Simon Pegg is recognizing the dominance of the Marvel/Star Wars/Disney machine for what it is -- merchandising our childhood properties to provide a safe comfort zone. Of course, his comments are nothing new, if you've read this site you know how I feel about mainstream cinema's current lack of challenging content. Pegg's insistence that many adults today refuse to grow up is dead on, superhero movies are comfort food, but this is escapism that has gone too far.
“But there is a side to me that likes films that have nothing to do with spaceships, too.” Besides, he says, science fiction was more substantial during his youth, containing serious adult themes beyond the sparkly effects. Nowadays, a lot of what gets called nerd culture is just “children’s entertainment. The adult population is going to see films about superheroes and spaceships – myself included – and there’s a strange kind of infantilisation that’s going on. These are the preserve of our childhood, but now we don’t have to grow up until we are 30, or even 40.”
Is that dangerous? “Yeah! It makes us all out of touch with reality. It seems amazing to me that there’s probably more discussion online about the next superhero movie than there is about immigration. Maybe now the state of the world is getting harder to ignore and people are starting to wake up to it a bit. Or maybe people will just feel even more powerless and think: ‘I can’t do anything, I might as well just watch this film and get away from the awfulness of it all.’ But the awfulness is festering more and more as we sit in the darkness watching these bright colours.”
I always go back to this quote from Alan Moore about comic book movies:
"To my mind, this embracing of what were unambiguously children's characters at their mid-20th-century inception seems to indicate a retreat from the admittedly overwhelming complexities of modern existence," he wrote to Ó Méalóid. "It looks to me very much like a significant section of the public, having given up on attempting to understand the reality they are actually living in, have instead reasoned that they might at least be able to comprehend the sprawling, meaningless, but at-least-still-finite 'universes' presented by DC or Marvel Comics. I would also observe that it is, potentially, culturally catastrophic to have the ephemera of a previous century squatting possessively on the cultural stage and refusing to allow this surely unprecedented era to develop a culture of its own, relevant and sufficient to its times."