I love comic books. Probably too much. With the exception of a few years in college and high school I’ve been buying them since I was seven years old.
I love movies too. So just about any time a new movie based on a comic book comes out I line up to see it. More and more lately though I find myself disappointed by them. After every Man of Steel or Guardians of the Galaxy my heart gets broken a little more, so I was glad to see Birdman seek vengeance on the evil capitalists who are doing all they can to spit in the eye of two of my three favorite American art forms.
Birdman features Michael Keaton as a mentally ill actor seeking to rebrand himself as a serious thespian after years of only being known for playing the superhero, Birdman. This is perhaps the most cinematically innovative movie since Gravity as it creates the illusion that there is no editing and the entire film was captured in one continuous shot. But the more amazing special effect is Ed Norton. Until this movie I forgot he used to be my favorite actor whose appearance in a movie guaranteed I had to see it. Norton gives a master class in drama as he goes in and out of character in a Broadway play, displaying what a good actor can do in stealing your attention. It goes inside the creative method like no movie has since Black Swan.
Birdman does drag at times when Norton is not on the screen, but it has my deepest appreciation for relentlessly mocking what our superherocentric culture has become eschewing humanity for franchise building. In a society with any decency Birdman would be the last superhero movie ever made. Unfortunately according to this chart that will be not the case.
20 superhero movies in the next three years alone? I’m part of the problem because I keep paying to see these movies hoping they translate the medium of comics I love so much, but more often then not they make me sick. The new movie Interstellar shows an escape route. The movie’s director Christopher Nolan might have made the best superhero movies ever in the Christian Bale Batman trilogy. Interstellar doesn’t reach those heights. It aims to be a deep thinker’s science fiction mind blower. The dialogue is too corny and lacks any double entendres to require multiple viewings. What it does do exceptionally well is chronicle a great adventure in an ambitious manner. Matthew McConaughey is our hero. A great pilot/farmer/engineer/car spokesman who is our last hope to find a planet where humanity can move to since the Earth is dying.
There is an old saying “the play’s the thing”. I’m not exactly sure what it means, but I take it as when putting on a show you should leave your ego at the door and do what you can to give the audience an entertaining/interesting/life affirming time. Interstellar for whatever its faults does blow all of its load on to the screen. It does not hold anything back for future sequels throwing every idea half-baked or not at us. This is especially refreshing when compared to these Marvel/DC movies that aim to have plot lines that will outlive us all. I thank Interstellar for treating itself like it was a special event instead of a two hour advertisement for its next chapter. I hope that the helmers of these 20 movies I will be seeing take notes, but I doubt it.