Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Joe Queenan: Superhero tentpoles killing cinema?

Queenan argues women are used as mere ornamentation
Highly recommend Joe Queenan's writing - I don't necessarily agree with all of his arguments, but the opinioniated style of it is refreshing and enjoyable (try Confessions of a Cineplex Heckler - selling for 1p on Amazon!)

A subject he's given views on before, he returns here to the issue of the dominance of superhero tentpole franchises (+ other sundry fantasy/sci-fi epics):
As Steven Soderbergh recently complained, these films are sucking the life out of motion pictures, diverting virtually all of the industry's resources into insanely expensive "tentpole" films that supposedly prop up other projects.
In this article he's particularly focussed on nailing the questionable ideology that he sees as underpinning most of these films. Here's an excerpt - do you agree?
This thing is starting to get old. There are too many superhero films: their storylines are all beginning to run together. It is a genre dominated by the thoroughly unoriginal notion that you cannot trust the government. Even when you can trust the government, you cannot trust all of it. And even the branches you can trust aren't much help, because they are incompetent. To save humanity, one must rely on a bootstrap operation headed by a dedicated go-getter and self-starter. At heart, all superheroes are Republicans.
He also addresses the very much secondary, window-dressing or ornamental role of female characters:
In superhero movies, women are almost always accessories. This is true even if they themselves are superheroines. The men do the heavy lifting; the women serve an ornamental function. This is why we are all the way up to Iron Man 3 and Batman 7, but have not seen a Supergirl film since 1984, or a Wonder Woman film ever (supposedly, it is coming this year). The 12-year-old boys for whom superhero movies are made are not interested in women. They may not even be interested in girls. They are certainly not interested in girls with superpowers.
(read the full article)

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