Every summer, Hollywood spends billions of dollars trying to blow your mind with hot action thrill-rides with amazing special effects. While most of the films produced are visually appealing and have compelling characters, they’re all basically the same movie. Yes, there are differences -- like who the antagonist is and the way in which the protagonist ultimately prevails, but the similarities in the story arc and basic plot points are almost exactly the same. Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing these films just as much as the next guy, but here are six things that every summer blockbuster has in common.
A Damaged Hero
It usually takes a drastic life event for a hero to actually become a hero. The damage could come from his childhood (i.e. Batman’s parents who were killed right in front of him), or later on in life (i.e. The Hulk getting exposed to extreme radiation levels that actually turned him in to The Hulk). No matter who the hero is, he/she is damaged and it draws a feeling of sympathy from audience members. This gives our hero a sense of accomplishment when they overcome their adversity and defeat the villain.
A Villain That You Sort Of Like
Villains are all assholes, plain and simple. But there’s always a part of them that we can relate to and like. Whether it’s humor (The Joker), a cool costume, (Darth Vader) or simply a bad ass-ness that can’t be explained (Bane), we need to love and hate the villain at the same time. Why? It forces our emotions to grow and change as their character develops. We relate to them, understand why they’re a villain and maybe even feel some sympathy before they do something really bad (i.e. When Denzel Washington in Training Day holds a gun to Ethan Hawkes’ head forcing him to smoke dirty weed). Eventually it is this action that leads us to hate the villain, and we have to hate the villain because when the hero reigns victorious it makes the victory that much more glorious.
The World At Stake
Pressure makes the action even more intense. When the world is at stake there is no room for error, which builds tension and ultimately gives us a sense of relief when the hero prevails. Sometimes the world isn’t at stake. Sometimes it’s a city, or a town or a ship, but the point is that the stakes are high and if the hero loses, shit doesn’t turn out well for humanity.
An Annoying Hot Girl
Sex sells, and every Blockbuster has a hot girl who does annoying things or has annoying tendencies. This character is always necessary to the success of the hero and she’s usually REALLY, REALLY hot, but her annoying nature puts the hero’s mission at stake. Think about Kirsten Dunst in Spiderman. She was really attractive but she found a way to get captured and forced Spiderman to almost have to choose between saving a bus full of people and her annoying self. The same goes for Katie Holmes/Maggie Gyllenhaal in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. She wouldn’t date Bruce even though he showed every sign that he loved her and explained civilly that he as Batman had to be the one to save Gotham. Then, in the Dark Knight Rises she gets captured and killed which made Batman really upset (which is literally the most annoying thing she could’ve done). That second example was a bit of a stretch, but you get the point. These hot annoying girls almost always ruin everything for our hero, but they look good doing it.
A Big Fight Scene that Does BILLIONS of Dollars of Damage to a Big City
You can’t avoid this when the world is at stake and superpowers or weapons technology is being used. The Avengers couldn’t save the New York skyline, Hancock destroyed Los Angeles, Batman let Gotham take a beating, Spiderman also let New York get messed up, and the list goes on. It’s cool to watch the way in which filmmakers allow these cities to be destroyed, but you’d think that these heroes would take some preventative measures to avoid such large scale damage!? I mean how many times can these ‘heroes’ let the great cities of our world get destroyed!?
A Cookie-Cutter Trailer
Every Blockbuster has basically the same trailer. Don’t believe me? Watch this.
Aristotle is a Los Angeles based comedian who doesn’t really think that Enrique Iglesias would be an effective hero, baby. You can follow him on Twitter @STOTLE.