Two years ago, in a post about “The Dark Knight,” I compared the contemporary super-hero actioner to the Hollywood western. Like that once-dominant genre, super-hero films get little respect today but, I argued, they’ll one day become a routine vehicle for serious artistic ambitions.
I think Vinh’s got things a bit backwards here. In the past decade this genre has wielded more respect than at any point in its history. Most of the big action directors today came from small, independent backgrounds. Sam Raimi, Peter Jackson, Bryan Singer, Christopher Nolan and even Jon Favreau didn’t exactly seem like obvious choices for their respective blockbusters. It’s not that the day for artistic super-hero films is coming, it’s that it has come and gone.
Plus, there are a lot of shitty westerns.