The Dark Knight Factor: Why So Many Recent Movies Suck

9 04 2010

Some movies benefit from being “dark and gritty.” Some don’t. Unfortunately, after The Dark Knight turned “dark and gritty” into massive amounts of box office dollars, everyone just assumed the secret ingredient was…you guessed it…”dark and gritty.”

Weeks, month, even years after The Dark Knight hit theatres, practically every news story about upcoming movies included a producer or director saying something along the lines of, “Yeah, we’re really excited, we’re taking the film/franchise in a whole new direction – it’ll be really dark and gritty.” The whole “dark and gritty” mantra was the “3D” of its time.

I was hoping the trend would die down before we ended up with Mickey Mouse and the Mystery of the Serial Rapist or something equally unnecessary. With the advent of 3D technology, I figured the easily distracted movie industry would leave well enough alone and move onto the next fad. While this is partly true, the echoes of “dark” obsession still remain. Just look at this years’ less than desirable flicks, The Wolfman and Clash of the Titans most notably.

A movie cannot rely on dark undertones and serious subject matter alone, just as it cannot rely on 3D technology alone. At the heart of it all, story reigns supreme. The Dark Knight was so hugely successful because the story benefited from the tone. Avatar was so successful because the 3D technology was expertly used to elevate an already well-made film.

I’m hoping these trends are dying out, and I do see a light at the end of the tunnel. Watching the buzz surrounding Iron Man 2, I cannot help but be excited; here’s a movie that seems to get it. It’s not trying to trick people into spending more money by hastily converting to 3D. It’s not trying to get super serious and dark. It knows what kind of movie it is (an action-packed, effects laden adventure with wit, humor and suspense) and it’s not trying to be something it’s not.

If 3D or a dark plot is necessary for a film, then go for it. But if it’s being implemented to try and ride the wave of current trends, it’s likely to fail.

What do you think? Did The Dark Knight contribute to some unnecessarily “dark and gritty” film flops? What are some movies that could have been better if they hadn’t tried to conform to the current Hollywood trends? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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One response

13 04 2010
Tweets that mention The Dark Knight Factor: Why So Many Recent Movies Suck « Pop Goes the Culture --

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Manoel Vasudevan. Manoel Vasudevan said: The Dark Knight Factor: Why So Many Recent Movies Suck « Pop Goes …: What do you think? Did The Dark Knight cont… […]

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