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Home > Letters to CR

Michael Grabowski On Superhero Movies
posted June 13, 2010
 

One element of superhero movies that tends to depart from their comic origins is that the action-movie framework to which the superhero movie is tied forces the villain to be killed as part of the climax. I don't know if this is truly an audience expectation or not (do they test versions of the films where the lead villain isn't killed?) but it's one of the tiresome elements of the films. Unlike the typical action film, where the hero gets to do the killing, the superhero usually isn't supposed to kill. So every time the otherwise brilliant villain has to die by their own clumsiness after two hours of otherwise unstoppable maliciousness. I'm sure there's exceptions to this -- Luthor never gets killed, right? -- but it's one way in which the absurdity of the classic source material is generally exposed, making me feel icky not only for watching the movie but for ever having liked the comics that didn't end so "realistically."

Also, The Incredibles is a pretty good superhero movie that in some ways outWatchmened The Watchmen. Even if it ends with the villain dying due to his own clumsiness.