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Filmism.net Dispatch July 30, 2013

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After the performance of most movies this blockbuster season, it'll be interesting to see how the sequels to Thor and Captain America do, both due in a couple of months.

I for one am feeling like movies are like constant visits to the same expensive toy store. While critics (and audiences) crowed about how great Iron Man 3 was, I was asking what made it so different from the supposedly soulless Iron Man 2. Wasn't it just more of Downey Jr's fast-talking patter with a whole computer lab of CGI battles chucked in?

I remember rolling my eyes at yet another Marvel origin story back when I first saw a trailer for Jonathan Hensleigh's rubbish The Punisher . Not only was that all the way back in 2004, every year we've had more of them.

This Variety story talks about how this year at Comic-Con, the studios sent a very clear message that there's no end in sight for comic book superhero movies, so the May-August blockbuster season will become even less interesting to someone like me.

But wait. Is that a rumble of discontent you hear? This year the US summer box office was a train crash. Man Of Steel and Pacific Rim underperformed. The Lone Ranger, White House Down, RIPD and After Earth flopped spectacularly. Studio System News has already asked whether summer movies are an endangered species.

Are we already sick of these overblown epics, the kind superhero movies inherently are? Imagine a future where audiences send an unmistakable message right back at the studios, one where these $200m films all nosedive and Marvel is hardly worth the paper their title deed is written on (as it was in the early 90s)?

Of course, if you only go to the movies at this time of year, you might think big flashy CG epics where the superhero gets the girl are all there is. But cinema has a rich history of movements and styles. In order to appreciate them, I asked myself recently in this story, how much do you need to know about them?

There are also a lot of movies around at the moment that deal with slavery. We've had Lincoln and Django Unchained, and the Weinstein's Oscar bait 12 Years a Slave is coming up. So in that spirit, I look back on a quite different film about slavery, Star Wars.

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