Be the change you want to see


I have to pat myself on the back — I’ve managed to quit an addiction cold turkey. Yeah, I enjoy super-hero comic book movies. They’re the sugary breakfast cereal of Hollywood cinema, probably not very good for you, but they provide that sweet fast-paced visual gratification we all enjoy. (Hmm, maybe a more accurate analogy would be to compare them to porn.)

Now I wouldn’t mind an occasional popcorn movie at all, so I’m not saying they’re entirely bad. I’m only saying that a little more variety would be good, and I’m looking ahead to a long summer of predictable, flashy blockbusters that will fill the theaters, and in my little town with one dinky two-screen theater, that means long, long bookings that will squeeze out any alternatives. I’m casually boycotting them.

I did not see The Batman. Did it offer any novel insights into a tired genre? I doubt it.

This weekend, the theater was playing Morbius, a comic book movie about a vampire super-hero. No, I don’t think so.

Especially since that vein was satisfyingly tapped about 20 years ago, with the Blade trilogy. Did you know all three Blade movies are currently playing on Netflix? Who needs an angsty grimdark vampire movie when we’ve got this?

Oh, baby. Super cool Wesley Snipes, vampire raves with a synthy sound track, chop-sockey swordplay, and evil vampires turning into skeletons with glowing ash? Jared Leto does not tempt me at all. These are classic movies. Talk to me when you’ve got a new twist on a formula that was perfected decades ago (btw, the Michael Keaton Batman was the best, too.)

I fear I won’t be seeing many movies this summer. The new Spiderverse movie will probably be irresistible and will draw me in, but the rest look dismal. And don’t even mention the horrible Harry Potter…thing.

Comments

  1. says

    I enjoy a good, flashy blockbuster as much as you do. I think we’re both justified in getting a bit of superhero fatigue. I would like some more variety including a few more movies like the amazing space opera “Dune: Part 1” and some cyberpunk like “Matrix: Revelations” in that popcorn movie mix.

    Also, Wesley Snipes is, in general, terribly underrated. Love him in the Blade Trilogy.

  2. fusilier says

    btw, the Michael Keaton Batman was the best, too.

    And Michelle Pfeiffer is the only Catwoman worth watching.

    fusilier

    James 2:24

  3. Walter Solomon says

    I hear they’re bringing Michael Keaton back as Batman for the Flash movie. Anyway, it’s probably time you drop Hollywood, which is formulaic regardless of superhero films, and start watching independent and foreign films.

  4. Chaos Engineer says

    We just saw “Everything Everywhere All The Time”, a multiverse-themed superhero movie starring Michelle Yeoh from “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”. It’s got a couple twists on the usual formula: It’s not based on Marvel/DC, the two main characters are in late middle-age (with an adult daughter), and the standard third-act fight scene isn’t exactly a fight scene.

    It’s really good, the critics love it, and my guess is that it’s not going to break out of the art-house circuit and won’t be playing in the multiplexes but it’s definitely worth a look if you can find it.

  5. says

    I have almost entirely stopped paying for movies. Fuck Hollywood and their economic model that makes them shovel endless spandex punch-ups over the fence. I long for the day that Disney turns the crank and hawks up another star wars derivative and nobody even notices. It’s derivative derivatives of derivative lazy derivatives. I’m shocked that there are still people who care who’s going to represent some cardboard cut-out placeholder for a character in some ridiculous implausible insultingly dumb fantasy.

    In other words, I watch a lot of documentaries.

  6. says

    @3: We need Michael Keaton as old Bruce Wayne in a Batman Beyond live action movie. Seriously.

    I’m fine with the superhero films. It’s an escape from the BS that is reality.

  7. Tenax Raccoon says

    @4 So looking forward to seeing “Everything Everywhere All At Once.” I’m in Salt Lake, and the nearest theater showing it next weekend is 30 minutes away, in Layton. Going to hop on it, though, because it is kinda art-house, and they don’t stay in theaters long.

