Hot Takes About Superhero Movies

from Nick Suss

Aug. 7, 2015, 12:02 p.m.

I’ve seen a lot of comic book movies. I haven’t seen all of them, but I’ve seen a lot. I just saw Fantastic Four. I have some opinions. Here, in no specific order of strength, importance, validity or correctness of my opinions, are my opinions. It is important to remember that I don’t think you should agree with me. But I think you should respect my opinions. Even though they’re ridiculous. This goes without saying, but there will be spoilers. So, here we go.

Hot Take No. 1: The Marvel Cinematic Universe is Boring

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a perfect film franchise. It has transformed, revolutionized and led a generation of blockbusters. There have been spectacular films and terrible films. But behind all of the valuable, positive affects it has had on cinema is a dark secret: It is really, really, really boring. Boring doesn’t mean bad. It just means boring. Don’t get me wrong: It used to be fresh. But over the past seven years, they’ve put out the same movie twice a year every year. Sure, Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant Man were risks. But so was Iron Man. Marvel isn’t afraid to take risks because they’ve perfected making the same movie and making it look like a risk. The MCU is the Tom Brady of the movie world. He’s phenomenal. He’s a Hall of Famer and ranks somewhere between the fourth and ninth best quarterback of all-time depending on your views of his legacy. But watching Tom Brady is not fun. There is no surprise. And that’s what the MCU is. The same tired tropes are recycled movie after movie, year after year. And the tropes work. There’s no reason not to go back to the well. But the reason Marvel is rolling in the dough is because they’re not doing anything to hurt the brand. (Though later I will argue that the brand should’ve been hurt a while ago. Stick around.) There’s no reason to change the business model. It’s working. But if Tom Brady is playing on one channel and Brett Favre is playing on the other, you watch Favre. He’s a little more likely to make a mistake, but God knows it’ll be much more entertaining watching him, succeed or fail, than watching Brady follow the system.

Hot Take No. 2: Bruce Wayne is Dead

Bruce Wayne died at the end of The Dark Knight Rises. He sacrificed himself for Gotham. That is the honorable thing to do. I don’t care what Alfred saw. Alfred saw what he wanted to see. And I know what you’re going to say. “How did Alfred know what Selina Kyle looked like?” Yeah yeah, I’ve thought about that. And I know it pokes holes in the theory. But the fact remains that Alfred outright said that he imagined seeing Bruce. And he did it. So I’m going to say that Alfred noticed Selina on some security footage or on a wanted poster or something and used her as a mental placeholder. Or he is a big Princess Diaries fan. Either one works for me.

Hot Take No. 3: The Spiderman Trilogy is the Godfather Trilogy of Our Generation

The first two Spiderman movies are two of the five best superhero films ever made. The third Spiderman movie was incredibly convoluted and disappointing, but gets a bad rap. It’s not the worst comic book movie ever made. It’s among the most disappointing because it’s coming off two damn-near perfect movies. And it’s bad. But I choose to focus on the first two. Just like The Godfather trilogy. I don’t care if you prefer the first Godfather or The Godfather Part II. You’re justified in either opinion. But they’re both masterpieces. And the same can be said of the Raimi Spiderman trilogy. It is and always will be the best superhero trilogy ever made. And that is counting the third one. Just like The Godfather trilogy. One terrible movie doesn’t tarnish two impeccable ones.

Hot Take No. 4: Green Lantern is Better than Multiple Movies in the MCU

Green Lantern is indefensible. It almost ruined my favorite comic book character of all-time, Hal Jordan, for me and turned Parallax into a joke. It was terrible. But Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3 and Captain America: The First Avenger were all worse. I know you love Tony Stark. And I do too. Tony Stark is a friggin’ badass. But that doesn’t change the fact that Iron Man 2 has no redeemable qualities and Iron Man 3’s only redeemable quality is that it isn’t Iron Man 2. Tony Stark is Donald Trump with charisma. In Civil War, Tony Stark will declare himself as a G.O.P. candidate for the 2016 Presidential Election. At least, that’s pretty much what Iron Man 2 set up. And no one wants to see a superhero with PTSD. That’s not fun. Not to mention all of the ruining of the Mandarin that Iron Man 3 did. Let’s not pretend that this series is flawless. It has just as many flaws as Green Lantern, but Green Lantern doesn’t have a kickass movie like the first Iron Man or the first Avengers film lending it some credibility. And speaking of the first Avengers film, Captain America sucks. That movie was two hours of exposition. And the Red Skull was the worst villain since Arnold’s Mr. Freeze. I would rather stare at a wall for that movie’s run time than actually watch it. That’s how little it entertained me. But that being said, there are worse movies. Speaking of which…

