Bob McPhail 5:30 p.m., May 25
The Anxiety of Gaming Influence: are bloated blockbuster endings just a version of the Final Boss?
Punching, punching, punching...still punching.
My dad loves Superman. He did not love Man of Steel. And boy howdy, was he bored during the final battle. Perhaps because he is a psychologist, he told me, "I would like to do a study on moviegoer's brains while they're watching these huge, endless battles at the end of movies. They may say they were amazed afterwards, but my suspicion is, their brains will show that they're actually bored while they're watching."
Perhaps because I'm his son, I agreed wholeheartedly. Then it occurred to me: you know what these final battles look like? They look like the Final Boss showdowns in video games. Ever play God of War 3? You kill Zeus at the end. It takes a long time. You have to hit him again and again and again and again.
I'm not knocking video games here. I imagine that killing Zeus is a pretty big thrill, even if it takes a long time and involves a lot of repetition. But I don't think it's as much fun to watch as it is to play. And I think a lot of movies are making us watch. And I kind of maybe sort of suspect that audiences are putting up with it because they're used to the dynamic of video games?