Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Serial Killers... Ug

I despise lazy writing, and serial killers are lazy writing. Serial killers are how people who don’t know good from evil try to make sure their audience KNOWS they mean evil. It’s sad.

Before we get into the problem with serial killers it’s worth pointing out a recent study that found that serial killers are a growth industry on television. Seven television shows about serial killers were added this season, bringing the total to twenty. Seems excessive, doesn’t it?

Well, Hollywood likes to claim that they “only reflect the violence in society.” So said, CBS president Nina Tassler, NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt and Fox chairman Kevin Reilly. They also claim they don’t encourage/cause violence. But there’s reason doubt this. Consider these facts:
● Hollywood claims influence when they want to, such as claiming that their positive portrayal of gays “increased approval ratings of homosexuality of among youth.” So the claim that they don’t influence people is belied by their own contrary claims.

● Copycats occur fairly regularly. At least three brutal murders and one attempted murder were inspired by Dexter with each killer specifically mentioning the show as influencing their thoughts. Do I believe that television causes serial killers? No, but I do think it provides encouragement to those already out there, and I think it changes the culture in lesser, yet significant, ways... to be discussed below.

● Most importantly though, the claim that they “only reflect” society is statistically wrong. The FBI puts the number of serial killers between 35 and 50. Yet, there are now 20 shows about them on television. Even worse, they are the go-to villain. Criminal Minds alone has featured more than 100 serial killers in its past seven seasons. Thus, Hollywood dramatically overstates the number of serial killers both in real terms (raw numbers) and percentages. Keep in mind that roughly one million criminals are in jail right now and many more remain at large. So the percentage of serial killers to criminals is almost zero, yet Hollywood portrays it at around 50% or more. That is not reflecting society, that is distorting society.
So what bothers me about this?

Hollywood uses serial killers because it needs clearly identifiable good guys and bad guys, but modern Hollywood doesn’t know how to write such characters. It’s sunk so deeply into the well of moral relativism and identity politics that it no longer knows how to explain the difference between good and evil, because in their minds, good and evil depend on your perspective. Serial killers are different. Anyone can explain away a single murder as justified or an accident or whatever... he had it coming. But no one can explain away a dozen murders.

Moreover, serial killers can be made white, middle-aged men of indeterminate nationality (ignore that most display homosexual tendencies), and their motives are all internal, i.e. they kill because they are evil. This means they can be scrubbed of all ethnic, political, religious, sexual implications. . . they can be genericized.

The end result is a character who is undeniably evil, but who has no motive whatsoever that can be pinned upon them which will bring out a protestor or generate sympathy in any member of the audience. They are the human version of the Terminator... a motiveless machine with no possibility of sympathy. This is lazy writing. It’s cowardly writing. It’s like making Satan or secret Nazis your villain.

And what bothers me is both that I am totally bored with villains who are nothing more than walking murder weapons, and that I fear this is dulling the public’s senses to what evil really is. If one killing doesn’t make you evil, then something is wrong with our value system... yet, Hollywood suggests evil requires many killings. It suggests that evil is melodrama and motiveless. It misses the fact that real life evil is banal and selfish. It teaches people that evil requires a really high threshold, when it doesn't... it just requires indifference to the harm you cause.

That’s the real problem. Not the idea that some dipstick is going to copycat one of these characters, but the idea that average people will start to define evil up.


tryanmax said...

It's hard to strike after you've hit the nail so squarely. Bravo.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks! I think people really do miss the point when they say, "You're going to create serial killers" or "You're encouraging people to kill." The real problem is that it becomes harder for people to see real evil.

shawn said...

More evidence that Hollywood believes that what you see on film or tv influences what you think: the lack of smoking, or if there is smoking, it is done by the badguy.

The most tired and played out trope: angry, rich white guy is the badguy.

I might give Hollywood a little break with the serial killers, as it's easier to cast one person to be the badguy, than to have to cast someone new every week.

Anthony said...

Shows like The Shield, Justified and The Wire did/do a great job of showing ordinary evil (drug dealers, thieves, people who murder not because its fun but because its business).

However, I can understand why writers love serial killers. They're the sort of characters writers like to use ('He kills in a pattern which the cops must figure out using the riddles he left behind' vs 'He got drunk, got thrown out of a party and came back with a gun').

