Zacharek and Scherstuhl.
Zacharek and Scherstuhl.


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I think there are a lot of people out there who wish I would stop reviewing comic-book movies! But I'm not going to stop, because I still believe in the possibilities of the genre, though I admit that I'm more interested in depth of character than in plain old coolness (though I do love a good Batmobile). There's also this idea that the big summer blockbusters are critic-proof, meaning that they don't need critics to sell tickets. Well, of course they don't. But no movie is critic-proof in the sense that it can't be somehow illuminated, or opened out, by a writer. Getting people to read it? That part is harder, but I'm not ready to give up yet. And I'm not even Wonder Woman.

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Rather surprised your own Michael Atkinson is not included in this discussion, inasmuch as he wrote (for me) the definitive screed on his blog Zero for Conduct  against superheroic filmmaking in 2008:

"Superheroes are, essentially by definition, idiotic confections intended for children, and the fact that I can’t escape them as an adult so far this millennium makes my blood’s gotten to the point that superheroes comprise the substantial percentage of movie options we have now, in one form or another, and to avoid them as a grown-up you’d have to avoid cinema"

Et, you may be certain, cetera:


THANK YOU. This zeroes in on what I think film criticism must be and on what so many people wrongfully believe it is. 


Great article. I love the give-and-take between two film critics who are trying to stay true to themselves while considering movie-goers expectations and desires respectfully.

For years I've been arguing with people who say "I didn't really like 'Jurassic Park'; the story was too incredible" or "Independence Day" was just so over-the-top unbelievable and, oh, by the way, all the computer virus references in the movie are totally wrong!"

I always had the same response: "What do you expect from a movie about "ALIENS attacking the Earth?' It's just a big comic-book up on the screen."

For too long I've run into people and read reviews that take great pride in their ability to trash a movie based on their own subjective expectations by pointing out the plot in "X-files" is not believable  Oh, really? Wow, you're so deep.  While I do expect a film review to be objective and subjective at the same time (I can dream, can't I?) I also think that look for deep subtext in the Simpsons or Iron Man 3 is missing the point.

It's a big giant comic book up there on the screen. You either like comic book stories or you don't. 

Just like you either like historical fantasy pieces like Game of Thrones or you don't. Don't waste my time quibbling about how something isn't "real enough".


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