Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Why More Movie Characters Should Just Stay Dead

There's begun to be a trend in big Hollywood blockbusters where a film will decide to kill off one it's most beloved characters, only to resurrect them before the credits role. The biggest offenders, obviously, have been super hero movies, and the list of characters who have been brought back to life is actually getting a little out of hand. If you don't want minor spoilers for both old and newer movies, stop now.

Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy. Loki in Thor 2. Pepper Potts in Iron Man 3. Agent Coulson in the Avengers (who was technically brought back in the TV shows Agents of Shield). Baymax in Big Hero 6. Batman, kind of, in the Dark Knight Rises. Captain Kirk in Star Trek 2. I could go on.

There's a good article about the whole issue by Kyle Buchanan at Vulture that highlights a few of the problems that this trend creates. A lot of these movies are based off of comic books, he points out, and characters dying and inevitably getting brought back to life are a common occurrence. Killing Superman would be a huge, dramatic event, but no writer is actually going to get rid of such an iconic character forever. Still, the impact of such a death would have a more lasting effect on a reader, since they would most likely have months to think it over before any form of the character could be brought back to life.

Movies, on the other hand, are getting overly manipulative with audience members emotions. Once or twice is ok - I obviously didn't expect a kids movie like Big Hero 6 to kill off the funniest/most interesting/most action-figure makable character, and I didn't really want them to - but it's become something of a trope. Killing off a character at the end of the second act is fine; it's a good "dark moment" for the hero/rest of the characters and can vault a film into it's third act. Bringing them back 15 minutes later, however, is just toying with emotions. It's not enough time to fully reflect on the implications of a death. Even waiting for a sequel to bring back a character would be better than the immediacy that Hollywood has been banking on. It really tends to feel like a cop out. If I get all sad over a character dying, part of me wants that sadness to be justified by actually having that character stay dead.

I'm not sure if these writers and studio executives think that audiences won't be able to handle the implications of a beloved character staying dead or if they think they're just being clever. I, for one, want to see more Dumbledores; big, meaningful characters dying for good and seriously effecting the rest of the characters. If one of the Avengers dies? Really, truly, dies? Yeah, that's a movie I want to see. I think it's only a matter of time before the trend starts dissipate, and I can't wait to see who the writer or director is that has the balls to actually make death meaningful.

No comments:

Post a Comment