Innovation isn’t always necessary for critical acclaim or success at the box-office: that much has patently been reinforced by the enduring – if somewhat frustrating – popularity of remakes, sequels and reboots. There seems no end in sight to that particular trend, and occasionally Hollywood seems intent in turning itself into the proverbial snake eating its own tail, to the extent that most successes are either followed up or ripped off entirely.
Given the tornado of popularity that has met the revival of the comic book movie genre, it’s no surprise that that success has been perpetuated by clever borrowing of themes and approaches. After all, based on the success of the Phase model that the MCU has developed, both Sony and the DCCU are now seeking coherent linked narrative structures, probably with the continued stark tone introduced by Nolan, mixed with the gleeful action spirit of the X-Men franchise.
But the culture of borrowing – or outright stealing – from other films in the genre goes down to an even more specific level. Rather than just broad approaches to the the content, newer films occasionally just rip entire story arcs or sequences from other films, in the hope that nobody will complain.
Sometimes, of course, it’s accidental, like Bruce Wayne twice ignoring the fact that the villains he faces who know his true identity come with gangs of underlings, who are probably party to the reason they’re attacking his mansion, in two separate film franchises, and sometimes, it’s in the interest of narrative in-referencing. But even worse is when the film-makers simply trot out the same, very specific tropes to ensure that they grab the genre’s staple audience through similarity.
And it happens in some ways you might never have noticed…
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