That’s more or less what Matt Zoller Seitz is saying in this widely-quoted Salon piece:
The comic book film has become a gravy train to nowhere. The genre cranks up directors’ box office averages and keeps offbeat actors fully employed for years at a stretch by dutifully replicating (with precious few exceptions) the least interesting, least exciting elements of its source material; spicing up otherwise rote superhero vs. supervillain storylines with “complications” and “revisions” (scare quotes intentional) that the filmmakers, for reasons of fiduciary duty, cannot properly investigate; and delivering amusing characterizations, dense stories or stunning visuals while typically failing to combine those aspects into a satisfying whole.
As IRON MAN 2 is poised to become the biggest opening ever, it’s worth revisiting the genre and pointing out that as movies — like movies with themes and acting and set pieces that aren’t fights and so on — the genre has gotten as formulaic as the wifebeaters all of Marvel’s heroes wear. We’d slap Seitz on the wrist for conflating “comic book” with “superhero” in the above quote — and while we can’t argue that SUPERMAN RETURNS and Ang Lee’s HULK were the most daring attempts at a larger meaning, they still weren’t all that…successful.
What do YOU think? Are superhero movies running out of steam?