I think the odds of evil being defined up are extremely remote. People like serial killers in the media but that like isn't going to cause them to dismiss the impact of real life muggers and pickpockets.

Anonymous said...

Keeping in mind that a talented writer could come up with anything...

-Serial killers seem to offer more of a mythology, and there seems to be more to probe in terms of psychology.... stuff that may not necessarily be offered by Joe the pickpocket (and gold for TV shows that deal with complex multi-episode arcs)

-Like corporate bad guys, serial killers have their own shorthand - you don't need to explain anything... XYZ is a serial killer, so of course he (or she!) acts a certain way

-Serial killers can be portrayed in several different ways and what better way to challenge the hero than to present him/her with an equally-capable villain?

tryanmax said...

But Anthony, you're already defining evil up. You've gone straight to people who are committing clearly defined criminal acts. There is plenty of evil in the world committed within the bounds of law--as well as good that has been made illegal. Not every writing is going to question and challenge the boundaries of morality, no, but serial killers are an extreme moral safe zone.

And if you look around, you'll see evidence that people try to define evil by the trappings rather than the deeds. On the right, lots of people have pointed to Obama's campaign artwork as proof that he's a commie/Nazi/fascist. The left outright calls anything they disagree with evil, demonstrating no understanding of the term.

Anthony said...


I figured since we were discussing law enforcement/crime shows and the overrepresentation of serial killers, it made sense to talk about such shows which don't revolve around serial killers.

I agree that just because something isn't the sort of thing that features in cop shows doesn't mean that it isn't wrong.

I don't think people are defining evil by the trappings, its that American politics always features a certain level of hysteria/hyperbole. According to their most wild-eyed opponents every president is a dictator and every election will be the last election.

tryanmax said...

Agreed about the political rhetoric, though I find that people identify things by the trappings all the time, regardless. It's part of human nature, for one. How often do you see people rooting for the underdog for no other reason? What is it about an underdog that inherently makes him more deserving of triumph than the guy who worked to the top before him? And what happens after he wins? Is he now the "bad guy"?

I see what you were doing in the context of crime shows. I guess the issue there is that when you throw a serial killer in the mix, it's barely even a crime show after that.

K said...

Nice post Andrew.

I might add that once upon a time, what used to be "the news" has morphed into a continuous info-tainment narrative. Surveys have shown that people are 10 times less likely to be victims of violent crime than they think - mainly due to the projection of low probability events such as murders as an every day commonplace occurrence in order to add more conflict and urgency to the narrative plot.

That's driven by ratings in particular and media company greed in general and has warped the culture badly.

AndrewPrice said...

Shawn, That's another good example. If they didn't think it didn't work, why was there such a push to stop smoking in the 1980s and 1990s? Even now, there are liberal government bodies (like in Britain) who ban things like smoking on film because it influence children.

Yep... but violence? Oh, no way that influences anyone.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, There are definitely non-serial killer portrayals... The Shield was excellent, but that's not the point. The point is that Hollywood is drifting toward an ever increasing number of shows about or involving serial killers. It's becoming the standard.

And I think it is easy to define evil up. We redefine the culture all the time based on events. Look at gays or adultery. Twenty years ago, gay sex was still illegal and there were no gays in politics except in San Fran or Barney Frank. Forty years ago, adultery was illegal. Twenty years ago, adultery was the end of your political career. Today, it's just a road bump.

I would argue too that language and conduct are more violent and harsher now than they were in the 1980-1990s, which was already worse than the 1970s. If you said, "Man, Sarah Palin should be raped" or "I'd like to see someone kill that guy" in the 1970s, people would have shunned you and probably called the cops. Today, most people shrug their shoulders.

This is how that happens. It happens by exposing people to something repeatedly until they become numb to it and then it no longer bothers them. Look at film violence today and tell me if it would have sold in the 1980s... it wouldn't have. But we've become immune to it.

KRS said...

Good points - can't argue with anybody. I might add that there's also the fad factor to consider. Maybe one of the reasons we have so many serial killer shows is because it's genre's moment - the popularity of "Dexter" (ugh...)feeds the trend. When the genre is popular, lot's of badly written scripts by lazy writers get aired. The Zombie fandom is a good example of this: look at "Walking Dead" - I swear that show is riding solely on the desire of genre fans to have a series zombie show.

