Escaping The Cinematic Universe: One Original Film At A Time

One reason why Baby Driver is a front-runner for must-see movie of the year, in my opinion, is the fact that it’s entirely original. You don’t need to conduct research or do any homework prior to seeing it. These kinds of movies are generally more audience friendly – I took my mother to see Baby Driver and she loved it. It’s the quintessential, heading-to-the-theatre, “what should we see tonight?” example of a fun and exciting movie watching experience. No prerequisites.

Do not confuse my opinion with a distaste for the ever-popular superhero movies. I’m as much a fan of the Marvel et al. cinematic universes as the next person. Logan, Wonder Woman and Spiderman: Homecoming were a few of my favourites movies this year. At any given point in time, a good portion of the movies I’m most excited to see in theatres are superhero centric. There’s always something missing, though. I can’t look to just anyone and share a moment of pure elation about how great Avengers: Infinity War is going to be… and that’s fine. There’s something special about a one and done spectacular film, though. In fact, I think we’re craving them, and our calls are being answered.

Three of the most talked about movies of the last few months have been original, brilliant, and better yet they’ve delivered on the hype. Okja, an emotional and powerful story of a girl and her super-pig vs. a corporation and their super greed. Baby Driver, a heart pounding, foot tapping, car chasing heist movie like you’ve never seen. Dunkirk, a larger than life war film that quietly forces you to the edge of your seat. There’s something to be said for the magnitude of excitement surrounding a film that:

  • looks utterly amazing
  • you don’t know anything about outside of trailers and press material.

So why is this? Are we simply tired of ordering high stakes with a side of men in capes? Maybe. Or maybe at the core we miss the simplicity of watching a good movie. I could be alone in this, but when I’m seeing the new Marvel movie, or speculating on new DC trailers, there’s something a little stressful about it. There’s so much information, so many announcements and spinoffs and remakes and rumours and crossovers. This is all wonderful and mesmerizing and I’m filled with respect for the super-humans that keep track of it all; but as a fan who’s also a completist AND completionist, it can be an overwhelming relationship to maintain.

At the end of the day, a great movie is a great movie. The best great movies, though, pull you in and spit you out with a smile on your face and leave you wanting more. They linger. Their superpower is their staying power and sometimes, that is enough.