Why “The Avengers” is just another nail in the coffin of good cinema

Via the Boston Globe:

Hulk, smash.

That’s what Captain America tells the Incredible Hulk to do in “The Avengers,’’ and that’s what the Marvel Comics superhero mash-up did at the box office, smashing the domestic revenue record with a $200.3 million debut.

It’s by far the biggest opening ever, shooting past the previous record of $169.2 million for the debut of last year’s “Harry Potter’’ finale.

Here’s the thing. I saw The Avengers. I’d rate it somewhere between Transformers and Batman Begins (much closer to the former than to the latter). In other words, I moderately enjoyed it for what it is, which is an action-packed movie with all the brainpower of a roll of toilet paper.

But here’s another thing it is: part of a franchise. And as Columbia professor Tim Wu explained in his book The Master Switch, movie studios have grown more and more likely to reuse boring, cookie-cutter formulas for movies, especially when they cost hundreds of millions of dollars to produce. This is most easily done by building (or building on) franchises, with sequels, accompanying merchandising, and the works.

Such has been the case with the Marvel Comics series of superheroes. Once Iron ManIron Man 2, Captain America, etc. became hits, it was only inevitable that the series would continue, no matter how stale or ridiculous the material. (For more proof of this, see every Pirates of the Caribbean movie after the first one.)

So The Avengers is a huge hit, and the likely consequence? Fewer risks taken on better movies.


2 thoughts on “Why “The Avengers” is just another nail in the coffin of good cinema

    • Just watched it. Thanks! It’s a pretty depressing trend…not that I (or anyone else) wants to see more John Carters, but it’s frustrating that the franchise is gradually replacing all else in Hollywood.

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