Fads allow the lazy to be profitable.

Sorry if I'm stomping on any "Walking Dead" fans out there. I, too, once harbored the desire to see it achieve for the zombie genre the same cosmic melodramatic heights that "Dark Shadows" brought to vampires. Alas, I have abandoned all hope.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, What you say is all evidence of bad writing. Serial killers are the low-hanging fruit of villains... they are prefab villains who don't require any thought or development to insert into a movie/show.

Moreover, there isn't "more to explore" with serial killers. There's actually less because it's all pre-written. All you do is change the names and the places in the back story... the back story is always the same. A good writer finds new ground to explore and fills it with something interesting. So a good writer would never feel drawn to something like a serial killer because it's too pre-fab.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, This: serial killers are an extreme moral safe zone is very true. That's the problem. The more we drift into this land, the more evil becomes black and white and easy to spot and the less we realize that lesser crimes and lesser acts have consequences.

Your political examples, by the way, I think are more misdirecting/watering-down the concept of evil. "Evil" is no longer about evil, it's about disagreement. That's a different kind of wrong, but a wrong nevertheless.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, It makes sense to talk about other cop shows too, but keep in mind that the percentages are what matter here.

Think about guns. I know I haven't put out my film guide yet, but it talks about this issue. The vast majority of crimes are committed without guns. When guns are used, the revolver dominates. Yet, Hollywood would have you believe that all criminals carry guns and they all use submachine guns and semiautomatic pistols. People have come to believe that even though the statistics show that it's completely false. Minds are malleable.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks K! So true. I see that with my mother. She lives in a neighborhood that has had one reported crime in ten years. In fact, the whole town is kind of like that -- the police have a map.

Nevertheless, she's freaked out about home invasions, burglaries, and random murders. Why? Because whenever one of those happens, the local news (radio, TV and paper) all go into overdrive. They make it sound like this is happening everywhere all the time and YOU COULD BE NEXT!!! It's total bull, but she believes it because that's what she hears constantly on the news.

AndrewPrice said...

KRS, High demands often does equate to poor product. When everyone wants something, people with no business offering it start to jump in.

With serial killers, I suspect there is another problem too, which is that Hollywood often works on simply shocking you rather than entertaining you. Serial killers fit that perfectly. They have a high shock factor. But that also means you need to keep upping the ante to get the same shock. That's how you end up with torture porn. So this problem will likely keep getting worse as they struggle to find more horrific ways to keep serial killers from becoming boring.

T-Rav said...

Making Christopher Browning's Ordinary Men required reading in the schools might be a good way to counteract some of this.

I worry about this leveling-up of "evil" quite a bit. I mean, take a look at recent cultural phenomena like Fifty Shades of Gray or (ugh) Human Centipede. Not that the people who read/watch them are evil or violent themselves, but it certainly seems we've become far more tolerant of sadistic behavior when it appears.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if I'd call Human Centipede a "phenomenon." I'm usually pretty laissez-faire with this stuff myself but I draw the line (with permanent marker!!) with those movies and I don't hesitate to label the man who made them a f---ing freak.

Having said that, I think people still have boundaries - maybe they've shifted but they haven't disappeared entirely. (And this is coming from a 30-year old Jewish/agnostic heathen!) :-)

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, On Ordinary Men, I think that's a good idea. There seems to be this need to sensationalize evil. We need to assume it's the result of unusual circumstances, but human history tells us that it's not. Human history tells us that evil the result of opportunity plus an indifference to the effects on others.

I think Fifty Shades represents something else. I think it's a rebuke of feminism. But there definitely is a constant drift when it comes to what is acceptable sexually, and I think the internet in particular has made a lot of things seem more acceptable than they really are when dealing with people face to face.

Anthony said...

Andrew said:

And I think it is easy to define evil up. We redefine the culture all the time based on events. Look at gays or adultery. Twenty years ago, gay sex was still illegal and there were no gays in politics except in San Fran or Barney Frank. Forty years ago, adultery was illegal. Twenty years ago, adultery was the end of your political career. Today, it's just a road bump.
Morality has always been flexible. Sometimes it bends upwards, sometimes it bends downwards. For example, pretty much everyone agrees that Ariel Castro (who held three woman captive for years, using them for his sexual pleasure) is scum, but once upon a time guys like that were respectable provided they picked the right color of victim.

