Some of these movies are good. Some of them are terrible. But I’m less interested in a critical appraisal of these films, and more interested in what their eerily unified themes mean. Because, looked at from this perspective, here is what the Modern Hollywood Blockbuster has become:
1.Movies about protagonists who doubt themselves until they suddenly don’t, because the plot demands that they stop being confused around the Act 3 mark.
2. In fact, movies where the actual saving of human lives is less important, narratively speaking, than the fact that the hero finally decides to be a hero.
3. Movies where, furthermore, the hero is misunderstood, but only by crusty-old-dean authority figures, whereas the common people always love them (and sometimes they actually applaud them).
4. Movies where the heroes pay lip service to the idea that “morality” is a thing that is not set in stone, before ultimately reaffirming their own goodness, nay, awesomeness, therefore establishing a world where, if you are not with the hero, then you are a villain.
5. Movies where everything is a goddamn reference to something, and you can’t even have a clearly Robin-esque character without finally establishing that his name is actually “Robin.”
6. Movies that are, ultimately, set in a world that is essentially the playground for our heroes to decide whether or not they’re going to be heroic. Spoiler alert: They are.
There is something oddly selfish and self-aggrandizing about this entire genre. With the exception of Katniss, all of the heroes are –from a certain perspective — bullies who insist that they’re doing everything for the greater good.