It’s Not That I’m Too Old, It’s That Movies Are Too Stupid
Do you really want to dumb down a great comic book movie just because Marvel is successful with humourous movies?
Maybe I am getting old. Maybe I am not part of the intended target market for this geek culture stuff anymore … but the thing is, I am. I love toys. I love figures. I love comic books. I love comic book movies. I have always loved these things. Have a look through the shelves at my place and you will see. I have piles of comics and Hot Wheels and DVDs and BlueRays and figures, and I have been collecting these things all my life. So why must I feel like I am getting old when it comes to stuff that I like?
Simon Pegg answered this with comments about geek culture infantilising our taste
“Obviously I’m very much a self-confessed fan of science-fiction and genre cinema. But part of me looks at society as it is now and just thinks we’ve been infantilized by our own taste. Now we’re essentially all consuming very childish things – comic books, superheroes… Adults are watching this stuff, and taking it seriously!
It is a kind of dumbing down in a way, because it’s taking our focus away from real-world issues. Films used to be about challenging, emotional journeys or moral questions that might make you walk away and re-evaluate how you felt about… whatever. Now we’re walking out of the cinema really not thinking about anything, other than the fact that the Hulk just had a fight with a robot.”
I touched on this sentiment in my previous article (read it here: http://www.theaurical.com/modern-movies-are-tearing-me-apart/ ) and this definitely echoes my thoughts. Naturally, the internet responded in its general misguided manner and as a result, he just had to explain himself. I suggest you read it here: (http://simonpegg.net/2015/05/19/big-mouth-strikes-again/), it is a good read.
To further strengthen this, I refer to what Kevin Feige (President of Marvel Studios) said recently about the Marvel Comics Universe never going “dark”. His comments were put on record in this Reddit thread (http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/kevin-feige-says-the-marvel-cinematic-universe-will-never-take-a-dark-turn-20150512 ) and this is what was written:
“There is no dark turn in the MCU. He says every year fans come up to him and ask him if this movie is when the MCU goes “dark” or takes a “dark” turn. He said while the trailers may seem ominous or have a sense of impending doom, the movies do not have that feel, and will not. He said he “Hoped people would catch on by now” – there will be no giant dark turns in the MCU where it then continues to head in that direction. The humor is in the DNA of the movies, there are no plans to change that.”
What does all this mean? It means that this genre of movies is nothing more than a product. We get teased that the Avengers will face their biggest foe, and that characters like Captain America and Thor will be in great peril, and that Ultron will defeat the Avengers, or will he? Stay tuned to find out!
But what we end up getting is just a string of jokes and no real danger. A character gets killed off, sure, but that was a cop out to give a false sense of tragedy, but then immediately after, it is business as usual. No repercussions. That is what we get with Marvel. And people are now expecting this and believe it should be this way. Obviously kids will watch this, but what about the rest of us?
Look at DC’s upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. That movie promises to be dark as hell. The world is presented as a dark place. Serious things are happening. If DC goes the way of Marvel, it will be even less of a movie than what people currently protest. They want humour and fun, but it should not be that way.
I want BvS to be dark. I want to feel tension in thinking whether Batman or Superman will come out of it alive or not. Of course they will, but the point of true entertainment is that it makes you think that something tragic will happen.
This is what I believe Simon Pegg is talking about. There is nothing behind this product anymore. It is becoming a nothing experience. What if comic book movies, as silly as they are, spoke to issues and used aspirational characters that overcame these issues that gave one inspiration and a place to contemplate how they could deal with their own struggles?
Comic books were like that. One of the greatest comic book stories ever made dealt with real issues in a time when it was seen as a ‘don’t go there’ subject matter in comic books – Green Lantern/Green Arrow. That dealt with serious stuff and the characters had to deal with it. It gave relevance and led to all the great Batman stories by Frank Miller, which in turn is used as inspiration for the upcoming BvS film. Is that a bad thing? Do you really want to dumb down something that can be a great comic book movie just because Marvel is successful with giving us humourous movies?
I say no.
If Mad Max can make a boat load of cash being an R-rated action film, surely an R-rated comic book movie will not suffer? Maybe we do need to get comic book movies that are serious. Maybe we do have to be older.