Since then it’s become an epidemic. Rock bottom was in The Incredibles, when the little boy happily tricked some henchmen into crashing their ships into each other and dying a fiery death. I think I was supposed to pump my first in the air and say “Hell yeah!” after that one.
Now I’m not one of those guys who complains about all the construction workers that were killed on the Death Star. That was clearly portrayed as a grim, do-or-die situation. Nobody was there to have fun. It was war, and I accept that lots of people die in war. But superhero movies are a little different. Superheroes are out there voluntarily, breaking all the rules and having fun. When I see them killing off minimum-wage goons with a cocky smirk, I kind of start to hate them.
Even when it is a do-or-die situation, please allow the hero to take killings seriously. If it’s not upsetting, we don’t buy it. They just announced that Jennifer Lawrence will take on the most coveted new franchise role out there: the lead in the adaptation of the super-popular teen novel “The Hunger Games”. The novel is very exciting, and it might make a good movie, but I hope the screenwriter fills the gaping hole in its center.
In a dystopian future, a young girl is forced to participate in a gladiator tournament where she must kill or die. That’s fine, and I get that she really does have to kill these other kids and the whole point is how horrific it all is. But the first time she kills somebody in the tournament, she doesn’t bat an eyelash. They tell us she’s never killed before, but when the time comes she drops a bee’s nest on somebody who gets stung to death and then she immediately moves on to the next task.
This is just not the way the world works, people! Read any oral history of any war. Every soldier confesses that they would rather die than kill. Killing is what they’re really afraid of when they get shipped out. Killing is what gives them PTSD. It’s horrible. Nobody gets over it, not even the toughest guys. It’s easy for writers to sit on their beanbags and type up scenes where the hero walks away from an explosion without flinching, but please take a second to think about how killing would actually make them feel. (Even if do they have cool-guy errands that they have to walk to.)