In Discussion About Comic Book Films...

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I detest this garbage.

These are bought, sold, over-marketed, "franchise"-films. I find them horrendously constructed, (in terms of dialectics specifically, most of the time these films opt for heavy uses on diegetics, granted, but in the dialect elements of the diegetics I don't see these films/sequences becoming something "larger" than the sum their own parts)... instead it's a lot of "flash, bang, boom," all in the name of making a quick buck... which, (at least for now anyway), appears to be working... but they milk this "buck" to make "more bucks..." yay Das Kapital! Even before you watch the movie your being "primed" out of your wallet. Then buy! Buy, buy, you fools! Buy that: "The Iron Man Toothpaste, but don't forget he needs the Avengers Toothbrush." And wear the shirt that is your favorite superhero... not that it really makes you happy... it makes me, a producer of this tripe, happy because you, the consumer, are marketing me, the producer, my product.

... anyway, this stuff and things like it drive me up a wall...

Anyone in my boat or care to debate this?

EDIT: (As per Yoda's request to clarify)

I don't "like" comic book films, yes. But I made this thread when I was in a bad way. Please forgive me and take this topic as you will. Thank you.
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Imagine an eye unruled by man-made laws of perspective, an eye unprejudiced by compositional logic, an eye which does not respond to the name of everything but which must know each object encountered in life through an adventure of perception. How many colors are there in a field of grass to the crawling baby unaware of 'Green'?

-Stan Brakhage



What would the debate be about? The thing you seem up in arms about is less the films themselves than the marketing and merchandising surrounding them, which it sounds fair to say is coloring your view of the movies themselves. Not that you'd like them otherwise, but if you're this mad about branded toothpaste it's hard to imagine that's not going to sit in the back of your mind watching the films.

That said, I have (and will continue to) generally defend the MCU and the significance of popular culture and entertainment, which I think people misunderstand the value of, trying to measure its value by the same standards they use to evaluate narrower and more challenging examples of the medium, even though they're doing entirely different things.



That elusive hide-and-seek cow is at it again
Considering I still have my original Star Wars curtains, bed sheets, and R2 toy box (!!!1!1!), I may be ready for a *cracks knuckles* fight!
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- Captain Steel



I'll go in on this and say that comic book movies have become the Westerns of this decade. When gunfights, cattle rustlers, trouble with Native Americans and silver mines had just been done to death and become meaninglessly repetitive, they finally and thankfully, mostly died out, even though it took a long time. I guess, since comic superhero movies seem to have been in the same arc for a while, just inventing or reanimating old formulae, they will get tired out too.

I'd like to commission a study on this. Given that costume heroes have seemingly exhausted the world's supply of leotards, that plots have become numbingly predictable, at what point will those movies go the way of westerns. FX and the movie world's ability to imagine new things to animate, seem to have reached some sort of limit too, so what next? Sound quality, number of pixels, etc, have reached somewhat of a limit so where does a genre based on all that really go for its next 20 or 30 movies? Surely it ain't plot lines or dialog, so what else?

Apparently, lots of them are still in the queue, so I guess someone, probably NOT me, will be able to find out.

\https://www.esquire.com/entertainment/movies/a29551205/upcoming-new-superhero-movies/



Can we have your liver then?
Thats always been part of it though yea? make cool movies make some cool stuff too geek out on, people enjoy it.

The way they pump out these movies is what bothers me and i can see that as a cash grab. Marvel please take a breather it will make your films better! 4 Superhero movies in a year is a ton. Sorta seems unnatural and something is being compromised in the haste.



minds his own damn business
There's lots of comic book films that I enjoy and can even be called artistically accomplished: Superman, Burton's Batman, Darkman, X-Men. I prefer Batman Begins as a "serious" take on the genre that mostly works despite some technical issues (sloppy action, uneven editing, that voice), and, for me, the sequels were diminishing returns on those concepts. It also inspired a sizable sub-genre of laughably self-serious grim-porn. I thought that Iron Man was a breath of fresh air, but I do admit to thinking that too many of the Marvel entries are more mediocre. My favorite might be Ragnarok simply because it embraces what a good comic book should be - Saturday afternoon fun. But there is a template to the series that seems contrived and formulaic. For example, Dr. Strange seems like a rehash of the Tony Stark character conflict with better FX. But the Marvel films are still head-and-shoulders above the more cynical product being made by people who assemble scripts like cliche mad libs and consider the audience as pavlovian rubes who aren't interested in things like original stories. I imagine this larger trajectory is what the whole backlash against comics film is all about. People have been burnt a lot in our post-3D surcharge era.



