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Dry humor: a growing trend in action movies

by Courtney Deeren - Copy Editor
Tue, Sep 25th 2018 07:00 pm
Photo Credit: Flickr
Photo Credit: Flickr

The Guardians of the Galaxy” movies are best known for their dry humor. This form of humor works really well for the particular movie, but it gets to be a bit much when the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) uses this type of approach.

People haven’t taken kindly to the use of  humor in the MCUs other movies, such as the third installment of the Thor trilogy, “Thor: Ragnarok,” or even the most recent release, “Avengers: Infinity War.”

Many fans of the MCU have watched as the movies have incorporated more and more humor into the slow scenes. 

This has many fans questioning why? Why are the writers trying to make things more light and comical? Some appreciate the humor, noting it offers some comic relief during really tense situations However, some feel it detracts from the content of the movie. 

Between the constant use of witty retorts and the intense destruction and explosions, these movies have people asking if there is actually much of a story. For those who consider themselves conscious consumers of movies, this franchise feels like it's lacking substance. 

While some fans think it is Disney’s doing since the  Marvel movies have become more “funny” after the deal with Disney was made, others argue that it is just a product of the company and filmmakers marketing to a certain audience. 

In recent years, superhero movies have become much more popular than they were in the 2000s. Some scholars say that superhero flicks always have something to say about politics and the current political environment. With more people getting involved in politics lately, this could account for the spike. 

However, others will argue that it’s because of the advances in special effects made in movies, such as computer-generated imagery (CGI) that has lead to the increase in popularity. These theories and more on “Superhero Popularity in Past and Present America” were published by PIT journal in cycle 7, 2016.

No doubt, with Disney’s ownership there is definitely some slight shift in target audience. Disney is, and always has been, known as a family geared producer. From the films that made it popular, to the shows they air on their channel, it is clear that Disney markets to a younger audience. No doubt, the use of action figures and toys has helped them bring in a younger generation, one can’t forget the original consumers. 

Those loyal fans of the comic books are also coming to see the motion picture portrayal of their favorite characters, and many are leaving the theatres disappointed. 

Another movie that is known for its use of humor is “Deadpool.” Both installments featured a pretty dark storyline, yet filled with scenes humor and black comedy. For fans of the comic books, the movies stay true to Deadpool’s sarcastic, witty ways. However even the main character, played by Ryan Reynolds, makes fun of the drastic difference between Detective Comics (DC) and the MCU. In “Deadpool 2,” Deadpool jokes about the main villain, Cable, asking him if he’s sure he isn’t a DC character because he is so “dark and gritty.”

The DC franchise, which includes superheroes like Batman and Wonderwoman, is widely known for the dark, gritty themes in its films. This sort of meta portrayal isn’t out of the ordinary for Deadpool, especially seeing how this franchise only recently was bought by Disney, unlike other films based off Marvel comic books, such as the Avengers series, Iron man, Black Panther and Captain America, which have all been owned by Disney since a buyout in 2009. 

Just Write YouTube channel released a video explaining how these movies are drowning in bathos, a  term coined in the 18th century, which describes the change in tone or mood to trivial or ridiculous, resulting in an anticlimactic scene. 

They explore one writer’s idea of making a movie “dark, grim, and tough” but also “tell a joke.” In the video the creator explains that this idea in itself isn’t bad, but because MCU doesn’t make things dark or tough enough, these movies walk the line of becoming a parody of themselves. 

Whether this shift to incorporate more humor is a product of marketing to a new age, or simply an attempt to offer some relief to viewers amidst chaos, one thing is certain, it has people talking and divided.