Dennis O’Neil: It’s All Done With Mirrors
So the new Avengers movie only brought in $191,000,000 and change, domestic. Well, we knew it was a loser, didn’t we? Its predecessor did way better – broke the $200,000,000 mark without working up a sweat. Then along comes this loser with its giant robot – a giant robot? Really? What a two-finger job!
Okay, I haven’t actually seen the movie but I’ve certainly been aware of it. All those tv ads, all that hype… I imagine that when I do, I won’t be disappointed. It will be what it is, a professional entertainment done by people who know how to make movies and know how to tell superhero stories.
That hasn’t always been the case: I’ll arbitrarily date the first serious superhero flick from 1978 when the kindly corporation that was, then, my main source of income delivered unto the nation’s screens Superman, a film that was slightly marred by an unevenness of tone but which, unlike most of its forerunners, asked that audiences take it seriously. It wasn’t the Citizen Kane of costumed melodrama, but it was a solid dose of escapist entertainment.
When the darkish Batman debuted decade later and repeated Superman’s success, the superheroic colonization of summer blockbusters began in earnest. Now, the guys in the costumes own the region.
Don’t they? If you wanted to play pessimist, you could interpret the latest Avenger flick’s lavish but slightly disappointing box office performance as a harbinger of an impending end. Have we superheroed out?
At least one commentator thought that might be so and I confess that when I look at Yahoo’s news column and see several superhero stories that really aren’t very important, even as importance is measured in the land of popular entertainment, I wonder if the journalists haven’t anything else to occupy their computers. (The middle east? Racial tensions? Global warming?) It’s the old going-backstage-at-the-magic-show quandary: do I really want to see how all the tricks are done? Won’t that interfere with my enjoyment of them? And if everyone knows the Secrets, won’t that hasten the end of magic shows? And what if magic shows are the only kind of amusement available?
Of course, I can go backstage and not look at how the tricks are done. But do you really think I have that much character? Really?
Ah, the questions we ask ourselves on a beautiful spring afternoon…
Maybe because asking questions about the middle east, et al.is discomfiting.
Let’s think about something else, shall we? I wonder if the forthcoming Superman vs Batman will be any good. And what on Earth can the guys at Marvel possibly hope to do with Ant Man? And will there be a sequel to Daredevil?
Boy oh boy, there sure is a lot too think about!