Marvel's movies raise cultural questions
Following the box-office success of 'Iron Man,' Marvel Studios has set release dates for its next string of comic-book movies, for characters such as Thor, Captain America, and Ant-Man. The extravagant special effects of comic-book movies don't "exac
Following the box office success of Iron Man, which grossed $98.6 million domestically on its opening weekend, Marvel Studios has set release dates for its next string of comic-book movies, for characters such as Thor, Captain America, and Ant-Man. Marvel Studios—creators of the X-Men and Spiderman trilogies—recently began producing their own movies in-house, with Iron Man and the upcoming Incredible Hulk being the first two. (Entertainment Weekly)
What the commentators said
We do indeed live in the age of comic-book movies, said Jack Donaldson in The Huffington Post. But their extravagant special effects don't "exactly instill one with a feeling of awe for the magic of moviemaking." Just look at how poorly Speed Racer is doing at the box office: “Has anyone been impressed by the kaleidoscopic acid trip” of that movie? The special effects that are truly amazing are those that "seem to fly under the radar," like Chris Cooper's missing teeth in Adaptation or the alteration of historical footage in Forest Gump. CGI movies, however, are just "90 percent tech" and only "10 percent story, acting, and heart."
Say what you will about blockbuster CGI movies, said Anne Kates Smith on Kiplinger.com, but they're working wonders for Marvel Entertainment Group. Marvel recently reported first-quarter earnings above projections, and its stock "is now trading near its highest price since the company emerged from bankruptcy in 1998." And now that the company is producing its own movies, it can hang on to even more of the profits.
In some ways, said A. Asohan on The Star online, we all profit culturally from comic-book movies. Before mass media, elders handed down "collective wisdom through stories" and myths that reflected cultural values, and comic books today extend and continue these mythologies. But "the problem is, as Hollywood brings more comic-book heroes to the silver screen, they’re tampering with the 'soundness' of decades-old mythologies." Movies simplify characters and stories for an audience that prefers "spoon-fed" entertainment. Hopefully, as comic-book movies evolve, so will their cultural mythologies.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
MOST POPULAR ON THE WEEK
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- After Ferguson, we don't need another dialogue on race
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai
- The world is on fire and neither Democrats or Republicans have a clue
- The government is getting into the fact-checking business. Be very, very afraid.
- In defense of Obama's golfing
- A trick for better lunch sandwiches
- Your literary playlist: A guide to the music of Haruki Murakami
- How Democrats might goad the GOP into shutting down the government
Subscribe to the Week