Friday, May 23rd, 2014

Comic Book Movies and the Forgotten Art of the Ending

During the summer of 2008, as the credits scrolled past, and we sat giddily contemplating how much fun we’d just had watching Iron Man, Samuel L. Jackson sauntered out of the shadows to chat with Tony Stark about “the Avengers initiative.” This could have been a one-off appearance, but it was effectively the Big Bang of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the umbrella franchise and shared setting for a small battalion of Marvel superheroes which now spans nearly a dozen movies and at least one television series over the last six years.

Initially, the big pay-off promised by the MCU—after two Iron Man movies, The Incredible Hulk, Thor and [...]


Our Science Fiction Movies Hate Science Fiction

Ripping off the heads of robots like a sweaty space-age cyberpunk Robin Hood, Matt Damon is delivering future-social-justice this week in Elysium. It's directed by Neill Blomkamp, who brought us the politically charged alien flick District 9. Elysium as well has been positioned to be this summer's antidote to stupid run-of-the-mill blockbuster science fiction films.

Like the alien apartheid in District 9, the division between “serious” science fiction films and “mainstream” SF flicks certainly exists. But the actual boundaries between these kinds of movies might be fairly blurred. What's more, it's not clear any more if these science fiction movies even like science fiction.

When I was nine years old, [...]