Its also worth keeping in mind that while I'm sure adultery has ended political careers in the past, it never brought down a President despite there being seven cheaters that history knows about. Perhaps its always been a matter of how talented/connected a politician is/was? In modern times Sanford still has a job, but Weiner's career is over.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, There are always boundaries. Hitler had boundaries. The issue is really what happens to the boundaries more than "do they disappear." I think that's what people are missing when they scream, "This will create serial killers!" The idea that something like the proliferation of serial killers on films will eliminate the boundaries is simply wrong. But there is a real danger, and that danger is that it begins to shift the boundaries in bad directions.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, I wouldn't count out the Weiner yet.

On the presidents, those affairs weren't known by the public until Clinton. They were generally only known by insiders and compliant journalists.

Morality is flexible, but that's the point. It doesn't flex on its own, it flexes based on societal pressure. Movies/television are one (huge) factor that creates societal pressure.

K said...

Forgot to put the conclusion on my post. That's what I get posting before coffee. Dang it.

- The conclusion is that I agree with Andrew's observation that just plain ol murder is no longer a big deal in stories and one reason is that it's been turned banal by it's constant presence on the news.


AndrewPrice said...

K, People grow immune to things that become common. That's part of human nature and it lets us adjust to any kind of condition. But it also means that our judgment changes as we begin to see shocking things as not so shocking anymore.

Koshcat said...

I see your point but I'm not sure I totally agree. The increase use of serial killers right now is due to lazy writing; capitalizing on a trend. The biggest problem I have with movie depicting serial killers is they either make the killer brilliant (they rarely are) or so weird that they would be easily identified. I have been interested in the serial killers and have read several books on the subject. The primary thing that ties all of the murders together is nothing. There really isn't a "serial killer" type of person. Yes, they tend to have little remorse for hurting a fellow human being but many people are able to section out their feelings. They could justify the killings.

Overall, the genre is popular in my opinion because it is like the boogyman. Since this person is killing "innocent" people, the importance of finding that person is much higher. It automatically brings tension to the story. Also, you can have the character play cat and mouse with the protagonist, which also builds tension. It is much harder to do with other crimes/criminals. I suspect the fad will fade again and lawyer shows will become popular again.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshcat, What? I thought all serial killers were brilliant middle-aged white guys with unsuspecting wives or really hip apartments and a total knowledge of computers and police procedures? Has Hollywood lied to me? LOL!

I'm so sure sure this is a fad. The problem with this being a fad is what do you switch to? When the zombie fad dies, you can do vampires or demons. But here, there's no alternative except leaving crime stories because there's nothing on a par (or above) with serial killers. And since the serial killer is the king of the heap -- like Satan in the supernatural world -- there's nowhere else to go but down, and I can't see a lot of people wanting to greenlight movies/shows that promise "less" than the current ones. The history of these types of films seems to be one of ever "more." So we'll see, but I think they're going to have a hard time switching gears from this one.

As for lawyer shows... please... no mas.

T-Rav said...

Scott, no, it's not a phenomenon in the sense that lots of people have seen it--I haven't, and I don't know anyone who has--but it is in the sense that lots of people know of its existence and its basic plot. More to the point, it's simply a punchline, referenced in sitcoms and talk shows to get laughs (or at least smirks). That's really what I mean, that a portrayal of one of the most sadistic, truly twisted things you can do to a human now draws laughter rather than vomiting and other, more appropriate reactions.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, I couldn't say how far it's a rebuke of feminism--who knows, there are probably some morons out there who think it "empowers women"--but it is more than mildly pornographic and personally degrading. At least, that's my take.

On the other hand, where serial killers are concerned, it doesn't always happen for the reasons you mention. Sometimes it's a conscious decision by the writers, to slow down the action, develop a certain character, etc. And at times, it's kind of a nice break from the "case of the week" rut most crime shows inevitably get stuck in.

Specific instances aside, though, I think we agree on the overall trend in entertainment. It's not a good one, for anybody.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I wrote about that book before and the social trend around it and it's not what you think. It is about rejecting these boxes that the two ideological sides want women to live in. So it is about empowerment... at least the brouhaha around it.

