The Forgettable Superhero Film Trend

About a year ago I wrote that The Dark Knight Rises was quote so epic and so well made that it should be a signal for Hollywood that the time for superhero movies has passed. [1] In the past year Marvel has made two films: Iron Man 3, and The Wolverine, while DC has made only Man of Steel. All three of these films have one thing in common: the are all unmemorable. I saw The Dark Knight Rises three times, and wrote a lengthy follow up on it. It wasn’t a perfect film, but it was well made. I can’t speak for Iron Man 3 because I haven’t seen it, but both Man of Steel and The Wolverine attempt to captivate viewers through two plus hours of special effects and close ups of pectoralis majors (pecks).

The thing that sets The Dark Knight Rises (and the entire Dark Knight Trilogy) apart from Man of Steel and Wolverine is the presence of solid supporting characters. Bane – even though he is incomprehensible for two-thirds of the film – is an interesting and relatable villain. By no means is Bane a quote unquote good guy, but he also isn’t a everything-I-do-is-evil villain either. Officer Gordon, and the police officer Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays are both characters who contribute to the film and are more than just faces on the screen. Without going on IMDB, I couldn’t name another character besides Wolverine in The Wolverine. Once a character’s identity has been established – i.e. the bad guy being established as the bay guy, and the good guy being established as the good guy – the character is left stranded on a developmental plateau. For the remainder of the film, any information about that particular character simply adds to their good/bad stereotype, filling the film with cliches.

An evil scheme by a villain is integral to a superhero film. In The Dark Knight, the Joker believes that Gotham quote deserves a better class of criminal. The Joker will do everything in his power to do this. The Dark Knight Rises sees Bane wreck havoc on Gotham in his attempt to bring revenge on the ruling class &c. &c. These are both simple, and- to an extent- believable. Both Man of Steel and The Wolverine get lost in over ambitious attempts of evil. In fact, I can’t even remember what evil force Superman was fighting against. It had something to do with aliens, big spaceships, and Krypton. The Wolverine is the same deal. Hugh Jackman goes to Japan, turns into Wolverine, becomes weak, and then becomes strong again. Sitting in the theatre watching these films, this is not an issue. Both The Wolverine and Man of Steel provide plenty of visual stimulation to keep a viewer entertained. The second after the films are done, however, when asked “so?”, you’re forced to answer “meh…”. The next three Marvel films slated for release are Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Solider, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Something tells me that all these films are all going to be “meh”.

1. This is in the same paragraph where I compared The Dark Knight Rises to the Mona Lisa, but let’s just forget about that for now.

Edit: August 3, 2013 1404 hours
Wordpress user “Ellid” correctly pointed out a contradiction in this post. On his/her’s Tumblr blog , Ellid points out that quote the author says that Iron Man 3 is unmemorable and then immediately follows up with “I haven’t seen it.” Good God in heaven. Unquote. Thank you Ellid for pointing this out. I am not the best proofreader. That being said, I still stand by the statement that Iron Man 3 is unmemorable, even though I haven’t seen it. I have discussed and read enough reviews to make this claim.

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4 thoughts on “The Forgettable Superhero Film Trend

  1. How can you possibly judge whether Iron Man 3 is memorable or unmemorable if you haven’t seen it? Sorry, but that undermines your entire thesis.

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