Blockbusters have become the dominant form of film in the 21st century, telling fantastical tales full of stuff people can only dream of. It’s no secret why they’re so popular; they provide audiences with escapism and are usually prime illustrations of movie magic. As great as many of these works are, there’s no denying that trends that frequently pop up in them have started to wear out their welcome. As the studios look for ways to push the creative envelope in new and creative ways, hopefully they find some solutions to 10 blockbuster movie clichés you are definitely tired of.
A surefire way to generate an emotional response from the viewer is to tragically kill off a fan-favorite character. Not only is it a tear jerking moment, but it can also underscore the high stakes and illustrate that nobody is safe when the action ramps up. Unfortunately, with multi-picture contracts becoming the norm, characters that “die” on screen rarely stay dead. This twist was effective when it first began, but it’s been so overplayed now that deaths have lost their meaning. Now, it’s more of a surprise when a person never returns, and that shouldn’t be. If you want moviegoers to care, they have to feel that the heroes are in some sort of danger and can’t just come back whenever.
Trailers Spoiling Movies
For the most anticipated tentpoles, the premiere of the trailer can become just as big an event as the final film. Fans can’t wait to get a look at the next chapter of their favorite franchise, but frequently are disappointed when the preview reveals a bit too much about what the story entails. Several trailers in recent years have spoiled interesting plot developments and secrets months before the movie comes out, ruining what could have been a compelling moment for the sake of hooking casual audiences. With Star Wars setting records after The Force Awakens remained shrouded in secrecy until its release, hopefully the other studios learn an important lesson in marketing.
They say a story is only as good as its villain, and that means a lot of blockbusters these days are sort of mediocre. Many heroes in recent years haven’t had memorable foils to go up against, with the Joker, Loki, and Kylo Ren serving as exceptions to the rule. Evildoers are frequently short changed by the script and become plot devices instead of compelling characters in their own right, failing to leave a lasting impression. It’s true that not everyone can be Darth Vader, but with just a little more effort, filmmakers can elevate villains from generic to worthy opponent. The bad guys can be more interesting than the hero at times, so this one is really disappointing.
Lack of Diversity
If you look around the Marvel Cinematic Universe, all of their films are led by white, male actors. This obviously hasn’t had a negative impact on the brand’s popularity, but the movies are hardly a reflection of the world they’re released to. Audiences are more diverse than ever, and each demographic wants to be served equally. This means it’s important to mix things up a bit in terms of casting. Star Wars made strides here by having John Boyega and Daisy Ridley headline The Force Awakens, and both Marvel and DC are giving the spotlight to characters like Black Panther, Wonder Woman, and others soon. Looks like a new, more inclusive trend is about to emerge.
Women as Eye Candy
In the old school of thinking, the hero saves the day and then he gets the girl. Several blockbusters depict female characters as little more than objects of desire for the male protagonist, at times exploiting them for their good looks. Even the strong Princess Leia had to wear a golden bikini. This understandably upsets some audience members, who know that women are capable of being much more than just a girlfriend. Between Black Widow, Rey, and Wonder Woman, the tide is beginning to change as more actresses are given the chance to play well-rounded characters that earn several fans.
Dark, Realistic Blockbusters
It worked for Christopher Nolan’s Batman, but not every franchise is designed for a dark, gritty tone. Most titles are created differently, and need a film that best conveys its intended feel. Superman is meant to be a beacon of light and hope, but Man of Steel provided a more serious spin on the material. The Fantastic Four are supposed to be fun and light-hearted, which is why the po-faced 2015 reboot failed miserably. Trying something different is always welcomed, but the approach needs to be a fit for the source material. Several of these stories aren’t meant to be “realistic” in that sense of the word, so filmmakers need to learn to lighten up a bit.