2. 'The Dark Knight' (2008)

The genre transcender. The trouble with the superhero genre, or with any genre, are the tropes. Winged men, evil geniuses and weird costumes demand a brassy treatment and suspension of disbelief. Minor keys are tough. One interesting thing that all genre allows, however, is wiggle room for broader aims. Or, conversely, genre allows its cliches to be worn by more ambitious movies like ornamentation. "The Godfather" is a gangster movie -- and a dissembling of gangster movies. The audience for Christopher Nolan's crime epic doesn't necessarily grasp that the solemnity of Sidney Lumet ("Dog Day Afternoon") was plugged into six decades of comic-book lore. The result is a superhero movie in genre only.

( August 27, 2012 )

The genre transcender. The trouble with the superhero genre, or with any genre, are the tropes. Winged men, evil geniuses and weird costumes demand a brassy treatment and suspension of disbelief. Minor keys are tough. One interesting thing that all genre allows, however, is wiggle room for broader aims. Or, conversely, genre allows its cliches to be worn by more ambitious movies like ornamentation. "The Godfather" is a gangster movie -- and a dissembling of gangster movies. The audience for Christopher Nolan's crime epic doesn't necessarily grasp that the solemnity of Sidney Lumet ("Dog Day Afternoon") was plugged into six decades of comic-book lore. The result is a superhero movie in genre only.

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