It's similar to what I think about the recent Star Trek films, where I think that the last one is the most entertaining because it seems like a regular Star Trek adventure without any strained attempts at meta-timeline contortions or character subversions, and without a manipulative attempt at moments designed to let the fanboys weep. Just a brisk Saturday afternoon adventure, as much a comic book movie as any of them. The Motion Picture has the most ambitious concept in the series and arguably the most impressive FX, and I adore that film more than most fans, but sometimes we just want a Khan in a fake rubber chest.


I also have a fondness for old serials like Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon, both comic strips in origin. I love the later cheezy film adaptations. And I also really like such "comic book" films like John Carter or Fifth Element.


Star Wars is essentially a comic book movie, maybe the best if not the most significant in commercial terms. Some blame it for that. The problem is that the craft was either lost of displaced. Lucas thought he could make the prequels without acting, while Abrams thought he could make a trilogy without scripts. The arrogance to rely on and substitute technology and regurgitated memes for human elements is a major problem for modern Hollywood blockbusters. Because of the bloated budgets, the economics against risk (ie, ingenuity) is lost, and because of the stakes for return on these unnecessary budgets, what used to be tentpoles became brickwalls, pushing smaller and more unique films out of the production schedule. There has a problem with the growing ubiquity of these kinds of entertainments fueled by these economics, as well as the development of quality home theater and streaming technology that persuades more mature viewers to stay home. The theater experience is now catered to almost exclusively the "amusement park ride" experiences. I love the adventure serials of yore, but I might still want to catch a Welles film in the evening.


I'm all for home convenience, but since the theater dollars still dictate the game, this shift in viewing expectations has a disproportionate influence on production decisions, which are becoming more homogenous. People like A24 and Annapurna pick up the slack on the low end, but most people, outside of larger American cities, will not have an option to watch these films at the theater. Big Hollywood productions are in a self-reinforcing vicious cycle, between growing budget and box office expectations, to cater to an increasingly low common denominator.
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Professional horse shoe straightener
The problem is that the craft was either lost of displaced. Lucas thought he could make the prequels without acting, while Abrams thought he could make a trilogy without scripts. The arrogance to rely on and substitute technology and regurgitated memes for human elements is a major problem for modern Hollywood blockbusters. Because of the bloated budgets, the economics against risk (ie, ingenuity) is lost, and because of the stakes for return on these unnecessary budgets, what used to be tentpoles became brickwalls, pushing smaller and more unique films out of the production schedule. There has a problem with the growing ubiquity of these kinds of entertainments fueled by these economics, as well as the development of quality home theater and streaming technology that persuades more mature viewers to stay home. The theater experience is now catered to almost exclusively the "amusement park ride" experiences. I love the adventure serials of yore, but I might still want to catch a Welles film in the evening.


I'm all for home convenience, but since the theater dollars still dictate the game, this shift in viewing expectations has a disproportionate influence on production decisions, which are becoming more homogenous. People like A24 and Annapurna pick up the slack on the low end, but most people, outside of larger American cities, will not have an option to watch these films at the theater. Big Hollywood productions are in a self-reinforcing vicious cycle, between growing budget and box office expectations, to cater to an increasingly low common denominator.
This is well written, and pretty much how I feel about it. I watched one of these comic book films back in the early 2010s that completely pushed me out of that type of film, and I haven't watched one since as I just know I won't enjoy them. Turns out that It was the best thing to happen film wise as I've discovered so much that I do like instead of watching alot that I was apathetic about. Thank goodness for services like MUBI and BFI.

I'd never say that nobody should watch comic book films, as the money does trickle down to fund other projects.

What I dislike is the toxic fanbase that sometimes goes with it. I said the same on another website where I use the same avatar as here, and a Marvel fan private messaged me, called me all names under the sun, said my avatar was an 'inbred amazonian', called Martin Scorsese a 'wrinkly old scrotum', saw that I was from Wales and said my accent probably 'constantly sounds like a drunk brain damaged German with the flu' and a variety of other insults. There is no debate to be had. It's like a cult with some people. It's a binary argument very much like Western politics at the moment, where it's:

YOU DON'T LIKE THE THING THAT I LIKE

YOU MUST BE MY ENEMY

I MUST ATTACK

YOU ARE A ****** . BLAH BLAH BLAH.

Very, very unhealthy.



What would the debate be about? The thing you seem up in arms about is less the films themselves than the marketing and merchandising surrounding them, which it sounds fair to say is coloring your view of the movies themselves. Not that you'd like them otherwise, but if you're this mad about branded toothpaste it's hard to imagine that's not going to sit in the back of your mind watching the films.

That said, I have (and will continue to) generally defend the MCU and the significance of popular culture and entertainment, which I think people misunderstand the value of, trying to measure its value by the same standards they use to evaluate narrower and more challenging examples of the medium, even though they're doing entirely different things.
Well said.



