Thursday, July 24, 2008

Superhero strain and the number one film on IMDB

Have superhero films peaked? A. O. Scott makes the case that perhaps they have in his NYT's article "How Many Superheroes Does It Take to Tire a Genre?"

I found myself wondering today whether people voted for The Dark Knight as number one for all time on The Internet Movie Database, better than The Godfather, Citizen Kane, Casablanca, and Pulp Fiction (!?!), even WALL-E, in order to justify to themselves the level of hype the film has received all summer, to justify all of the anticipation and focused attention that they have devoted to it. How could it not be number one? What will people do now that the hype is over? And, as Scott suggests, how much does all of this hype ultimately call attention to the limitations of the genre?


JUS said...

It's a good question. Teenagers are apt to promote the current good thing to "best thing ever" status. I did the same thing with Rocky Horror during my own teen years.

Dark Night hype has reached the stratosphere, but for all that, the buzz feels breathlessly sophomoric. It makes sense that as the gestalt of American expression devolves toward adolescence, we should see every new good thing portrayed as something timeless and essential.

Fortunately, the averaging effect of time will preserve the truly great ones like, IMHO, Casablanca.

OMG, like... it was the best film evah!

Dr. K said...

Superhero movies, like any other genre, will have ebbs and flows, but with special effects at the level that they are at now, I don't expect that popularity to diminish very soon.

Also, I have a feeling that the summer of 2008 will go down in history as a significant paradigm shift in Hollywood, where studios realize that there is greater money to be made nurturing franchises with talent that will balance high action and special effects with intelligence and character development. The Indiana Jones movie signifies the passing of the old guard, and Iron Man and Dark Knight usher in the new.