I have a VERY personal gripe that will be this entry, regarding the latest trend in hero action movies.
I want to make it abundantly clear that I am not going to be saying that there isn't any space for the kind of stories that I will be complaining about, but that
1) We deserve better stories and we shouldn't aim exclusively to the lowest common denominator
2) This is what I think heroes should be, but this IS NOT me saying that we cannot have these kind of characters.
Everyone has the right to like something, and the right to an opinion. This that follows is my opinion, and I don't expect everyone to agree. I just want to put forth this point to the world.
So, after that Disclaimer was presented, let's begin.
I went to see the latest Transformers movie today, and, gripes about story, racism, sexism, camera and the like aside, I had one major thing that I've noticed A LOT lately in heroic films.
There was LOTS of destruction and offscreen death in the movie.
It seemed like it didn't matter to the Autobots how many people died, so long as the main cast didn't die, everyone else was free game.
Now, I'll admit I am not a big Transformers fan, and that I've hardly seen much of the cartoons and the comics, but from what I remember, Optimus Prime (And by extension, the rest of the Autobots) had a heroic, paladin-esque view towards heroism. No taking lives, protecting the innocent, no harm to those that didn't deserve it, etc.
The Optimus in the screen was not like this. Collateral damage and casualties from both bystanders and enemies, downright murdering... That is not the Optimus that I knew from Beast Wars. This was an alternate interpretation at best, at worst a different character with the same name.
And I noticed that this had been a trend with characters lately.
It seems like so long as the main cast survives, it doesn't matter how much destruction occurs around them, or how many casualties there are.
Just like the massive destruction in the latest Superman movie. Once again, a hero that was basically an archetypal paladin, doesn't seem to have issues with the massive destruction of a city, nor does he seem to have problems with the countless lives lost in the process of defeating the villain.
To a lesser extent, I'm also reminded of the Dark Knight series. Much lesser extent, but he also suffers from "So long as the main cast survives, who cares about civilians and unnamed characters"-ness.
All of these complaints have a root in what I knew of this characters.
So, let's bring it back a little. What are heroes?
In this sense, heroes (particularly of the caliber of Superman and Optimus Prime) are protectors of EVERYONE, who make it their mission to make sure that everyone survives, and that the villain is apprehended (and if the villain dies, it is hardly ever by their own hand).
Heroes are paragons of virtue, and while there are anti-heroes and moral situations that you can put heroes in to give them character development and pathos and the like, a hero is supposed to be one who will take the fight out of the city to make sure that there is very little destruction and few casualties.
What are these characters?
Bodyguards of the main cast.
That's all they are.
I'm not going to count down all the different times that each of these characters failed to protect the people in favour of protecting a single person, that'd take too long.
All of these heroes have incredible abilities that would've allowed them to reduce the collateral damage to nearly none, if any at all, but they weren't written like that.
It seems like it's a trend lately that collateral damage is acceptable, so long as the main mission succeeds.
That is not a view that I can agree with.
Life is a precious, invaluable thing, and the fact that these action movies seem to forget that a hero is there to protect them does not sit well with me.
And that's why I, personally, say that these characters are not heroes.
PS: Jittercam sucks and it should be banished to the ninth circle of hell.