Film Fiend: The Invincible Every-man

It is no surprise that writing characters to appeal to the majority of people would be a surefire ticket to the financial prosperity of any movie; however, as movies have focused more on appealing to the largest audience the characters within those movies have been reduced to cheap horoscopes. What I mean is, rather than the heroes of let’s say “Captain America: Civil War” having wildly different, conflicting personalities they all share the same general personality traits that make them relatable to the average audience; much like how horoscopes are written so broadly that they could literally apply to anyone at any time in their lives.

“Some changes in life are out of your control,” probably applies to people born outside of December and January. (Courtesy of The Independent)

While I do enjoy the occasional every-man action flick (“Die Hard,” “Indiana Jones,” and “The Martian” to name a few) it is impossible to remedy their entire lack of thoughtfulness. This is especially pronounced when comparing every-man movies (like the ones previously mentioned) to incredible character studies like “Nightcrawler,” “Midnight Special,” or “Taxi Driver.” On one side you have protagonists that have incredibly flat and near pointless arcs, but on the other side you have protagonists who change so violently by the end of the film that they are almost a different person when compared to their earlier-in-the-movie counterpart. Honestly, great change is one of the things that I really value in a movie’s characters, and, when a movie asks over two hours of your time, I think that having flat characters is a near criminal offense; I’m looking at you Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Mentioning Avengers: Age of Ultron brings me to my next point: why can’t characters die? It is one thing to write a character that is bland enough to appeal to every other human, but when that character seems to be unaffected by even the most dire situations, I begin to lose my mind. I just completely break down. After that, I usually just turn off the movie, but it is still utterly demoralizing to see in a movie that promises high stakes not a single important character is harmed. Let’s dig into the marvel universe again for one more example of this poor writing. In Captain America: Civil War, the most powerful beings in their world clash and the worst thing that happens is a dude has to get robot enhanced legs. That’s it. By completely removing any real danger from modern movies, watching these already brain dead characters brawl becomes like watching a three hour episode of WWE’s Smackdown; just some buff bros pretending to slap each other.

I’d like to end this whole thing on a high note, but I can’t really think of one. Maybe movies will fix this, maybe they won’t. I honestly doubt they will, however. I mean, where’s the money in writing good characters?