In any event, yes, there is certainly room for a good study of a serial killer, except that's done to death these days. To me, the issue is that this has become the go-to villain for so many hack writers. It's like the "evil corporation," it's just a pathetic writing crutch, and IMO it's doing damage to public perception on issues of crime and good and evil.

Kit said...

Having watched a certain deal of Criminal Minds, probably the biggest serial killer show, I can say that the genre suffers from a major flaw: The quality of an individual episode is almost entirely dependent on the quality of the episode's villain-of-the-week.
A show like NCIS or Castle can have an uninteresting mystery but the episode can still be fun.
And that is in large part because a serial killer show, like Criminal Minds is, when you boil right down to it, a ticking time-bomb show, i.e., "they've got to catch the bad guy before he kills someone!" Whereas other mystery shows are just that, a mystery. Yes, you often figure it out in the first 15minutes but its the "How will they figure it out" aspect that is often fun as well as the chemistry of the killers.
Criminal Minds on the other hand, being a ticking time-bomb show, especially one that revolves around the heroes, being criminal profilers, having to "profile" the personality of the badguy hinges on the quality of the villain.
The result is a show that has episode-to-episode quality that is very uneven. One week you might have a phenomenal episode with great and interesting villains ("Thirteenth Step"*) and then you have one where the villain is so silly one thinks back to Batman's silly "gimmick" villains of the 1960s such as Mr. Freeze* or Cavalier.

*Thirteenth Step's villains were so good and so well-drawn out I was actually wishing it had been a feature film instead of a simple 44minute episode. The actors, two young people, managed to put out performances that completely overshadowed the main cast.
**Mr. Freeze before Bruce Timm and Pail Dini got a crack at him in the early-90s animated series.

Kit said...

Another problem. A lot of actors who are playing the villain will try to ham it up to the Nth Power. While sometimes this can work well often it just seems silly.
Too many actors try to be like Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs and forgetting that they are not Anthony Hopkins and as a result fail miserably.

Side note: If you want to see some performances in recent years where the over-the-top crazy psychopath is played well, here are 3 suggestions.
Joker in Dark Knight
Moriarty in BBC's Sherlock
Alice Morgan in Luther

That last one is largely a result of the chemistry between her and the male lead. If she had been a one-week villain on, say, Criminal Minds (despite not being a serial killer -yet) then she likely would've failed miserably as a character. Its largely the bizarre relationship in the show that makes it work.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, I think that most mimic Anthony Hopkins. He seems to have defined "serial killer" in Hollywood. That's something I do really like about Dexter is that he's not Hopkins. He's a lot more conflicted. He doesn't revel in it. He knows he's doing wrong.

Kit said...

Never watched Dexter aside from the pilot. I take it its good.

T-Rav said...

Kit, as far as crime shows (which I think we suffer from a general glut of) are concerned, like I said, they almost always end up falling into the case-of-the-week. When that happens, often it comes down to which shows have well-drawn, appealing lead characters that surpass the individual case (NCIS, Castle, etc.), and which don't (Criminal Minds). Relying on serial killers or similar twists alone--that rarely works out well.

AndrewPrice said...

It really is. I'm sick and tired of serial killers, but this is the one exception I make. He's kind of a good guy, so you get a lot of conflict within his character which makes for interesting dialog. The writing is fantastic, and the show is made by the other characters -- like his sister who swears inappropriately all the time.

This is one time where the quality of the writing really overcomes a multitude of sins.

Kit said...


I think you are right. Now, re Criminal Minds, when it works it can work and produce some high-quality drama. Unfortunately, when it doesn't you get some of unintentionally silliest stuff on television.

Kit said...

Examples of it not working: One of the Carradines playing a serial killer (its a mediocre performance) and one about a con-artist whose mind splits from the number of aliases he is using causing him to burst into murderous outrages.

Kit said...

One show that pulls it off fairly well is BBC's Luther. I think there are four reasons for this:
(1) The show has a magnificent lead character, John Luther, played by Idris Elba.
(2) A fair amount of the show revolves around the relationship between Det. Inspector John Luther and the sociopath Alice Morgan and the two actors have incredible chemistry.
(3) Each Season ("Series" in UK-speak) has a story-arc un-related to serial killers.
(4) I think this one is VERY important: Each season/series has only been 4-6 episodes long. In other words, it can have every tired serial killer, detective show trope in the book, do it in an interesting way, and all without dragging on too long and wearing out its welcome. The season ends well before it starts getting stale.

