Anonymous asked: The title of your Winter Soldier post summed up my thoughts exactly. Holy fuck but it literally looks like a cable drama (Joss Whedon needs to be strung up for allowing that lighting to become a thing). You're wrong about Iron Man 3, though; it's totally a Shane Black movie, just not enough of/a particularly good one. Still the most watchable of the new batch.
The thing I like about Shane Black movies (and some other 80’s action movies to a lesser extent; but at least Die Hard, which is perfect)— and I think what modern blockbusters have strayed from to their detriment— is the heroes are Messed Up. They’re not okay; society doesn’t really have a place for them— Geena Davis in Long Kiss Goodnight can’t be a homemaker because she’s a killer, Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon can’t be a family man like Danny Glover because he’s lethal and also a weapon, Downey Jr. in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang has one of my favorite things where he says something like, “I’m not saying it’s normal— I’m not saying I’m normal”; etc. Modern special effects blockbusters don’t have those kinds of characters— it’s all Chosen Ones and prophecies and all that crap, instead of Bill Murray in Meatballs. I don’t know why— this country got more evangelical? People got less accepting of actual outcasts (the nerds never won)? No clue.
I identify with fuck-ups lots, for obvious reasons, so that is the kinda stuff I’m into. And so, Iron Man 3— if it had any of that to it, I missed it. The fact it was set at Christmas didn’t mean much when fundamentally, I felt like the stuff I think of as being his real hallmarks wasn’t there, the stuff I get into. Downey Jr. had a “nervous condition”, they tried to jam in a neuroses, but it never felt all that real and I don’t remember it getting resolved in any meaningful way…
And the ending, I just remember it all being special effects and Gwyneth Paltrow’s weird stomach. The idea of the main character having to defeat the bad guys in order to be in some way healed wasn’t there (which I think is how his other movies have ended, the healing power of violence— Bruce Willis being gloomy all movie and then finally being happy enough to dance a jig because he threw a guy onto helicopter blades). Take away the main character healing and/or coming to grips with his world (e.g. Mel Gibson having to beat up Gary Busey outside the family home) and it’s just… What’s there to root for without that stuff? I don’t know. Not much. So for me it always felt authored and muddled by executives, and consultants, and whatever, more than anything, like with all those movies. For me, it’s not a “real Shane Black” thing in the ways that count. It’s just the movie I’m hoping helps him get to make real Shane Black things again because … The Nice Guys is a pretty fun script that’s just lying on a shelf somewhere, so…
I really appreciate this sentiment being put into words - I didn’t particularly enjoy the Marvel Comics movies, but I’ve never been able to put my finger on why (or cared to, they’re pretty fluffy movies. I don’t analyze chicken mcnuggets either), excepting that I find them dull overall and over-reliant on that “member dis!” key-jangling they do with background props (Some day there’s gonna be the Wand of Watoomb propping up a door marked, like, “D. Ormammu, Magic Expert” or something in the back of a Pepper Potts DVD extra where they introduce the guy who ends up playing Dreadknight in Iron Man 7 and fiolks are gonna go nuts. I’m not saying I don’t recognize that booshwah, I’m just saying it’s overvalued).
I mean, Iron Man had fun bits with Robert Downey Jr playing the cute version of Nicolas Cage and Captain America had loads of charm and that Ed Norton Hulk movie had a couple of scenes that were very serious acting happening, but overall my mind was wandering during most of the films, and the climactic battles in particular, and I think the above sentiment captures the actual “why” - you get a whole movie of Tony Stark suffering some kind of giddy PTSD and taking a consciously insincere appraisal of his life but in the end the way we wrap up the movie is he fights the other big iron armor guy and we just close the file on all his faults (or, shall we say, “character”). They purge these guys of all of their interesting flaws, shortcomings and neuroses so all that left is some sort of cuddly adolescent, made of hairless muscles, gif sets and memes and shwarmas - Thor beats up all of the evil mythological strongmen, Captain America beats up the guys who represent the bad ideology, Hulk beats up Bad Hulk, and then they become capital-H-Heroes and are washed clean of flaws and failings.
I dunno, I haven’t seen the sequels to most of these things, maybe they find new nooks and crannies to exploit. I think I did watch Iron Man 2 and they made the alcoholism thing sort of a fun dance party? Like a “whoops, that was dumb, no more alcoholism for me!” kind of slip-up, like it was no more serious than he accidentally wore two different colors of socks. And then, again, beat up bad armor guys I think.
All my favorite Marvel superheroes are majorly fucked-up. The Thing is always going to be a sad rock-guy, there’s no “Evil Thing” for him to beat and wash himself clean. Daredevil! There’s a guy, fuckin’ Daredevil, you remember one time that guy almost threw a baby off a ledge? He is not well, the constant struggle against going flat-out murder-nuts made him interesting - I tried reading this new volume, this flippant “fun” book where he wisecracks and his best friend gets cancer but spends all his cancer therapy time going “My superhero friend is the best guy!”, just this guy with no conflicts who never really loses any fight and is handsome, smart, rich, successful, combin’ pussy out of his beard, leapin’ over buildings, is allegedly super-cool even though he sounds and behaves like he’s scripted by a mildly-bright fourteen-year old, what was the point? It was “fun” … I got a dog, man, I own a kite, I can have fun on my own, stories should be interesting.