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In today’s New York Times Magazine, Alex Pappademas argues for more variety and cinmeatic daring in our superhero movies. Citing X-Men: First Class as an example of a film that has a style and tone all its own, outside of the traditional constraints of a “superhero” movie, he laments that there aren’t more like it.  I mostly agree with him. Though I thoroughly enjoyed some of the movies he criticizes (like Thor), I do think the entire genre would benefit from a little more individuality and creativity. Says Pappademas:

I’m old enough to remember the days when studios assumed that A) only kids liked comic books, and B) those kids were idiots, a mind-set that brought us movies like Joel Schumacher’s contemptible “Batman Forever” and “Batman and Robin,” both of which looked like “Starlight Express” on crank.

But I’m also old enough to remember when Warner Brothers entrusted the 1989 “Batman” and its sequel to Tim Burton, and how bizarre that decision seemed at the time, and how Burton ended up making one deeply and fascinatingly Tim Burton-ish movie that happened to be about Batman…And you don’t have to go that far back for examples of comic-book movies that exploded the genre — less than 10 years ago, we got a Freudian-monster-movie version of Hulk by Ang Lee and Bryan Singer’s “Superman Returns,” with a blatantly Christ-figureish Man of Steel. Each of those films is, shall we say, a problematic viewing experience, but they also represent honest attempts by their makers to impose a personal sensibility on superhero myths instead of just playing to an audience’s preconceptions…You know a genre sandbox has become a prison when a guy who’s never been shy about punching up William Shakespeare’s work is afraid to leave fingerprints on Stan Lee’s.

I’m old enough to remember when a thoughtful, un-ironic piece about super hero movies running in an elite publication like the New York Times would have been pure fantasy.

You can read the full article on NYTimes.com

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