Saturday, May 26

Love | Hate: Should superheroes keep flying off to save each other’s films?


“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is the first of many superhero movies to be released in the inevitable summer explosion of blockbuster films. While anticipation and expectations were high, the film was received with mixed reviews.

Hype continues to build around movies in which multiple superheroes team up; however, many fans question Hollywood’s ability to produce accurate comic book films. Have superhero films suffered from an over-saturation of cameos, or are movies improved with growing superhero team-ups? A&E columnists Nina Crosby and Emaan Baqai discuss the legitimacy of superhero squads in this week’s “Love | Hate.”

Love

When I was 7 years old I decided that my life-calling was to be a superhero. I knew the whole superpower aspect would be hard to achieve, but how could I not want the glory, the internal strife and the chance to team up with the greats?

To be clear, I’m not at the level of superhero geekdom I would like to be. I have yet to read the comics of my favorite superhero series, but I’m viciously loyal to their corresponding movies.

For even the fiercest fan of the Marvel and DC universes, superhero team-up movies are often a point of contention. One could argue that these films lack the gusto and character development of superhero movies which only center around one character. However, team-up movies allow for more expansive character development than solo films.

The appeal of the superhero realm lies in its capacity to be both supernatural and accessible. I feel that singularly-focused superhero films, like “Iron Man,” often thoroughly investigate a character’s flaws, insecurities and strengths, but remain incomplete. When heroes are presented alongside each other, conflict of leadership styles and morals creates valuable dynamics that are both essential to character development, and are highly anticipated by fans of superhero crossovers.

For instance, consider the upcoming “Captain America: Civil War.” In respective Captain America and Iron Man films, both superheroes developed distinct senses of morality in regards to the circumstances they faced. In both Avengers films, the heroes’ opposing senses of loyalty and pragmatism have clashed, setting the scene for conflict. Besides bringing together two favorites, “Captain America: Civil War” sets the stage for further development of both Captain America and Iron Man’s values, characters and human capacity to be victim to their own flaws.

Even now, being part of the superhero realm is enviable. Mastering your skills, growing as a person and hanging out with the legends of tomorrow? I’m down.

– Emaan Baqai

Hate

I’d like to preface this hate by saying that I love superheroes. I worship Batman and dedicate a large amount of my time to consuming superhero media. However, my appreciation for the sanctity of superherodom demands backlash for Hollywood’s distasteful superhero team-up films.

Recently, superhero movies have succumbed to the vulturous claws of Hollywood screenwriters who thrive off of pandering to audiences with obnoxious superhero collaborations. What was once a fun Easter egg challenge has now become a spoon-fed narrative reducing the content of superheroes to how many comics can be crammed into poor subplots.

While Zack Snyder’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” has fooled many audiences with beautiful cinematography and the initial hype of seeing their favorite superheroes sharing the big screen, the reviews don’t bode well. The oversaturation of superheroes teaming up has destroyed plots and cheapened movies.

The gross accumulation of superhero crossover has infiltrated movies and ruined the moviegoing experience. The Avengers movies have become headache-inducing, shoving loosely involved characters into the various films that will be released as part of Marvel’s financial plan. Screenwriters surely can’t expect me to enjoy a plot with a cast list so extensive it’s difficult to keep track of who is even featured in the film – it’s truly getting out of hand.

The stand-alone superhero film exudes more confidence in a character: reliving an origin story and examining how that individual has grappled with their super-heroic abilities. This was exemplified in Christopher Nolan’s “Batman” trilogy, which reimagined the superhero as worthy of detailed attention within an intricate story. New generations were introduced to the Caped Crusader as a sole protagonist, and were encouraged to appreciate the individualization of a superhero. Why ruin such a successful formula for cheap thrills?

This overindulgence in lengthy superhero roll-calls has left me extremely frustrated. I can only hope that the fast-approaching superhero films of the summer, including “Captain America: Civil War” and “X-Men: Apocalypse,” learn from the critical mistakes of these super-zero superhero combinations. Crossover films ought to die now as heroes, rather than live on to become bigger villains.

– Nina Crosby

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