Why I Dislike Comic Book Movies

(Trigger Warning! Another very biased, stereotyped, uncomfortable opinion!)
I’m sorry but I really dislike all the comic book movies created the past 10 years. The central problem with how we write and make comic book movies today is not just that they all feel the same, but that we are all so used to watching these hyper-violent, protagonist films.

As Americans it’s almost impossible to know anything else…to see conflict as anything less than one protagonist using special skill, power, and violence to solve violence and that the world is nothing less than a militarized violent place that must be bulldozed over to “win”. This is a general American trait but particularly strong in the older generation of post-WW2 people today.

Look at how far comic film has come from the dark conflicted hero of the 1989 Batman to the massive computer generated battles and violent encounters unleashed against Wonder Woman, Ironman, Xmen, and Batman’s today. Hero worship has moved from the psychological to the physical. And that reflects our realistic age we are trapped in.

For that reason the use of comic book characters and themes I feel has jumped the shark, burned out, aged to the point of becoming some absurd comic book character of itself.

I’m still entertained by these films to a degree. But I’ve begun to notice fewer and fewer protagonist, hero-based movies move us emotionally. Not like the first 1977 Star Wars. The reason is simple: These movies are too much like mirrors of our current political, familial, and cultural fears. 

They are in fact about us, unconsciously, not myth, the world, or even the fantasy of comic book themes. They are reflections of the rebellion of ourselves against a world missing family, value systems, and cultural unity we desperately all seek. That is what comic themes portray to me and why we feel the need to write them as we do. We need these films to do that for some strange reason…to reflect our current cultural conflicts. And that’s why they are written that way.
As the younger generation now is influencing our stories on the big screen you will see them embrace even less of the fun space opera Mythology of a 1977 Star Wars or the spiritual visions of a Bladerunner or the horrific themes of exploration in a 1979 Alien, and more and more strive for “social unity” stories and self exploration in future comic book characters…..less the rugged individual and more he/she’s place in fitting into a shattered society so it can be whole again…..with less ties to guns, violence, and war and more focus on the “healing of the Self” imposed on the story. Rebellion against bad government, evil foreign entities, and dark religions is not what the younger kids see as the main conflict in the world today. Those are Baby Boomer themes and priorities which are based on ideas kids today wholly reject.

But we are now drifting off into using comic book protagonists in books and movies as shells of ourselves, as our culture moves from the open, free, spiritual, and mythological explorations of the 1970’s – themes which exist OUTSIDE the Jungian Self – to the increasingly personal and cultural disillusionment themes that lie INSIDE us today in 2017. And that’s very very sad. We can’t know what we are missing in comic film as this occurs. We seem to crave this personal conflict in comic book tropes more and more as a tool to heal our personal disappointment with the world and our real lives it impacts.

Comic book characters for that reason may continue to form a “salve” on the selfish wounds we all carry. We gladly all walk into theaters with strangers to engage these violent yet perfect protagonists and the cultural hidden disappointments and bipolar wars that wage politically inside us and which they portray symbolically on screen. We do so because we can’t be the true moral leaders we seek not embrace fully the flawed people we are. These comic heroes are so ruggedly individualistic like us that they beautifully engage our warring self on the big screen so well. And so we need this strange dance of our selves with these comic book heroes in entertainment.
But long term these movies I feel are very very damaging because of their shallow approach to entertainment…..one where young people are denied yet increasing needing a spiritual mystery and mythological release that realism and protagonist-based story – one which they and the prior generations created – can never feel, know, comprehend, or fully explore.
For that reason it may be time to move on….to leave heroic pulp fiction to its truer medium. After all, it is what the kid in us imagined in comic book fantasy that worked so well so many years ago, not the cultural interpretation found in today’s shallow films.
That’s why I’ve said on my blogs, as we enter this new Metamoderism Age, though the movement starts to heal the deep social and economic disconnect so many people in Western Culture now feel in our plutocratic rich vs poor world, it drives us farther and farther from the mythological and spiritual landscape of the Postmodern 1960’s. That’s exactly what comic book movies fail to achieve….a deeper sense of pathos, tragedy, adventure, and dark exploration.
As we move now 50+ years out from that older cultural norm we sadly will see more and more modern cultural conflict in protagonist film and literature, and less of the mystery of the universe theme and the beauty and psychological horror that still hide inside us in outside of us. Comic book characters today are heroes that are not fully designed to explore the darker self in people today. The Campbell hero-journey in them has died…..trapped in the superficial goo of modern culture.
That deeper spiritual adventure story of the bigger hero into the unknown of the Self beyond itself has now gone underground to sleep awhile until a later more rebellious generation arrives to reawaken the monsters……..the monsters of the Self it must fight and which we are too terrified to explore. In future books and films these horrors will rise up again within the rebellious society that future generations must create if we are to survive……..

– the Author



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