It’s Wednesday. It’s occasionally rainy with patches of it will rain again in a minute just you wait. I’ve taken a deep dive into Haruki Murakami’s Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. It is, as most of Murakami’s books, both mundane and exceedingly weird. A man loses contact with friends. He meets a man who tells a story about his dad meeting a man who knows he’s going to die and tells a story about how when you know that you’re going to die you can see the true colors of a person’s heart.
…it’s not Magnolia, where you’re telling all these separate stories that are just vaguely intertwined. They’re doing some of that job for me. By the way, if it was Magnolia, it would be the best movie ever made, but I can’t reach for the stars, people. I’m just a man.
Also, also, and on the same topic.
Even Joss Whedon, an undoubted pop-culture genius, cannot create that kind of significance from whole cloth, at least not after two dozen or more generally similar superhero movies have worn out the cultural resonance of the form. It would be foolish for me to sit here in a tweed jacket with leather patches on the elbows and proclaim that the era of the comic-book movie is coming to an end. That’s not happening anytime soon (and anyway I threw that jacket away). It might be accurate to say instead that superhero cinema has reached a decadent plateau, a long-term steady state of self-nourishing bigness and reverberant meaninglessness. Whedon moves on from the Marvel empire not as its Augustus or its Spartacus, but more like one of the later, non-terrible Christian emperors who won some battles, made some reforms and convinced everybody that the glory of Rome would endure forever. Was it worth doing? That depends on what you think of Rome.
Some of that rings true for me. Except, I don’t think the cultural resonance has worn out of the form. Because the form of superhero films is not anything in particular. Superheroes are a genre in the way that romance is a genre which is to say it’s a genre that can be built on top of any other genre. It’s just going to take a different of superhero story to resonate in the way that Dark Knight did (a superhero noir/crime thriller) or the first X-Men (a superhero coming out)
There will be amazing superhero movies to come, a few of which will take everyone by surprise. And I don’t mean in the way that Guardians of the Galaxy was amazing. But, I mean, in the way that Buffy was amazing. And the first X-men with Bryan Singer was amazing. I mean that someone, somewhere, is going to make a superhero movie that’s personal and has something to say.
I’d bet on an adaptation of a novel written in the aftermath of this superhero renaissance.
Also, also, also.
There’s a bit of blue sky out there, between the clouds.
I’m so excited to see what Whedon does next.