    The Batman and Morbius just look so dreary and unhappy. There’s nothing wrong with grim-dark, but if a movie is going to be junk food, let it experience and show joy and color occasionally.

  8. hemidactylus says

    I am partial to the Bale Batman movies. I do wonder how Pattinson did, but not enough to go to a theater. The last time I went to a movie was either Free State of Jones or whatever the last Bourne movie was. Bourne would give Batman a run for his money. The batsuit would get cumbersome after 30 minutes or so of parkouring through a cityscape. Then Batman would find out about Treadstone and team up with Bourne in alliance with Salt and Atomic Blonde.

  9. Akira MacKenzie says

    The last theater movie I saw was Ghostbusters: Afterlife back in November, which was OK. Before that the only movie I had any anticipatory excitement for was Denis Villeneuve’s Dune which didn’t disappoint.

    Until Part II of Dune comes out, I’m not waiting for any upcoming movies, bated breath or otherwise.

  10. Akira MacKenzie says

    WHAT A MINUTE… I was wrong. I did see The Batman last month. It was obviously a forgettable movie.

  11. birgerjohansson says

    I will watch a superhero film the day they film The Authority, you know, with Apollo and the Midnighter beating up politicians and billionaires instead of the usual blue-collar crooks.
    .
    And while Dean Koontz is a very uneven author, I would welcome a film about his Odd Thomas character.
    Or why not a live action version of Hellsing Ultimate. As a bonus, Alucard always makes a point of taunting the vatican.
    (Meeting the Vatican’s superpowered enforcer: “Why are you here? The nearest elementary school is ten miles away!”)

  12. marner says

    Speaking of boycotts, pre-Covid, I’d go to 50 movies a year. Last time I went was for “The Invisible Man” on Feb 28th, 2020. Being stuck in a room full of strangers as they cough and sneeze just doesn’t hold the same appeal as it used to.

  13. says

    The last movie I saw in the theatre was The Wizard of Oz in 1998. I hadn’t seen so much technicolor since my last acid trip. And it still strikes me as more realistic than CGI-laden superhero stuff.
    Jeez, what an old grump I’ve turned into.

  14. marner says

    @12
    Do you mean another “Odd Thomas” movie? There was one made in 2013. I remember it being a little disappointing, but not awful.

  15. Walter Solomon says

    We need Michael Keaton as old Bruce Wayne in a Batman Beyond live action movie. Seriously.

    Not a bad idea. I wouldn’t have minded seeing Adam West in that role while he was alive. It could’ve worked as metafiction where the old, campy Batman show from the 60s actually exists in this universe but it was a sanitized fit-for-TV version of what Batman was actually dealing with on the street.

  16. PaulBC says

    Walter Solomon@16

    metafiction where the old, campy Batman show from the 60s actually exists in this universe but it was a sanitized fit-for-TV version

    I like that idea, with or without Adam West, though the idea of watching a satire or over-the-top show about yourself isn’t new. (Done on Lucifer and even Power Rangers sort of, probably many other.)

    It would be kind of funny to have a real Batman watching the show and grousing the whole time.

  17. weylguy says

    Vampire super heroes?! Vampires attack, suck out the blood of their victims, and either kill or convert them into vampires themselves. How can those be super hero attributes?

    I can’t wait for Hollywood to pump out movies in which Hitler and Putin are super heroes. The GOP will love them (they’ve already made Trump a super hero).

  18. birgerjohansson says

    Weylguy@19
    Antiheroes are plenty. Just as Dexter is a serial-killer killing serial killer, so the anime antihero Alucard* is a monster-killing monster. A live action film might work, in the hands of the right director with the right script.
    *Hellsing Ultimate.

  19. Rob Grigjanis says

    I like the Batman animated TV show from the 90s. Charming combo of 50s fashion/cars and hi tech. The Deadpool movies were amusing. Other than that? Yawn.

  20. keinsignal says

    @23: I’ve been watching the old Tick cartoons with my kids and I gotta say, they’ve held up pretty well! The writing and acting anyway, the animation just looks insanely clunky by today’s standards. But the kids don’t seem to mind.

