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Riding into the sunset, perhaps? (Photo By Toby Canham/Getty Images)

Hero(ine) Overdose

by Scott Cameron
Jul 24, 2008

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Scott Cameron

Yes, I've seen the new Batman movie, and Iron Man, and Superman Returns, and all the Spiderman films. And I'm apparently in good company... These are all movies that made gobs of money at the box office. I'd likely plunk down my $8 for the next in each series, too. But with comic book characters winning the day in movie houses, the New York Times' A.O. Scott raises a disturbing question for any fan of the cape and mask genre:

Any comic book fan knows that a hero at the height of his powers is a few panels removed from mortal danger, and that hubris has a way of summoning new enemies out of the shadows. Are the Caped Crusader and his colleagues basking in an endless summer of triumph, or is the sun already starting to set?

And before you brush it off as some sort of overly intellectual attack on comic book films, consider the evidence... Every comic book movie must follow a simple format (good guy v. bad guy, lots of action, evil never wins), and after many years of churning out movies full of bodysuits and secret identities, Hollywood may simply be running out of creative ways to get into and out of the big showdown with the villain. As comic book movies go, A.O. Scott gives credit to The Dark Knight for stretching farther than any of its kind so far. But he argues this may represent a peak... both in terms of pushing the limits, and in representing the beginning of an inevitable decline.

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