Remember how every year that you watch the Academy Awards, you become accustomed to outstanding achievement awards for actors, directors and screenwriters? Have you ever noticed that the vast majority of the films included in the pickin’s are usually NOT action movies?
That is what I’d like to explore. Why is it that action films, while spectacular yes, are seriously underrated within the industry. I personally think that action movies don’t get the credit they deserve.
Here’s my evidence why.
- Serious filmgoers (you know, the ones that time their dinner to the next showing at the TIFF Lightbox theatre… yeah, I’m talking about you—the same people who probably also consider buttered popcorn a food group) go to the movies to witness magic happen onscreen. They typically look for drama or dark humored films—something definitely along the more “grown up” type films. You’ll rarely see a movie buff excited for the next Transformers. And the reason for this is because action films lack substance. They fall under the same storyline; they have a teeny tiny love interest, and a ton of stuff blows up. While yes, this is all true, we can’t forget about the fact that action films are made the spectacle. Side note: I took an action film class last year for my film studies major, and my professor insisted that action films are all about the spectacle. When we watch action movies, we expect a spectacular display of events, which we usually always get. Watch any Michael Bay movie, and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about (and as an added bonus, you get to stare into the eyes of Shia Labeouf… le sigh…).
- I think it’s easy for us, as audience members, to forget that action movies require a ginormous budget that other movies probably wouldn’t. You can’t blow up a skyscraper in Brooklyn or have three semi trucks collide simultaneously without some serious cheddar. The reason why a bigger budget is necessary is because the stunts are not only expected, they’re required. If I ever walked into the theatre of an action movie and not one single car swerved off the highway, I’d walk right out.
- This reason is a smaller, more shallow quality of why action films are way better than everyone thinks. I’ll whisper it to not sound like a complete tool… the actors who star in the films are usually extremely good looking. Hello, Matt Damon, Paul Walker, Will Smith?!!! Could you guys take your shirt off for the entire movie or…? While yes, this is a complete vain reason to watch an action film, but please… eye candy never hurt anybody, okay?
- Where else can you find scenes that are filled with non-dialogue? I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find scenes of just pure spectacle refreshing. Some movies these days try way too hard to be overly witty and understatedly clever that if often comes across as majorly desperado. The quick break from the dramatic sequences that most films offer these days is like sippin’ on some pink lemonade on a hot summer day. Sometimes you need to just sit back and watch a bunch of stuff explode on screen. It’s necessary for everyone’s well-being, I’m tellin’ ya.
- I like to think of action movies as the best kind of genre to please a big crowd of people. It’s your turn to host movie night with your girlfriends? Put on Iron Man. Having some relatives over to relax on the couch? Stick in The Terminator. Meeting your co-workers for an afternoon flick? Opt for Kingsman: The Secret Service. Trust me, if you’re ever in doubt of what to watch with a group of people, instead of spending an hour debating with everyone on what to watch (when this time could be used to oh, I don’t know… make some nachos for the group?!) take the easy route and pop in any Marvel movie. Seriously, any one will do. Not only are action films extremely entertaining, they’ll make you laugh with their quick sense of humor and wow you with their big budgeted stunts. You really can’t go wrong.
With movies like Ant Man, Fantastic Four, and Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, we’re never in a shortage of action films. And that’s a good thing. While action movies get shooed away because of their lack of plot line and character development, they make up with their downright outrageous displays and their totally over-the-top exhibitions.