Saturday, September 24, 2016

X-Men: Apocalypse Is Not The BEST Superhero Movie of 2016 ... But It Is The Most IMPORTANT One

Depending on when you think the Modern Superhero Movie Era was born, it's either about to go to college or it's at least touring campuses. You could say that it began with the first X-Men in 2000, with that movie's somewhat darker tone and sophisticated themes (relative, at least, to where the Batman-franchise had ended up by then), as well as its (again, relative) dedication to source material, deliberate universe-building and employment of prestige directors. On the other hand, most if not all of these elements were present in the first Blade movie, which preceded the first X-Men by two years (even if that franchise didn't end up having the legs or broader cultural impact of the X-Franchise). Either way, we're about 16-18 years into the Modern Era, and it's worth asking whether the superhero movie matured at all over the years. Looking at this year's crop so far, I see only one clear example of growth in the genre, but it's deeper message has gone almost completely unnoticed by critics as far as I can tell.