November 19, 2019

Alan Moore Has a Blazing Hot Take On Superhero Movies

This opinion makes Scorsese's views on Marvel seem quite tame. 

If you aren't familiar with Alan Moore, he is one of the most influential and important Comic Book writers of all time. If you're wondering why a filmmaking blog such as this one would cover him, well, there are a few reasons. 

Firstly, Moore's original ideas and takes on classic IP continue to be adapted by major studios for film and television. His ideas and his approach inform far more than just the content based on his work. 

Watchmen is on HBO currently, which is a spin on his seminal work. Joker, a new look inside the villainous Joker from the Batman series, is in large part inspired by the way Moore handled the story in 'The Killing Joke'

Moore is worth looking into as we creatives traverse the current landscape of entertainment. To his own chagrin, you could say he helped foster it. 

Today on the blog Alanmooreworld, an interview he did back in 2016 with Raphael Sassaki went up...and it's a big one. Being not only a comic book writer but also an occultist, ceremonial magician, and an anarchist, Moore leaves us with a lot to comb through, but though the interview covers many topics, it's Moore's scathing take on the state of superhero content and it's seemingly insatiable audience that seems more relevant than ever.

Here is the pull quote that's been making the rounds:

Alan Moore at the ICA on June 2nd 2009Credit: Matt Biddulph
“I think the impact of superheroes on popular culture is both tremendously embarrassing and not a little worrying. While these characters were originally perfectly suited to stimulating the imaginations of their twelve or thirteen-year-old audience, today’s franchised übermenschen, aimed at a supposedly adult audience, seem to be serving some kind of different function, and fulfilling different needs. Primarily, mass-market superhero movies seem to be abetting an audience who do not wish to relinquish their grip on (a) their relatively reassuring childhoods, or (b) the relatively reassuring 20th century. The continuing popularity of these movies to me suggests some kind of deliberate, self-imposed state of emotional arrest, combined with a numbing condition of cultural stasis that can be witnessed in comics, movies, popular music and, indeed, right across the cultural spectrum. The superheroes themselves – largely written and drawn by creators who have never stood up for their own rights against the companies that employ them, much less the rights of a Jack Kirby or Jerry Siegel or Joe Schuster – would seem to be largely employed as cowardice compensators, perhaps a bit like the handgun on the nightstand. I would also remark that save for a smattering of non-white characters (and non-white creators) these books and these iconic characters are still very much white supremacist dreams of the master race. In fact, I think that a good argument can be made for D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation as the first American superhero movie, and the point of origin for all those capes and masks.”

"The continuing popularity of these movies to me suggests some kind of deliberate, self-imposed state of emotional arrest, combined with a numbing condition of cultural stasis" - Alan Moore

Moore isn't the only person out there experiencing what one might call "Superhero fatigue." What has felt like rumblings around the industry for a while is growing louder recently with more vocal detractors. These quotes from Moore are a few years old and just now making the rounds on the internet, but they fall in line with controversial comments from other influential and respected creatives, like Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola to name a few. 

What do you think? Are audiences really getting tired of this? Or are we hearing from a few older grouchy types who don't really understand the current marketplace and creative landscape?      

Your Comment

8 Comments

100% agree.

November 19, 2019 at 4:23PM

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David R. Falzarano
Director / Writer / Editor
1489

So well put. Along those lines, I feel that we live in a very conformist era and people feel comfortable expressing allegiance to movies and characters that they already think everyone else likes. And they're essentially children's films, so there is a very low bar for thematic complexity and understanding.

I remember the reaction of some white people I know to seeing "Get Out" - they called it "weird" and it clearly made them uncomfortable. But it was such a great movie that it made a huge splash and they had to see it. We need more of that.

November 19, 2019 at 6:16PM

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I've been saying this (non-eloquently) for years. It won't change anything though. I'll have to endure the same nonsensical conversations about Avengers.

November 19, 2019 at 7:15PM

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What I resent most, is that cinema focused websites review or write articles about comic movies to boost their clicks. As a result I'm suckered me into reading / watching a lot of Marvel content just from being exposed to it constantly.

November 19, 2019 at 8:40PM

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Jesse Yules
Director
326

You do realise that you possess free will? You haven't been suckered into anything. You look at the content because you want to. Admitting that is your first step toward the light.

November 19, 2019 at 11:21PM

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Alan Moore is spot on. It’s certainly the current marketplace but it isn’t creative. Marvel’s just fan servicing at this point. The audience gets what it wants, but is it being exposed to the creator’s vision? I don’t know, doesn’t feel like it. I have no idea what it’s like to work on a set, but I feel like working on a Marvel moving would be so boring—they’re cookie-cutter productions. At least A24 and Blumhouse produce some original, weird stuff.

November 20, 2019 at 3:28PM

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Mike Eden
Photographer
92

Comics were cool growing up. The superhero movies are cool now that I'm an adult. I don't get why people are asking for something weird or original from superhero movies. Those movies will come down the line and Joker is already one of them in my opinion. Right now, Marvel is still in it's first widely successful run. Once the actors playing the characters move on, then Marvel will move on. I dislike and like different marvel films, but I will say watching Endgame in IMAX with 300+ excited and engaged people was a cinematic memory I won't forget.

November 21, 2019 at 1:25PM

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Unfortunately what stands out in an otherwise interesting piece is the usual PC blather about "white supremacy" or some such. This revisionist reading of a past time, in keeping with so much of the same junk, is pure nonsense as it imputes motives to creators that were totally non existent. Ditto for the continually perennially popular whipping boy "Birth of a Nation". Stop marring your clear thought with mindless repetitions of popular stupidity.

November 22, 2019 at 3:09AM

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