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August 04 2015

Mission impenetrable: are Hollywood blockbusters losing the plot? Phil Hoad decries the trend toward ever denser narratives in summer blockbusters.

What's wrong with me that I'm haven't gotten lost once while watching any of the Marvel movies mentioned?
When he talks about the plots being complex, he quotes Joss saying that balancing all the stories and characters in Age of Ultron was very difficult. When he talks about the movies having "literal complexity" but not "emotional complexity", he completely forgets to mention Joss saying that Age of Ultron was also deeply personal.

I don't feel like there's anything valid in this article. People regularly complain that summer blockbusters are brain-dead. Now some are trying to have actual plots, and this guy is complaining.

Someone is always going to complain.
This story reminds me a great deal of the NewsWeek magazine story about Bruce Springsteen, "The Making of a Rock Star". The writer took a real and legitimate concern, the music industry PR machine's ability to cynically manufacture a pop idol to business specifications. Then took one of the few people of the last four decades NOT to follow the cookie cutter formula, and try to portray him as a cautionary example of the problem.

Lumping Joss&co in with the Michael Bays of the world of fast food phoney franchise faux filmmaking is just a bizarre and jarring juxtaposition.

One of these things definitely ain't like the others.
One of these things just doesn't belong.
It doesn't help that when you dissect the plot of most (all?) Marvel movies, they just don't hold up as a coherent story.

Oh well, not all movies can be Mad Max.
What you said, RobynH and others.
Summer blockbusters are notorious for heaping on spectacular special effects and explosions in order to hide less than spectacular writing and acting. But with things like recent changes in the film-making process (explosions and the like are a lot easier and less expensive to utilize these days) and there being a more direct connection between creators and their consumers afforded by things like the internet, things have changed. Drastically.

Now spectacular writing and acting are being thrown into the mix (in addition to all those spectacular explosions) which is currently making for some spectacularly indigestible attempts at entertainment - especially when it comes to film franchises (notice how almost all of the cited cases of excess in this article are concerning franchise installments?) since they tend to be untapped goldmines of source material.

Too much spectacle makes for a queasy stomach. Imo it is only a matter of time before the content creators out there catch on to that fact and adjust accordingly.


[ edited by brinderwalt on 2015-08-05 19:03 ]
People regularly complain that summer blockbusters are brain-dead. Now some are trying to have actual plots, and this guy is complaining.

I'm not gonna defend this article specifically, but I don't think the two are mutually exclusive complaints. I would argue a needlessly convoluted plot is even worse than an easily-followed stupid plot, unless you're writing The Long Goodbye. Neither of the Avengers movies have had this issue for me, but usually if a plot is ridiculously hard to follow it's covering up holes in logic, or it's not being told in an effective way, neither of which is great for any movie.

Into Darkness is the only one that really bugged me on this front, though--oh, or maybe Thor 2, though admittedly I mostly just can't remember a damn thing about the plot right now--because while I could follow the story, it was just meaningless reversals, one after another, to the point of nonsense.

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