Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Too many superhero movies?

Is it possible that we have too many superhero movies coming out this summer? This thot had not occurred to me until I read Rachel Abramowitz in the LA Times today. She is starting to burn out on the men of steel:
Sp far this summer, I've had my brain pummeled by Robert Downey Jr. flying around in a techno-suit, Adam Sandler as an invincible (and priapic) former Mossad agent, Steve Carell as a nerdy indestructible super spy, Harrison Ford as a Teflon 60-year-old archaeologist, Edward Norton as the incredibly angry green dude -- which I admit I missed but saw the ads. However, I did catch an early screening of Will Smith as a hung-over but still unbeatable superhero. And I still have "The Dark Knight" and "Hellboy II: The Golden Army" to go.

I don't know how many more superhero movies I can take.

Some were good superhero movies. Some were bad superhero movies. Yet, they're all beginning to merge together as a very long series of whammies, and fireballs, and ironic quips. In my mind, which might have been addled by the decibel level in the theaters, Hancock is taking down Indiana Jones. Zohan canoodles and karate chops Agent 99. My butt is kicked. Your butt is kicked. Sigh.
I can see where she is coming from: too much of a good thing, etc. Of course, she's not in the target demographic, as she realizes.
OK, MAYBE it's just me. I'm not a 14-year-old boy; so all this superhero firepower isn't hitting me in the solar plexus.
Looking for a hook to explain this sociologically, she tries out the idea that this is a sign of where we are now as a society.
Author Peter Biskind . . . assures me that superheroes return with bad times.
. . .
"Who doesn't want a superhero when the world is in trouble?" asks marketing guru Jane Buckingham of the Youth Intelligence Group, who studies young people. "Who doesn't want somebody to come save the day when the world is a mess?
Personally, I think this is a fun idea to play with, but I'm not sure I buy it. These movies have been in development for years, long before the subprime mess or exploding gas prices. Iron Man has been around in comic book form for literally decades.

But I'm also not that worried about too many superhero movies. I'm fine with all of them. Also, she blurs genres a bit - Zohan and Get Smart are about normal guys who are just a little special, but don't have any super powers. They're much more action/comedies than superhero movies. As a once-upon-a-time 14 year old boy, this is a key distinction for me. Maybe not for other people.

Going beyond her own lack of interest in any more instantiations of this genre, and refining the political connection, Abramowitz brings Obama into the discussion.
Like all caped crusaders, he is a mysterious cipher, and yet a reassuring figure, like Superman or Spider-Man. And you all know that beautiful, lanky Michelle Obama would look great in her own spandex.
Michelle Obama as a superhero: I am totally there. I'm not sure I want to go into Obama as superhero, because I don't want to be accused of drinking the Kool Aid, but I think there are some interesting ideas there. I will try to keep this in mind as I review more movies over the summer.

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