeated another line I'm saying more often than I'd like these days: I don't want "another Star Wars" or "the next Terminator". What I want from my mainstream entertainment is something as maverick and left-field as those things were, and which has absolute no connection to anything else going on right now. A wizard, a true star.

Of the two, Avengers: Age of Ultron was arguably the better, but that's still not saying much. The sameness of the Marvel movies is, I fear, invisible to most of the people inside their bubble, in that the superhero tropes strong-arm the movies into becoming a bunch of strung-together action set-pieces. What was fun the first couple of times has now become a grinding wheel.

No real surprises — and in fact, that's the idea, because if there were any real surprises, then neither the hardcore fan contingent nor the mainstream audiences whose bucks fuel these productions would turn out for them in the first place.

So, it's not the superhero concept that's the problem, or even that we want to make movies from the material. It's the way the whole thing can't help but end up as tentpole blockbuster stuff.

Perhaps the real villain here is not the material, but the presentation and the packaging. Look at Daredevil: when you go downscale with TV, you lose the budget and the urge to turn everything into overblown spectacle, but you gain back many other things that matter — like a storytelling mode where things can actually matter again.

It all came back to yet another aphorism I've used to talk about this material: It's not interesting to watch a story where everything can happen and yet nothing makes any difference.

And as far as Terminator goes, this franchise should have been put out to pasture three films back. In fact, that's exactly what James Cameron did. Would that we had heeded him.

Tags: art entertainment movies superheroes