It's similar to what I think about the recent Star Trek films, where I think that the last one is the most entertaining because it seems like a regular Star Trek adventure without any strained attempts at meta-timeline contortions or character subversions, and without a manipulative attempt at moments designed to let the fanboys weep. Just a brisk Saturday afternoon adventure, as much a comic book movie as any of them. The Motion Picture has the most ambitious concept in the series and arguably the most impressive FX, and I adore that film more than most fans, but sometimes we just want a Khan in a fake rubber chest.
Hey now.




Registered User



The rubber chest urban legend again?








minds his own damn business
Content =/= Quality though



Content is what's on Netflix. Not that I care what is made or what people watch. If I was a producer I'd probably be milking the comic book movie craze for every penny it was worth.



minds his own damn business
90% of what's on Netflix is crap though, the illusion of endless enjoyment.

As I mentioned, I think the focus on "content" (an even more dehumanized label than "product") is indicative of media executive hubris towards its audience. "Content" is the gruel spooned to the orphans in Oliver Twist. "The mouths will eat it if they're hungry enough." It reminds me of the WB executive who complained about the Justice League box office by noting how Batman on a movie poster should have guaranteed a 100 million dollar opening weekend. "Regurgitated memes" are also content. Schmucks gonna schmuck.



Registered User
Content is what's on Netflix.

Indeed, that endless treadmill of "content" that our streaming services have to provide so that vegetative viewers may binge from the cradle to the grade.



The bitter paradox of it all is that there is so much stuff being produced right now that a lot of it MUST be good, arguably moreso than at any other time in human history. And yet we cannot really get to that content because we have to wade through the endless rubble of Soundcloud rappers and hack youthlit authors and would-be Kubricks with RED cameras.



Never has there been so great a need for cultural curation of content. This great swirling toilet bowl of content had giant turds of production (e.g., Netflix) obscuring the truly good stuff that is sinking to the bottom of the bowl in obituary neglect. We need critics, but we have too many of them too!



I dunno.
I'm a film fan.
All of it.
The Passion Of Joan Of Arc AND Ebirah: Horror Of The Deep.
Certainly there are bad movies out there. All the time.
But the Marvel movies just really aren't among them.
While not all of their films have been that great I don't know that many of the 22 of them have been outright bad since they started the real MCU with Iron Man (maybe Thor: The Dark World, and ok, The Incredible Hulk wasn't good and neither of the Iron Man sequels were actually good either, but we've all seen a lot worse movies).
But I will say that I don't see what they're doing overall, and that seems to be what the OP is about, the overall MCU and its continuing cavalcade of hero films, as being a bad thing at all. In fact, quite the opposite, I think it's pretty remarkable. Like, there's nothing else really like it in the history of film. What Kevin Feige and company have done is really hard to believe at times.
And really, these stories are no different than so many others, hero's journeys, good versus evil, friends gained and lost, the stuff so many movies are made of, so why is Marvel so guilty?
I will add that Marvel has also given us a Black King and Superhero, women characters of equal power or even greater to men, a significant LGBTQ character, their actual main character suffering from PTSD, minority and female directors, a tentpole with an almost entirely Asian cast, launching their television brand with a major female character and a major Black character, and more to come. Marvel is using its tentpole give real opportunity and real inclusion to marginalized people on top of telling fun stories that millions and millions of people enjoy.
So no, I just don't see all this as "a cash grab" with no inherent value. I'm getting mythic stories with characters I come to love, long arcs that take time to develop and pay off in the end, interesting ethical questions, not to mention just good entertainment, and a kind of bettering of society as they do it, kinda forcing people to accept that heroes - people - come in all stripes so you better get on board if you wanna enjoy the ride.
Yeah, honestly, they can't make too many for me and I look forward to the next 22.

PS - I would add that the entire MCU is much shorter than either Game Of Thrones or Breaking Bad, so if one enjoyed either of those or any others like them, I really don't wanna hear about too many "episodes" from the MCU. And, in the case of GoT, I definitely don't wanna hear about too many characters in the MCU. It'll catch up with GoT in about another 8 movies. And almost certainly still be more satisfying.



I don't particularly like most superhero movies I see. And I have skipped alot of them. But, in theory, there is no reason they can't be just as beautiful or weird or relevant as anything else. Just because I haven't seen much proof of this, so far, doesn't mean an entire genre is worth writing off.


As usual, with these discussions, it is more the risk adverse money machine attached that is the bigger issue. Not the fact that people like movies about men in stupid outfits.



Recently gotten into reading comics and its convinced me even more that its not possible to make a good superhero movie. At least not with the major league DC/Marvel characters.