Superheroes are no longer entertaining

Arts & EntertainmentTelevision / Movies

  • Author J. M. Van Houten
  • Published October 9, 2022
  • Word count 1,661

Watching the trailer of ­She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, one would be absolutely willing to believe everything they were getting to see. Perhaps an over glorified sensual scene between two lovers, some great special effects, or less focus on the fan service than on simply a sequel to 2008's Incredible Hulk. Marvel's cinematic universe trailers have that unprecedented way of finding some common ground with every other person on the planet, showing you something they are sure you really want to see, and then, as the radical Marvel book instates, they must hype themselves up during the wait to pour every bit of attention into something as they can.

Before getting into this, the story one individual, who has chosen to remain anonymous, had with superheroes according to their testimony didn't technically have to begin with Disney+. Their first encounter was in very early 2019 and the film Captain America: The First Avenger. When they began viewing the very first frames of this incredible story, they were completely unacquainted with the comic book lore surrounding virtually any superhero. In their eyes the only difference between Superman and other superheroes was that Superman was created first and was 'more popular', and the reasons Spider-Man and Batman didn't have any powers was the reason they were unique to begin with.

So, they naturally were surprised when the superhero action they were expecting didn't start happening until about the third quarter of the 2-hour WWII film. Instead of a superhuman hero who flew and who had cool abilities, he was basically an enhanced human being who flung a shield like a Frisbee disk, and who fought a tyrannical Palpatine-style hothead known as the Red Skull. It wasn't about power, or even much action. It was about sentimentality, humility, and courage.

They liked the film. They would love it even more when they realized why the MCU of all franchises seemed to garner more attention than any other, and that was because of it's incredible shared world aesthetic. Putting Iron Man and Captain America together was the equivalent of putting John Wick and James Bond in the same universe, along with per se Gandalf the Grey; it in a nutshell was doing something so many other companies seemed incapable of having the potential to do. Thanks to the endless amounts of heroes the MCU garnered, more and more began pouring into the following films.

After Endgame, however, this individual decided to start looking through comics for more and more potential predictions on how the world of Marvel would keep working. As it turns out, most of the characters in the comic world were far different than the golden-standardized heroes they imagined. Wanda seemed to this person like just a lost girl who needed a hug; her destiny, all too proved in Doctor Strange's 2022 sequel, was that of a wicked witch who could cartoon-bend reality in the least attractive of manners. Characters like Hulk were downsized and no longer their iconic, heroic alter ego; Spider-Man, who at one point had been the favorite hero of this big brass band, was now taking other versions of Spider-Men like the old favorites Tobey Maguire and turning them into his team members, for no other reason than he somehow has more experience as a Spider-Man than the other two combined, after they fought universe-sized villains like Sandman or Electro.

What disappointed this person the most was the fact that Marvel's heroes were all-prick, no-perk. The prick of it was that the most irritating features of Marvel's comics were being inserted into the movies and shows, while the perks - by their words, sexual intimacy and actually exciting fight scenes - seemed to exist less and less. Superheroes to this person had previously been light and humor, not in the lazy, childish sense the MCU introduced, but the noble, right-doing yet humble and caring people you could easily see in a church pastor. It had appeared at first that the extremes for this universe was serious nobility and sacrifice, or simply fun-loving, eye-pleasing entertainment.

How naïve they were; by the time WandaVision scrolled into post-pandemic 2021, they discovered how dark, spooky and unorthodox these characters really were. They quit mid-show and never got to the ninth episode.

This may seem like an issue of prejudice, but when the person returned to superheroes in 2022, and began shedding just a shred of the same hope they expressed before, all they got was it worse than before. To their testimony, it was absolute shameless and cruel irony that Marvel could depict an evil Doctor Strange rising from the dead, a bloody mess of the Illuminati, and lesbian mothers, but not some actual heroism from Wanda after her obvious mistakes at Westview, some depictions of more classic heroes according to Marvel's high budget and surprise elements, or perhaps a sexually exciting scene from the most recent icon, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. These people went back the MCU expecting either epic surprises or on-screen pleasurability, what they got instead was the worst movies could offer and nothing of the best.

