Saturday, July 25, 2015

Stop The Train

I want to get off. Okay, maybe I don't really want to get off for long, because I'm still really enjoying the ride. I would hate to think about what I might have missed if I didn't stay on. After all, there is still so very much left to see. The train of which I write here is not real of course, but the metaphorical juggernaut that is pop culture. The hurtling zeitgeist that only seems to pick up speed rather than slow down has begun to wear me out.
This is especially true when it comes to the Marvel Universe. I understand that I somehow fit precisely into some mad marketing genius's vision of the true fan: the guy who is not only invested in the legends and lore associated with the comics of his past, but the guy who has family and friends he is willing to encourage and indoctrinate into hopping on for the ride because it has this amazing momentum. The fun I had with my son watching "Ant-Man" is evidence of just how far down this track I have gone. And taken my next generation with me.
I will say with a straight face that I give my personal thumbs up to this latest addition to the Marvel movie lexicon. I will also say that there was a large portion of my brain that said, in the months leading up to the release of this current entry into the comic book movie sweepstakes, that the bottom of the barrel had been reached. Ant-Man? Isn't this the Marvel equivalent of the much-maligned DC character, Aquaman? A guy who can shrink down to the size of an ant, yet retains his full human strength?  As it turns out, the machine that has turned out a blockbuster or two a year over the past seven years did a fine job putting their collective tongue in their corporate cheek and made what turns out to be yet another chapter in the saga of the world that is inhabited by these super-types that supplies just enough action, special effects and humanity to make people like me sit through all those credits one more time to find out what is going to happen next. I was one of those guys, sitting next to my son, hoping there would be that clue about what the next installment might hold. It is the thing I know about soap operas: they don't resolve on Fridays. The sponsors want you back in front of your TV Monday, waiting to see how things turn out. There are four more years of Marvel movies in the pipeline, and these are the ones that have been announced. If they make money, there will almost certainly be another dozen behind that.
And I will be in my seat for those too. But sometimes I wish for the days that I could discover movies, like "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl." The kind of movie that gets by on "word of mouth," when that mouth is not multiplied and amplified to the point of ridiculousness via every possible media outlet. A movie that doesn't exist simply to push the special effects budgets and Disney profits through the roof.
But here's what I know: There is room for both. I will still count the days until "The Force Awakens." I will study up on my Doctor Strange database, but I will also keep my eyes open for that next stop: the movie theater that isn't rocking with explosions and filled with fellow nerds in 3D glasses. I will be looking for stories that don't involve planetary destruction or galactic disruption.
But please save a seat on that train for me. I'm weak.

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