Hot Take No. 5: X-Men Origins Wolverine is the Worst Superhero Movie Ever Made

I will get far too angry while typing this explanation if I do. So I won’t explain this take. Just think about this movie and you’ll have an aneurysm. It’s beyond terrible. It makes X3 seem good. And I mean that. Origins is just the worst. The absolute worst. If you like that movie you have bad taste.

Hot Take No. 6: Fantastic Four Doesn’t Suck

I’m talking both about the original movie and the reboot. Neither of those movies suck. Rise of the Silver Surfer sucks. But let’s not talk about that. The original movie is one of the most fun superhero flicks I’ve ever seen. Sure, it makes no sense and rips off everything that happened in Spiderman and no character has any motivation to do anything of value for anyone other than themselves. But that movie has the most fun action sequences of any superhero movie, maybe ever. And at least Chris Evans acts in those movies instead of sleepwalking like he does as Captain America. And the new one. I know it got terrible reviews. And I hated the ending of it. It came way too fast and it was as illogical as batting Jon Lester in the two-hole and Dr. Doom could’ve just killed everyone and the movie would’ve been over. But the movie wasn’t just a bunch of explosions and CGI. It actually took the risks Marvel never wanted to and tried to build a movie around intelligent drama. It failed. Miserably. But I commend its effort. Again, there is a difference between a bad movie and a disappointing movie. This movie was bad. But it was surprisingly enjoyable. And for that reason, I will say it didn’t suck.

Hot Take No. 7: The Bubble Needs to Burst

These movies are fun. I have loved them since I was a kid and I still love them now. Spiderman was the first PG-13 movie I ever saw. The Dark Knight was the first movie I saw multiple times in theaters since Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. (That’s the best HP movie. I will fight you on that.) I laughed harder watching Guardians than I did watching most comedies last year. But the bubble needs to burst. These movies need to stop being made. The market is oversaturated with comic book failures. And the thriving nature of the MCU is making it look like it’s succeeding. But one MCU flop and this market is going to crash. And neither Hollywood nor the fans are prepared for what that happening means. Because there is no creativity left. And not even Star Wars can fix that. And I think this needs to happen. We have too many superhero movies. I’m super duper excited for X-Men: Apocalypse and for Civil War and for Dawn of Justice and for the next Spiderman reboot and for Guardians 2 and for, fingers crossed, a good Green Lantern movie. But fatigue has set in. And we need to take superhero movies to pasture. Retire them for a few years. Kill Tony Stark, have Superman break Batman’s neck and let Wolverine stay drowned with no way of getting back to the surface. And then in 10 or 15 years, slowly bring back the characters we love. Let a new generation of blockbusters have its day. Because if I have to see another two hours of the same story for the fourth time this year, I’m gonna go insane. And still pay 12 bucks for it. Stupid movies.

Hot Take No. 8: We’ll Always Have Batman Forever

In a time like this where superhero movies are a dime a dozen, we need to go back and be thankful for the ones that still stand out. And for as terrible of a movie as Batman Forever was, I’ll be damned if it wasn’t entertaining. Jim Carrey played the hell out of the Riddler. That movie was a beautiful disaster and we should be learning from it, not making fun of it and trashing it. That movie was the quarterback you take in the middle of the first round and he looks like he’s going to be bust after a few years, but you know that if he was managed just a little bit differently, he’d have been a superstar. Let’s remake Batman Forever. Cast Bill Hader as The Riddler, Paul Dano as Two-Face, Aaron Paul as Robin and Bradley Cooper as Batman, tweak the script a little and we’ve got ourselves a perfect movie. Let’s make this happen. If no one wants to write it I will. Because comic book movies should be fun. And they should be hokey. And bad. And implausible. But most of all, they should embrace their flaws. Because I don’t want to watch another perfect comic book movie. I want the Riddler enslaving all of Gotham with an inexplicable mind-control device and a comically insane Two-Face effing things up while Batman and Robin do dynamic duo things. The world needs Batman Forever. Don’t ever forget that.


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