i think maybe i’ve had enough

I think about Logan, Wonder Woman, the new Spider-Man movie, and the second Guardians of the Galaxy movie. What do they have in common? They’re the last four big superhero movies, and in each case I thought, “Hey, that sounds pretty good — I should see that,” and in each case I didn’t bother.

I also saw Dr. Strange on DVD and was not impressed.

I’m not sure why the loss of enthusiasm. After all, I’ve been reading comic books since around 1965, and I still remember the fun of the first X-Men movie, because they got the characters right (even with the stupid plot).

But I think there are a few problems, ones that can’t be solved by how terrific Hugh Jackman and Robert Downey Jr. are. Too many cosmic artifacts, too many cities and famous landmarks torn to shreds, too many ancient evil beings suddenly set free (it was while half-heartedly watching X-Men Apocalypse that I realized how played out this idea was — and it wasn’t that compelling to begin with), etc etc etc.

I do feel very positively about Captain America: The Winter Soldier, though. A threat that the government is working on a way to kill, by remote control, anybody on earth who has caused trouble in the past, or who might cause trouble in the future? Defeated by a man and a woman (ultimately two men and two women), working as equal partners, with no Hollywood romance in sight — just friends?

And with a villain played by a really great actor, not encumbered by weird makeup, prosthetics, or CGI?

That’s a good story.

I think this relates to the appeal of the Fast and Furious movies, despite their own problems.

Dominic Toretto, in the most recent movie, doesn’t do what he does because of some ancient blah blah — he does it because there is an immediate threat to the lives of people he cares about. That anchors the increasingly outlandish stunts and car crashes.

I do still enjoy the Resident Evil movies, not least because they delivered what blockbuster superhero franchises pretty much never provide, which is a satisfying ending.

Or it’s possible that I’m just sick of waiting for superhero movies to be as good as the best comic books — to be as goofy and optimistic as Squirrel Girl, or as earnest and down-to-earth (and funny) as Ms. Marvel, or with the wonderful deadpan humor of All-New Wolverine, or as odd and somewhat creepy as Mother Panic.

Or the moment in a recent issue of Hawkeye when you realize she’s wandered into Robert Altman’s The Long Goodbye? I can’t remember the last time I saw a superhero movie that made me think of Robert Altman.

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