The person began watching superhero films to see people getting saved from impossible disasters, to see superheroes lifting big cars or buildings, and to see awesome special effects. It was never, ever about whether or not these characters were meant to be 'realistic'.

This person has since retired from live-action superhero film-watching. This was their second decision to leave superhero lore forever, with the exception of the children's versions of these brightly colored but darkly filled prodigies. Can it be otherwise stated that superhero fanatics do not understand what entertainment is really all about? Either that, or they knew and now they are trying to get people to rethink their ways, or lose out on a cool fan gathering.

The MCU is not the only emotional failure in theaters or the silver screen. The DC Extended Universe doesn't represent anything except the blatant points of view from it's inconsistent directors. DC Comics itself cannot make a cinematic universe because organization would destroy their aesthetic of iconography. Amazon's Invincible and The Boys are not for children nor for the faint of stomach, and shamelessly throw out bloody violence and bodily harmfulness even DC couldn't take a mouthful of. And the perks in those shows were what Marvel was supposed to be eyeing, only without the feel-good.

Entertainment was, is and always will be about escape. By escape, the definition isn't examining our current society and putting it's controversy into a fictional franchise, then allowing people to 'see struggles through other's eyes'. People do not go to movies for the politics; they don't go to movies so they can be reminded of the problems they have in everyday life and because they can actually find themselves in characters who beat the cake out of people. Violence, drama, and other sources of fodder for the MCU are not the things people vie for when entering the movie theater.

Escape is when you get to get away from Earth-bound logic and see things that can't happen in real life. Toys coming magically to life and running across the screen in spaces we can't fit into may sound boring as a public domain idea, but that's the whole reason Toy Story is such a hit. Big Hero 6 wasn't successful because of superheroes: people just want to see the cool effects and the funny characters. It is scientifically proven that WALL-E will not likely happen in 2810, but people still watch it because they get to see the robot go to space.

Movies are not about focusing on, but forgetting worries. The literal catchphrase of The Lion King is hakuna matata, 'no worries' in Swahili. So why is it that the MCU, despite countless backlashes and controversies, still running? Because of cold, hard cash. Why are they still rich? Because people can't keep getting enough of the cool animated characters who they couldn't see otherwise because they don't know how to animate.

If Pixar made a cinematic universe, there would be no James Cameron movie in existence that could summon more attention than it. But Pixar likes to keep their ideas separate, because for them it isn't about the money. John Lasseter, the linchpin of Pixar's studio, said 'it's about making people happy'.

That is what superheroes no longer do. Cinematic universes focus their lenses not on the happiness in people's faces, but in the money from their pockets. They know how to make a movie attractive, but squander that technological glory on characters regurgitated quite enough long before Kevin Feige was even born. Superheroes have turned from entertaining milestones of fun to radical occultists who show that being a human sucks. It's about trying to control their audience, literally hypnotizing them into submission and holding back rewards while dishing out punishment that they hope the rewards will heal.

There is no happiness in violently tearing apart superheroes limb from limb, stabbing them, exploding them, or threatening them with death or suffering. There is no joy in watching police officers be rendered helpless, something they really never are, and in watching the ideals of society as we know it be trampled down by the fiction that never should've reached reality in the first place.

Superhero followings are not movies; they are misogyny. Not everyone is like the mentioned anonymous; some never escaped from the entanglement of just one more comic book. Superheroes will rope you in and destroy your life, robbing you of the innocence you once sought in entertainment and the fun, funky edge you used to have in life. You will literally go insane from attempting to figure out why and how the science of superheroes work, without ever once acknowledging that it's all just stupid, silly fiction.

Because when you watch movies, they are meant to feel real. And we don't want a stupidly sexist She-Hulk or a murderous, bloody Wanda Maximoff to be real... ever.

Stay away from superhero fiction.

Am a person who cares about others, and what is bothering them.

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