How Superhero Movies Became Escapist Fun Again

Christopher Orr—The Atlantic:

we appear to be in the midst of a new, and altogether different, shift in the genre—you might even call it a backlash—which may well provide a more sustainable model for superhero movies to come. As the saying goes: first time tragedy, second time farce. Experiments in supercomedy are taking place with increasing frequency, and meeting with considerable success. The various studios currently churning out stories of flying heroes and masked vigilantes are at different points in their evolution from drama to comedy. But in the steadily growing genre, they are all trending in that direction.

Not all. Black Panther, though not without its humorous moments, was no Deadpool, or even a Thor: Ragnarok.

That said, these screenplays appear to come in two variants; high-brow a la the Dark Knight trilogy and its like, and low-brow: Deadpool, Suicide Squad, and arguably Guardians of the Galaxy and its sequel. Check that. Deadpool was basically no-brow.

How the viewer responds is a function of whether he or she drank the Cool-Aid, in which case all are near-equally terrific, or has a taste for one of the brows. Sometimes there’s a pleasant surprise for fans of the more grim variety of superhero story, like Ant-Man and Guardians.

Color me high-brow. I’d rather one epic Dark Knight trilogy and no more comic-world films than suffer through stories trending toward potty humor for audience titillation.

If you’re a comics-derived film fan, this article was a good read on the state of the industry, regardless of how you take your humor.