Modern cinema and the decline of Western civilization

By: William Strang-Moya, Staff Photographer

Have you ever pondered what so many modern “superheroes” and our “president” have in common? A nauseatingly similar amount of things. Before I explore this assertion, I would like to openly acknowledge that I do not by any means advocate superhero movies. Regardless of their objectively mystifying qualities, that they can afford to have, I will argue that these films are a plague on the greater good of American film and that any individual who openly supports this obscene oversaturation of genre should re-evaluate their understanding of artistic appeal and creative integrity. But I digress. As for Donald Trump, I will withhold my opinion simply due to the fact that he, as both a political and business entity, seems to shamelessly prioritize the debasement of his public image (not that his public image was anything glamorous in the first place).

So why do superhero movies sell? Why are they successful? Is it actually what the people want? Unless you frequent sources such as, one might assume that these movies are so successful simply due to the fact that critics actually like them. But that’s not always the case. On IMDB, there’s a list of the “most popular movies” currently generating buzz, and, as of the month of February, 26 percent of the films on this list have not even been released. It is, of course, out of a list of 100 movies. And upon their release, will they still be so popular? Modern Hollywood thrives on its ability to market these films. Often, after the release of one of these over-the-top superhero features, it is simply forgotten about. Titles such as “Suicide Squad” and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” each scored around 6.5/10, and even worse scores in terms of critical reception. What made these films so iconic, however, are their respective marketing campaigns. They got such a tremendous amount of unnecessary coverage that people were bombarded by movie trailers any time they would try to watch a YouTube video.

This ties in with Donald Trump in a number of ways. The more one displays themselves in an increasingly absurd and theatrical manner, the more attention one draws. The more attention one sells.  And that is a simple parallel that can be drawn. With such a premise, one could even have the same proposal for horror movies or romance films. “Superheroes” such as Tony Stark (Iron Man), Bruce Wayne (Batman), or Oliver Queen (The Green Arrow), are all incredibly wealthy members of society when they are not being “superheroes.” I’ve often heard conservatives express discontent with Hollywood — mostly in response to individuals such as Meryl Streep or the creators of “Rogue One” — but, whether anyone will admit it or not, movies and television, like music, are perhaps the most profoundly impactful artistic mediums that influence society.

If Bubba Gump Shrimp can become an actual restaurant, “The Lego Batman Movie” can become more successful than a live-action Batman movie, or Hanz Kiessling’s “Temptation Sensation” will forever remind one of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” then I firmly believe that a nation of moviegoers can willingly, if not unknowingly, subject themselves to the belief that an unnecessarily wealthy individual, regardless of their experience or obnoxious personality, is qualified to “save a nation” from something or other.

Yes, it sounds like a stretch, but with polarized political affiliations going so far to demonize the media, the movie world manipulates in such a subtle manner that it draws little to no attention to itself. Given the fact that these films have such weak plotlines and are practically devoid of any creative integrity whatsoever, I believe that individuals who do not pick up on such things can’t help but give in to a political movement that almost solely relies on hype without depth followed by waiting for the next best thing. Superhero films are simply the tip of the iceberg in terms of Hollywood’s feces-churned, franchise-driven pulp movie garbage, but if they weren’t so revered, this article would be meaningless.



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