I began watching movies since I was 7 and during that age my love for them was extended only to sports and comedy genres. After a few more years, romantic comedies and dramas came into that space. And when I became 11, I read the Sherlock Holmes stories after which I expanded my horizons and the thriller and horror genres came in. After watching Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity I started appreciating the science fiction genre as well and The Raiders of the Lost Ark got me into action and archaeology. But, there is one genre that I still haven’t loved: Superhero movies.
Superhero movies did excite me when I was a kid with nil knowledge about movies. I watched in delight the Iron Man and Spiderman movies but after some time, when I got acquainted deeply with Hollywood, I watched Chaplin, Zodiac, Good Night and Good Luck, Sherlock Holmes and Tropic Thunder. And I noticed a man who stole the scene in every scene that he acted. I saw a man who challenged the other actors with his performances and simultaneously improved their performances. I saw a great actor and then I saw Iron Man and Avengers. Robert Downey Jr. was stereotyped into a genre. That man who jumped within comedies and dramas and romantic comedies and even horror had stopped his routine because he had found the machine that was going to pay for his entire life. Why try to act in front of the camera and then sometimes receive criticism for it when you just have to go in front of the camera and just say some dialogues that the children will admire and make you a public favorite without much effort?
We all know that Marvel will never stop making these movies. There will be another 6-7 sequels for Iron Man and 4-5 sequels to Avengers and Iron Man is part of the third Captain America movie as well and it is reported that RDJ will receive a 40 million plus salary for it. So he will earn what, another 250 – 300 million from the upcoming Marvel movies and by the time they end, he will be as old as Robert Duvall is right now. Then we can all agree that he won’t have much time left to give great performances. He will not be remembered as a great actor, but as the guy who put on a stupid iron suit and although the main work was done by the visual effects supervisor, walked away with a cool 200 mill.
Now, I do agree that the first Iron Man movie was a decent one. RDJ gave a good performance, the screenplay was good and it was enjoyable and sensible but once the first one gained critical and commercial success, the makers gained all the momentum required and started making balderdash. They had a gained a fan following that would be dedicated and would always forgive them for the movies that they make, because they would hope that there would be another one like the first. And by puking again and again over the hopes of the people, they make money.
Another problem with comic book movies is that they sort of appear to be catered only for comic book fans. I pity these fans, I really do. They go these movies expecting a good tribute to these heroes that made them laugh, cry and even inspired them in their life because they got a hero. Mostly nerds read these comics. Although I belong to a different species of the same kind, because I don’t like comic books or movies, I know how many of them feel. They don’t have many people to talk to, they lack the confidence to say something that they want tot to say and these heroes gave and still give them hope. They are given a feeling that there will always be someone who would be their best friend and listen to everything that they want to say and that they would never let any harm befall on them. And the feeling of seeing your heroes or friends in living skin is an experience just like I had when watching Harry Potter. And capitalizing on that feeling to make money is despicable. If you are trying to bring beloved characters that live in words on screen then utmost care should be taken so that they would be perfect to the people who idolize or love or despise them.
Now let us move on to a time when this actually happened, i.e. Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. It was a great move to rope in the guy who had made Insomnia and Prestige and Memento at that time. Nolan understood that although comics are about the good guy kicking the bad guy’s ass, there was actually a drama at their core. Nolan didn’t saw Bruce Wayne as a guy who put on a cool suit and sat in a cool automobile and defeated the bad guys, he saw Bruce as a broke guy who was trying to wipe out the underworld because of the negative impact that the underworld had on his childhood. And the Batman movies don’t have continuous action scenes throughout them; they are shot like a crime drama which is also a character study.
For example, let us analyze the greatest superhero movie villain of all time – Joker. In every shitty superhero movie, you see a guy who wants to make money/ world domination on his mind/ just kills without any reason. But, Joker is broke. He had an abusive father and the love of his life left him which burned his faith in humanity. Then he saw Batman as the guy who represents humanity in its good sense and Joker felt that Gotham should also see humanity as it really is, darkness. Joker is not a freak, he is a symbol of the true nature of human beings, i.e. evil and Batman was shown as hope. And we all know how that worked. I too consider the Batman trilogy as one of the finest movies ever made.
So, in reality, I do not have a problem with superhero movies, I have a problem with the way they are presented. If they are given more thought and care and not just considered as a money making machine for the makers and the actors, then this is a genre that can actually revolutionize cinema and can appeal to its target audience and also the average moviegoer who just wants to see a good movie on the screen.
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