One of the noticeable characteristics of this generation is its sentimental attachment to its childhood. With the advent of hashtagging trends such as #ThrowbackThursdays and #90sKid, one can’t help but notice that people have revealed a desire to reconnect with its youth without losing the wisdom granted to it by years of stereotype eradication. This rising fad has not escaped the watchful eyes of the movie industry, and it has latched on by giving people what they want—flashbacks of childhood fantasies under a new light.
Last May 2014, the fifth installment of the X-Men movie franchise was released, which brought together the original cast from the first three installments and their young counterparts from X-Men: First Class. Mixed responses arose, as X-Men: Days of Future Past was not as faithful to the storyline of the comic series upon which it was based. In addition, this sequel made great leaps in the plot, which might cause confusion to persons who have religiously followed the earlier films. No explanation is offered for these developments, but the confusion and disappointment the film has caused to X-Men fans did not stop it from being the highest grossing X-Men film since the series first hit the big screen.
Joining the Marvel superheroes’ reappearances on the big screen is the neighborhoodfriend, The Amazing Spider-Man. WARNING: Skip ahead if you hate spoilers. The anticipation for the film intensified, because although fans expressed their distaste at the idea of this installment being Emma Stone’s final appearance as Gwen Stacey, many of these fans also desired to see a faithful reproduction of the comic book. One can only imagine the secret tears shed by viewers as they shared the loss Peter Parker endured in the final moments of this film. The greatest strength of Spider-Man films has always been the humanity behind the mask of a man who was supposed to be a superhero, and it could be this same aspect—other than faithfulness to its comic origins—which the movie capitalized throughout its plot that made The Amazing Spider-Man 2 a success in the eyes of both movie fans and critics.
Other than faithfully bringing to life heroes from our childhood, exploring the humanity behind the superhero’s mask also seems to be a flavor of the summer as Steve Rogers returned to the big screen through Captain America: The Winter Soldier. After the Battle of New York, Captain America now has to deal with his inner battles as he faces lies and treachery for breakfast, and the hauntings of his past for dinner. The plot reveals the drama surrounding a superhero’s life and his inner desire to be just like any other normal person. Lastly, it poses a question every lone hero may have to face: whom can you trust? Godzilla reinforces this question as the historical monster reappears on the big screen bigger, fiercer than ever. With two different kinds of monsters turning the world into a battleground, humanity is torn at identifying whom to trust—a prehistoric alpha predator, or a parasitic monster that feeds on radioactive material?
The trend of giving the supers of our childhood a more humane face was set by the time Maleficent hit the big screen. Walt Disney’s classic villaintakes center stage and thrills the crowd by asking: do you know the truth behind the tale? Angelina Jolie gives this super villain a more humane face as it revealed the real enemy and the real hero in a tale that lent a hand in building the image of girls worldwide.
With the slant given to Maleficent and other flashback films, childhood favorites have been given a new face, but this is a face that only those who grew up with these films will truly appreciate. In light of such history, it can be said that the blockbusters of summer 2014 had nothing too novel to offer. For the most part, they capitalized on the sentiment many people held from the remnants of their childhood superheroes. However, staying true to the progress made by the cultural revolution of the 21st century, film producers found a way to add a twist to what would have been but a mere reproduction. Although this thrilled many sentimental people, it may not be as attractive to those who desire novelty over sentimentality. Ultimately, these films took elements from the past and the significant developments of future to bring them to their present state.