Oh, right, it's supposed to be fun.
For more than 50 years, the Marvel Universe's innovation, grounding its characters with relatable, everyday problems, has been its calling card. But in 2014 that back and forth between metaphorical angst and CGI spectacle, played out several times a year in 3-D and heralded with ongoing marketing maelstroms, lapses into an insistent, schematic ho-hum-ity. The superhero genre, like the Western before it, is in serious danger of becoming too familiar. Peter Parker has love troubles (but first another throwdown in Times Square), Iron Man is full of hubris (but the suit is cool), Hulk prefers to smash (but Hulk depressed). I enjoy many of these films, but like soap operas without end, over-determinism settles in and air gets sucked out.