X-Men: Apocalypse is in theaters, and brings with it a predictable level of — in film — catastrophic events. The demolishment of iconic monuments has become so old hat that Jeff Goldblum's David Levinson quips, “they like to get the landmarks,” in the Independence Day: Resurgence trailer.
The unfortunate result of the overuse of grand-scale destruction in film is that both we, the audience, and seemingly the filmmakers themselves have become numb to the intended impact. So much so that director Bryan Singer demonstrated just how tone-deaf both he and the studio had become when they featured Magneto destroying the remains of the Auschwitz concentration camps in X-Men: Apocalypse.
It's one thing to drown London bridge for the umpteenth time in a film, but there are certain places that stand sacred. We preserve and honor them because they hold within them the memories that are meant to teach us to be and do better.
In the world of these disaster movies, however, everything has become just another potential set piece for destruction. So no one thinks twice when they have Olivia Munn dressed in a bathing suit as Michael Fassbender flattens a set that's meant to be a site of real-world horror.
In a way, it's the logical extension of this trend. It's the attempt to use destruction porn in a way that matters for the characters and the audience.
Confession: There was a time — not to long ago — that I'd have been happy to watch a 45-minute cut of every demonstration of over-the-top, world-ending spectacle that Roland Emmerich has ever created in his films. Set to whatever weird and wonderful hipster score the people who would put on such an event would set it to.
However, even I have grown weary of the crutch that blowing up the world has become. This summer, we can expect to see some sort of epic ravaging of our cityscapes in everything from Ghostbusters to Ninja Turtles and beyond (literally, it'll happen on other worlds in Star Trek: Beyond).
It just doesn't mean anything anymore. Additionally, in the case of X-Men, as Marvel's Captain America: Civil War demonstrates, franchises now have to deal with the consequences of the havoc that these characters wreak.
It's also notable that Deadpool had relatively shallow stakes: Wade Wilson wanted to get his face back and return to his hot girlfriend, and the villain Ajax was not fond of being called Francis. Yet they resonated for the audience.
The lesson is: Just make something personal for the characters. If they care, we'll care…And stop knocking down the San Francisco bridge.
Here, Drew McWeeny and Roth Cornet talk about all of the action scenes they want to see BEFORE ever seeing the world blow up in a movie again.
Take a look in the player above or below and chat with us here or on Twitter.