I am sick to death of superhero movies and origin stories in particular. I am sick sick to death of superhero movies and origin stories in particular. I am sick sick sick to death of superhero movies and origin stories in particular. Because they’re mostly the same flim-flam — the same synthetic, force-fed oatmeal.
I nonetheless saw a very sizable portion of Captain Marvel last night, and because I submitted for a full 80 minutes I think I deserve a pat on the back. Just as Yeshua of Nazareth so loved the human race that he submitted to their doubts and tortures and finally death on the cross, I sat through Captain Marvel out of dumb allegiance and devotion to the potential of movies to deliver something profound or thrilling or extra in some regard.
“Captain Marvel starts out awfully damn busy and time-shifty and flash-cutty,” I wrote last night, “teeming with characters who quip and deceive and spin riddles with the same dry-ironic, less-than-fully-invested tone that ALL superhero characters and villains have always trafficked in, and at the same time switching allegiances and adopting new identities and shape-shifting with ferocious conviction…where was I? Oh, yes, the subject of Captain Marvel vs. Hollywood Elsewhere.
“It finally settles down by going back to Los Angeles of 1995 (Blockbuster, Radio Shack) as Brie Larson‘s Carol Danvers teams up with a nicely CG youthified Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury (looking 36 or 37, smooth complexion, thinner, full head of hair)…at the same time Larson also runs into a grinning Stan Lee on a bus.
“80 minutes into this Deja Vu on top of another Deja Vu, a feeling of profound spiritual fatigue came over me…a voice that began to repeat over and over, ‘You have sat through this tightly sprung, time-trippy, CG-reliant action film before…well. a close relative of it with slightly less emphasis on progressive feminist attitude..it was called T2 and you saw it with your kids in Santa Monica back in ’91, except James Cameron did a better job with the script.”
This morning I am much more on the side of The Hollywood Reporter‘s Todd McCarthy than Variety‘s Owen Glieberman. McCarthy was basically bored while Gleiberman emerged in a respectful and even enthused frame of mind.
HE to Gleiberman: “The origin story as head game”? “Like someone trapped in a matrix,” Larson’s Danvers is “shaking off the dream of who she is in order to locate the superwoman she could be”?
Is the ability to enjoy superhero origin flicks some kind of hard-wired genetic thing? Were you into Marvel or D.C. comic books as a kid? I read comic books when I was nine, ten, eleven. I can remember my grandfather saying to my father, “It’s fascinating how they read these things…what do they see in them?” But then an amazing, life-transforming thing happened. I discovered movies and said to myself, “Wait…these are much better diversions!”
How can you sit through these formulaic Kevin Feige or D.C. Comics heroin sessions and go “yeah!” (And I’m speaking as one who loved the first Captain America and Ant Man films.). How can you do this?
Yes, I know — as urbanized, Hollywood-tethered social media beings on the planet earth in the year 2019, we’re simply not permitted to express negative reactions to a pathfinding, groundbreaking feminist superhero film — the first Marvel superwoman to tough it out, blaze a path, raise high the flag.
For what it’s worth, Larson is enough of a skilled, focused and sufficiently good-humored actress to know how to play her cards in one of these Feige devices but Jesus, c’mon, please…
I was slowly dying last night. A soporific mist had been released inside the theatre, and I could feel myself starting to slowly succumb. The sand was spilling onto the carpeted floor. I became weaker and weaker. The infection was spreading through my system.
Has the distinct possibility that the whole aggressive superhero blockbuster genre, which we’ve all had to grapple with since Iron Man, is in fact more of a cancer or a locust plague than an exciting, adrenalized tentpole series that arouses and reignites the primal 11 year-old child…the Marvel comic-reading kid who resides within most of us? The answer is yes, they are. Really. They’re soul-sucking Magic Mountain rides for submentals. Coated and fused with Percocet, Vicodin, Ocycontin.
We are compelled as professional writers and alleged movie whisperers to engage with these assaultive exercises that numb our minds, souls and senses — numbness and gradual nausea through repetition, through the same tropes, the same moves, the same echoes, the same digital dreamscapes.
Superhero films are nothing less than exercises devoted to the shirking and anesthetizing of the weight and struggle of life…for the fraying of the social fabric, for the unspooling of culture…for the End Of It All…for a spreading poison of corporate sedatives…the formulaic undoing of literally centuries of narrative and dramatic striving, experimenting, searching…represented by a simple-dick preference for rigidly-adhered-to spandex myths.
I don’t know if there’s any point to even saying this stuff, writing these sentences, spitting this saliva. But it’s sickening, truly sickening. Death to the fascist insect that feeds off the souls of the people.