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THE WRIGHT STUFF: Hitting the right tone

May 16th, 2014 by John Wright Comments

Well I’m back after a test-drive holiday in my future home of Australia, I saw some appalling movies on the journey (I refuse to watch decent flicks above a PG-13 rating as Emirates edit the hell out of them) including The Legend of Hercules… yikes that was bad. Fingers crossed The Rock can fare better in his version this summer!

Anyway, before I left, I went with a mate to see Amazing Spider-Man 2, my second viewing. While the movie had its flaws I enjoyed the hell out of it, it was a fun ride and a very feel-good piece of entertainment. He refused to go see The Winter Soldier with me as he said it was dark enough, despite my pleas that it was a fantastic movie and one of Marvel’s best to date, yet he was amped to see Spidey which didn’t make sense to me.

Sure enough, his response at the end was that he was disappointed, it was too cheesy and not dark enough. Now, I like to respect other people’s views as movies are like art, it’s all down to individual taste, but I get really frustrated when people want every blockbuster movie gritty and dark.

The Dark Knight is partly to blame I feel, because in many ways it raised the bar for tentpole movies, but people thought that its gritty, realistic and dark tone was so good, every other movie should follow suit. First and foremost, summer blockbusters are primarily aimed at one target market: youth. Plain and simple.

These characters and stories have always been aimed at kids, right back when a lot of them just existed in comic book form. That is what brings in the money, the merchandising, dragging parents and friends along to the cinema to maximise the box office takings.

It’s only natural that these kinds of movies aim to please that generation first and foremost. Take the character of Spidey for example, the storyline is borderline ridiculous, so to play it solemn and dark would go against the very nature of the story. Spidey himself is witty, fun and dynamic – to have him lurking in shadows brooding and refusing to crack a joke would be a stupid move. Yes, some elements of these movies are corny, cheesy and tongue-in-cheek, but that is part of the fun, yes we know it’s far-fetched, but these movies are not to be pondered on amongst artsy film critics, you take your brain out and enjoy the ride and try not to take things too seriously.

If you walk out with a smile on your face and don’t feel like you had two hours of your life stolen, then it was a job well done. :)

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Originally forged in the steelworks of Teesside (imagine the reverse of the end of Terminator 2), John is a self-confessed 80s child and movie geek and he indulges his passions for movies by occasionally appearing in them. When he is not doing that, he is investigating the paranormal with either his West Midlands or Berkshire buddies, or planning another Due South fan convention in Canada. John will depart our UK shores in 2014 to live in Australia and wrestle crocs (the shoes, not the animal), but he aims to contribute to FTN as much as he can...

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