Ordering the Gnocchi: a Quick Mini-Rant upon reaching “Peak Superhero”

The movies are a noisier place than they used to be.

Between now and 2021, there are 63 new comic-book superhero movies in the works. 63.

I think it’s time we moved on and cared about telling another kind of story for a little while. I know X-Men: Apocalypse is out in theatres now, but I’m honestly pretty apathetic about the whole business. Not because it’s not great, though I’ve heard it’s not great. Really, I think I’ve just reached “peak superhero,” and the diminishing returns have started to set in.

You can’t cram enough into 2 or even 3 hours anymore to up the ante, particularly as the new conventions solidify. The world is saved from total annihilation so many times every week that it’s just not a story worth caring about anymore.

For something new under the sun, I’m really looking forward to seeing Sing Street, I was completely blown away by Ex Machina, and to expand my mind and broaden my picture of the world, I’m desperately trying to find a theatre that’s screening Dheepan, though for some reason its star Antonythasan Jesuthasan doesn’t seem to generate the same word-of-mouth as, say, Chris Evans.

Have you heard of these movies? No, of course you haven’t, even though Ex Machina gave us the tremendous Star Wars crossover casting of “Poe Dameron,” Oscar Isaacs (now Apocalypse himself), and underused “General Hux” actor Domhnall Gleeson. You haven’t heard of them because, if you attend the movies as much as I do, you’ve been deafened by things that go BOOM.

The fact that Sir Ian McKellen starred in a Sherlock Holmes film last year, and neither you nor I seemed to know or care, is pretty much a testament to the way that film is going. As once-vilified superheroes take over the mainstream, the storytelling that once dominated the mainstream is being shunted to the margins. As comic book geeks become the new cool kids, it’s very soon those of us who love creative cinematography and quirky little fringe stories who will become the new underground subculture, trading Coen Brothers screenplays in community-centre basements the way the comic-book folks used to swap Action Comics back issues in the late-’60s before Comic-Con started in 1970.

Anyone with the slightest culinary sensibility has got to be tired of eating hamburger for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, every damn day at the movies. There may be as many great gourmet burgers out there (the first “Avengers”) as there are soggy gross day-old Whoppers warmed under a heat-lamp (Josh Trank’s “Fant4stic Four”)… but when all’s said and done, it’s all ground up red meat in a bun. Day after day after day, burger upon burger upon burger.

I think next time I go to the movies, I’ll order the gnocchi.


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