Comic-book geeks have invaded Hollywood and turned mainstream movies into an endless parade of overblown, juvenile drivel. Kevin Maher says: they must be stopped before it’s too late.
I had a strange and disconcerting experience in a darkened Soho screening room in late November, in the year 2000. It was barely 30 minutes into a preview of M Night Shyamalan’s downbeat thrillerUnbreakable when it happened.
Here, Samuel L Jackson’s Elijah Price, a comic-book enthusiast with a leather trench coat and brittle bone disease, was browbeating an anonymous-looking everyman (the actor, Firdous Bamji, is almost hidden entirely in shadow) into purchasing one of the many hand-drawn superhero panels that were hanging in his downtown Philadelphia gallery. “It’s a classic depiction of good versus evil,” began Jackson, doing the hard sell in deadpan, while staring intently at the drawing, a conspicuously shoddy and sophomoric rendering of a caped crusader battling a hirsute man-beast with ill-shapen claws.
Nice one, I thought. Good gag. It’s, like, a satire on comic book geeks. But on he went. “The thing to notice about this piece,” continued Jackson, channelling the same lugubrious tone that has since become writer-director Shyamalan’s narrative trademark (think The Happening, The Last Airbender,After Earth). “The thing that makes it very, very special, is its realistic depiction of figures.”
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