If a genie were to offer me one wish (instead of the usual three), I would ask for the collapse of the superhero comic-book scourge. For these films have transformed the movie-theatre experience, a once-hallowed shrine, into something brutishly primitive and whorishly repetitive. Excellent stuff is obviously being made and seen, but mostly on my 65″ Sony 4K. Dipshit superhero flicks, cheap horror, dumb comedies, family fantasies, romcoms and girl-power fables are tumorous metaphors for the quarter-of-an-inch-deep spiritual vistas and fast-food taste buds of millions of GenX, Millennial and GenZ moviegoers.
When will it all end? In a May 2016 essay that offered “a nuanced explanation of where the industry’s at, how it got there, and what it means for the future of movies,” TimStarz04 predicted a collapse sometime in the early ’20s. The then-current system (slambang superfantasy flicks costing an arm and a leg, and only a small portion of them returning substantial profits) is “unsustainable,” he said, echoing the views of many in the industry (including Steven Spielberg). He specifically theorized that 2016 “will be the first year of the collapse of the Hollywood [comic-book idiot] studio system that will probably take hold by the beginning of the 2020s.”
What has changed over the last 21 months, if anything? The answer is “nothing,” of course, but I’m asking all the same.
“The analogy goes a step further: Just as America has witnessed rising income inequality, the same phenomenon has hit Hollywood movies. Movie revenues aren’t growing much, but a smaller and smaller percentage of movies are claiming a larger and larger share of the total pie. Which movies are the 1 percent in this analogy? Comic book movies.”