Compare that last one to Criminal Minds where they have to fill 22 episodes, each with a different serial killer (besides the occasional two-parter), and you can't have every serial killer be some wierdo who is mad at his mom so you have to change it up a bit and that means you are going to get some really interesting stuff and some really silly stuff.

Maybe there is something to the British-style season of 4-13 episodes...

Anyway, here is the trailer for Series/Season 1 of Luther:

Angry Rich White Guy said...

Hey I am not evil...

it's the writer's fault!

Individualist said...


There is a movie out called Pain and Gain which is based on a true story. It is about fitness freaks kidnapping some guy and forcing him to sign over all his money.
The movie I think does a good job at showing the messed up thoguht processes involved in someone committing truly heinous acts for profit.
I found the villians in the movie much more disturbing than say Hannibal Lector or Freddie Krueger and not just because it actually happened or so the movie stated at the end. The real life decisions of these individuals show the true horror of what real people can do. They did not come off as boogiemen because the director interviewed them (I think) or used the cops data from the trial. It made what they were doing the stupidity and the waste of it that much worse.

Individualist said...

Speaking of serial killers...
What about the slasher movie genre. Does that fall into the same vein as serial killers.
I dunno cause it seems different to me. I like the horror villians better than the serial killers but i can't tell you why.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, The slasher genre raises the same problems of making the public immune to violence, but at least the slasher are normally supernatural so people don't tend to see them as real life beings. But I do think the trend toward torture porn is really dangerous and despicable.

Kit said...

NEver watched Saw or Hostel or any of the torture movies.
When it comes to horrifying things, I (usually*) prefer the implicit over the explicit. Its just scarier.

*The Exorcist is an exception.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, I think the fascination with the explicit over the implicit comes from three factors: (1) that's what's showing, so people see it -- it's easier to produce, (2) many no people brains good, so explosive gooder to understand than implosive, and (3) large parts of the audience don't want to be scared beyond the time they spend in the theater, i.e. they don't want to sleep with the lights on, so they prefer shocking to scary because the shock stops once the credits roll.

Kit said...

Everything that pushes the boundaries has appeal -for a while.

Also, I'm trying to remember the last torture porn movie. From what I know they've more or less died out. In fact, they seem to have been replaced by the living dead.

AndrewPrice said...

They were big through 2010, but seem to have died down since. Right now we're in a mini "creepy images" revival moment... pale children, faces in the mirror, detached hands coming from behind your head, etc.

Actually, the big thing right now seems to be remaking Poltergeist in any number of ways.

Kit said...


Movies do seem to be in a creative pit.

A blogger named Furious D has suggested that Hollywood is in a state much like it was in the late-50s and 60s when the creative geniuses of the 30s and 40s were aging out of their prime, you had a series of bloated big budget spectacles (Ben-Hur, Quo Vadis, etc.) and lots of 3-D (Hondon) and competition with a rising medium (television).
What happened was in the 1970s was a group of young directors (Coppola, Spielberg, Lucas, Howard) jolted Hollywood out of its problems.

Kit said...

I think the Creepy Images thing comes from the Japanese, who, from what I know, pioneered that genre.

Or, rather, ripped-off from the Japanese.

AndrewPrice said...

Yes, the Japanese are credited with starting that wave of horror with films like The Grudge and The Ring.

I think Hollywood doesn't suffer from a lack of creativity, I think they suffer from a lack of courage. It's all about profit and risk, and that creates a heavy bias toward the expected.

Kit said...

I think you're right.

Kit said...

I think this is why people like Christopher Nolan. He does what you don't see the other big-budged movies don't do.

One is free to debate whether Inception succeeded in its goal of being a smarter-than-the-average-summer-movie summer movie but it least it had that goal.

AndrewPrice said...

Yes, Nolan's films tend to be a lot smarter than most of what Hollywood makes these days.

Kit said...

I also expect Thor to do well in theaters from good will created for Marvel Studios by The Avengers

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