  21. Peter Bollwerk says

    The Batman was actually very different than most comic book movies. It was a bit long for my taste, but it had a film noir cinematography style and focused more on detective work than gadgets and other superhero flashy stuff.

  22. Walter Solomon says

    Rob Grigjanis @22

    I like the Batman animated TV show from the 90s. Charming combo of 50s fashion/cars and hi tech.

    There were two animated Batman shows from the 90s. From your description, I take it you’re referring to the first one. That was my favorite as well.

  23. vucodlak says

    @ weylguy, #19

    Vampires attack, suck out the blood of their victims, and either kill or convert them into vampires themselves.

    That’s the old Bram Stoker/Hollywood vampire trope, yes, but there are very nearly as many different vampire mythologies as there have been cultures on this planet, not counting the umpteen million different variations on the Stoker/Hollywood trope.

    It’s not hard to see why there are heroic variations on vampire mythology, given that the myths themselves are born of the fear of disease, death, and the Other. People who live with obvious disease, or who find themselves cast as the Other (especially because of their sexuality, gender identity, or some other characteristic that sets them apart from the majority of the community) may identify with the vampire, seeing something of the way they’ve been vilified in the way the vampire is vilified.

    Consider, for one example, how similar your description of vampires is to the common homophobic or transphobic description gay/trans people. The ‘phobe claims that gay/trans people attack others, possibly infect them with some disease, and attempts to convert others (especially children). In this light, casting the hated vampire as a hero is a kind of reclaiming.

    None of which is to say that Morbius follows that pattern. I haven’t seen it, and don’t really plan to.

  24. Kagehi says

    You do realize that, if you are anything like your parents, once you are in your 80s or so you will be ranting about how the latest movies are all garbage, and maybe precisely because they are not the current run of massive blockbuster super hero movies, right? Its inevitable. lol

    But, yeah.. would be nice to see something out of Hollowood that is as least based on… well, anything other than a rehash of something they already did. Its ironic that when DC was “fresh”, it was such precisely because it was something actually “new”. But, its still HBO, Paramount, etc., on their streaming services, which are doing Game of Thrones, Shadow and Bone, and others, which are not just rehashes, while the movie theater “experts” are still all going, “What if we remake Sound of Music, but we make it space nazis and use heavy metal!?”, or some insane madness, because they literally either won’t pay people to write anything new, or they all have their heads up their… uh, hmm, and can’t “imagine” someone wanting to watch anything new, instead of just more of the same old crap.

  25. birgerjohansson says

    There is a Chinese pseudo-vampiric folk myth, except they suck out the life force, Chi, from their victims instead of blood. Fun detail: the pseudo-vampires move by jumping with their feet together.
    A Hong Kong film maker made a horror film with jumping vampires. It was not received well by the critics.

  26. birgerjohansson says

    If you want to make a film version of The Sandman and get away with it, I suspect you will need David Lynch.
    As for the TV series, I only know it has had a protracted history, Wikipedia does not mention anything beyond 2021.

  27. birgerjohansson says

    There are some extremely crazy Japanese live action films based on manga and anime. I have watched excerpts on Youtube and they are weird.
    Speaking of Japan, a live-action version with Hollywood-level backing of “Cowboy Bebop” would be very interesting. But I doubt it is possible to improve on the very good anime.

  28. Walter Solomon says

    birgerjohanson

    a live-action version with Hollywood-level backing of “Cowboy Bebop” would be very interesting.

    Considering Netflix cancelled the live-action TV version, I doubt we’ll be seeing a big budget movie version anytime soon.

  29. Kagehi says

    Yeah.. Odd that the live action Cowboy Bebop was, basically, also a rehash, and that they f-ed a bunch of things up, while apparently thinking, “We don’t give a F about the people that watched the anime, but we think our rewrite will make more sense to new viewers, or something…” So, yeah, even the people bringing something “new” to the screen/internet fowl up – probably having hired something from Hollowood to do it, maybe?

Leave a Reply