Politics, Moderate



It's a bird, it's a plane … it's yet another superhero movie!

Esther J. Cepeda on

CHICAGO -- It seems pretty obvious that the superhero movie genre is jumping the shark.

I used to get everyone in my family psyched and out the door for the comic-book blockbusters, but the spectacle of superhero movies went stale for me a few years ago.

And I'm not the only one -- even my husband and my teen son have not been able to gin up enough interest in "Aquaman," "Hellboy" or "Shazam!" to actually make it out to a theater.

This is not to say that all the love is gone -- they thoroughly enjoyed "Black Panther," which was such a cultural phenomenon that even I went to see it. More recently, they also watched "Captain Marvel" (without me), and they're looking forward to "Avengers: Endgame."

But there are just sooooo many of these movies out right now.

And there was bound to be some superhero fatigue between yet another "Spider-Man" ("Far From Home") and the drama surrounding the on-again, off-again status of writer/director James Gunn at the helm of "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" -- his past social-media posts made light of rape and pedophilia, making him a problematic leader in a Hollywood attempting to gaining its footing in a post-#MeToo world.


In a 2018 New Republic piece -- titled "Is Marvel Killing the Movies?" -- Josephine Livingstone wrote: "I think I felt what the movie wanted me to: overwhelmed. The action of 'Infinity War' keeps it all at such a high pitch that the movie obliterates its own emotional stakes. I think it was intended to engender one long sharp intake of breath."

What it engendered in me was a nap.

I nodded off after "Captain America: The First Avenger" insulted moviegoers' intelligence in 2011 with the terrible CGI job to make Chris Evans look like a 90-pound weakling. And the hollow-chested version of the character Steve Rogers, and the jeers he got from his peers along with the excruciating pain he endures to become a superhero, left a bad taste in the mouth of this mom who, at the time, had two impressionable boys -- 13 and 10. That movie taught them that nothing was more important than being buff, cut, jacked, ripped with muscles, developing a six-pack of abs and bursting out of standard-sized T-shirts.

In the years after, both my sons went on exercise regimens and started eating "clean" protein. One even went on a rendezvous with body-building protein powders that clogged his intestines so badly he nearly had to go to the hospital.


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