People who don’t watch or aren’t into films based around comicbook characters normally have some ill-informed reasons for why they don’t like them. “They’re only for kids,” or “They’re all the same,” or other reasons that simply don’t hold up when you really discuss the genre with them. They tend to overlook the themes that are explored during the films; themes that are shared across all genres of film. As an example, let’s go with the latest MCU film to open in theaters, Ant-Man and the Wasp.
While yes, it is a “good vs. evil” story, the true theme is about family, redemption, and putting the pieces back together after past mistakes. It centers around the relationships and dynamics for each of the characters in the film. Hank Pym and Hope van Dyne, Scott and Cassie Lang, and Bill Foster and Ghost. To overlook these storylines won’t allow us to see the complete picture of what director Peyton Reed was painting.
Marc Bernardin touched on this point about the film during the latest episode of Fatman on Batman that he hosts with Kevin Smith:
“I kind of like that it’s a story about fathers and daughters. It was about Hank Pym trying to get the mother back for his daughter, it’s about Scott Lang trying to be a good dad for his daughter, and it’s about Bill Foster being a good surrogate father to Ava. It’s about fathers and daughters and trying to do right by them as time goes on.”
So, yes, the movie is a special-effects marvel (pun intended) that shows people and objects shrinking and growing and good guys fighting bad guys, and this film isn’t in a vacuum. 2016’s Deadpool was vulgar, violent, and raucously funny, but we would be remiss if we didn’t recognize that behind all of the fireworks, it was a love story. Wade Wilson even tells us as such at the beginning of the film.
Looking back at a film like The Dark Knight, it’s not as simple to say it’s a battle between Batman’s good and the Joker’s evil. It’s more about the good and evil in humans beings, and Harvey Dent is the catalyst. Ultimately, the Joker wins that battle as Dent is turned evil through violent manipulation, but if you look at the boat scene, the bad guys (the prisoners) also prove that there is good in all of us when Tiny Lister’s character throws the detonator out of the window in a moment of sacrifice. It’s not just another comicbook film, very few of them actually are.
We could do this with each and every comicbook film, but, in closing, if you ever hear someone talk down about the genre we know and love, it isn’t because they’re right, they just don’t understand how to appreciate these films for the complete works that they actually are!