§ April 6th, 2004 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on

Just to avoid any misunderstandings from yesterday’s post…I do like Superman II…it’s a lot of fun. I just think Superman: The Movie is a better film.

And I don’t mean to come down so hard on the Hellboy film, especially since I haven’t seen it yet. It’s just…well, I enjoy mindless action films just as much as anyone else, but I’m a little tired of the too-usual ending of “good guys win by blowing up some big thing owned by the bad guy,” of which this film appears to be yet another example. I realize that having the good guy stand over the bad guy and declare “ha! My ideology has been proven philosophically superior! I am victorious!” won’t satisfy the usual summer blockbuster crowds, and that blowing up the bad guy’s stuff is the most dynamic visual way of expressing the triumph of good versus evil. I just wish my mindless action entertainment wasn’t so…mindless, I guess.

Although a staple of several Bond films, the most resonant example of this sort of ending for people my age (in their late 70s) would probably be the original Star Wars movie, where the good guy (Luke) blows up the big thing (the Death Star) owned by the bad guy (Darth Vader…okay, really Tarkin, don’t nitpick). It was apparently such a successful ending that Lucas used it again for Return of the Jedi, only the stakes were higher…two big things had to be blown up at the end of this film for the good guys to win.

The worst example of this in recent memory was, as I linked to the other day, the Time Machine “remake” from a year or two ago. Among its many problems (including the fact that your time travel movie shouldn’t become even more boring once the time travel starts) is that, again, the good guy (the Time Traveller, whatever his name was) blows up the big thing (the underground tunnels) owned by the bad guy (Jeremy Irons, I guess). However, unless every Morlock just happened to be in the immediate area of the exploding time machine, presumably there’s still a sizable Morlock population elsewhere that can move in. Sure, the explosion has solved the local problem…but only temporarily.

And, yes, I know not every big blockbuster action film ends this way, but enough do that I’m just growing tired of it. (Of course, if Hellboy doesn’t end this way, I’m gonna look a little silly using that film as the catalyst for this little rant, but I think most of my point, such as it is, still stands.) Again, that’s just how this sort of film ends, it’s the formula, I should just deal with it…but it can’t hurt to want a little more from my B-movie level action films. Or maybe that’s the problem…expecting too much from B-movie level action films.

Reading any connection between this topic and superhero comic books is purely coincidental.

Oh, and here’s my spoiler for the ending of the forthcoming Punisher movie: The Punisher (Thomas Jane) kills the bad guy (John Travolta), probably after blowing up something big the bad guy owns.

The suspense? What he uses to do the deed. A pistol? A shotgun? A grenade launcher? All of the above, and more? I can’t wait to find out.

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