16 March 2015

On the profusion of comic-book and superhero movies

The real problem lies not with the films, but the echo chamber of hype, speculation and analysis, against which the actual number of comic-book movies is that big a deal. To put things into context, critic Devin Faraci crunched the numbers and found that in 1957, 61 "notable westerns" were released in cinemas - and that was before the Italians started adding Spaghetti to the recipe.

The western provides a pertinent historical model for the comic-book movies' future direction. The genre dominated cinemas for decades with good reason, as its mythic themes matured alongside audiences, especially after WW2 when the western offered a reflection of troubled times. A similar trend exists in modern superhero movies, the best of which deliver a genre-inflected commentary on contemporary concerns like the War on Terror.

Importantly, look past the hats and horses, and the western was a playground where other genres happily coexisted: war westerns, comedy westerns, even musicals.

- Simon Kinnear, 'Superpower trip?, Total Film, January 2015, p.39 
Post a Comment