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Marshall Fine Headshot

Enough of comic-book movies

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There are a lot of elements of modern cinema on which I'd like to see a moratorium declared.

Let's start with remakes - particularly remakes of really crappy movies. I mean, c'mon: Red Sonja? Red Dawn? Really? There's neither the irony nor the substance that could make either of those worth the time or money. And Overboard? That one wasn't funny the first time.

Then move on to an even lower rung on the content ladder: movie versions of terrible or anciently corny TV series from a past so distant that today's filmmakers have only seen them on Hulu or YouTube.

It's impossible to be either serious or funny in any meaningful or involving way about something that's not actually part of your own formative experience, something whose ironic value you've only experienced second-hand. I mean, get serious: Gilligan's Island? The Man from U.N.C.L.E.? Did we learn nothing from I Spy and The Wild, Wild West? Or Land of the Lost?

Sequels? It goes without saying. Reboots - urrgh. And forget about Americanizing foreign films. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo doesn't need to be watered down or tarted up by Hollywood; the Swedish version is perfect as it is, thanks.

If you want to remake something, remake movies that botched their source material the first time. How about a movie of Tom Wolfe's The Bonfire of the Vanities that gets it right?

Still, if I had to choose one current movie craze to which I'd call a time-out, it would be the comic-book movie. And I say that as someone who championed comic-book movies for years, before most people took them seriously.

That was before they become the dominant movie artform. These days, a movie that doesn't have a comic-book aesthetic is increasingly hard to come by.

I feel as though there isn't a facet of the comic-book movie that hasn't been ground to dust in the past 10 years. Even the ultimate comic-book movie - the movie that has served as a template for all others, despite not actually being adapted from a comic book - I'm speaking, of course, of The Matrix - even that film spawned two sequels that stumbled and disintegrated, proving that a thing of beauty should be a joy forever - and not the stem cell from which thousands of other ideas are cloned.

This commentary continues on my website.