It wasn’t always [this] bad.
In fact it’s the love of superhero movies (potentially fueled by years of being treated as “not a real genre” by the studios) which has gotten us into this deluge of “[blank] gets the powers/ability of [blank] and has to save the [blank] from annihilation.” Sometimes you get the quirky twist where they have a physical limitation [Blindness: Daredevil] or mental illness [PTSD: The Punisher, Disney: Moon Knight], but generally it is an anchor to a personal relationship/lover and city/country/planetary doom after a brief intro of powers/”coming of age” allegory. At least John Wick had a creative fuse-light. Pets are worth revenging (though it can be argued that they shouldn’t be farmed for fridging in general).
Look I get it. The concept of The Hero’s Journey aka The Monomyth aka the Story Clock is not news. Generally the plot is going to roll out the same as it always has, with a few notable auteur-fueled exceptions (Pulp Fiction and Memento where the “grab” is a scattered timeline revealing some massive twist or interconnection; The 6th Sense, where forced perspective hides the underlying truth of the sub-story, etc). There’s a business to run, here. The jobs of thousands of hands relies on films turning a profit, and that’s no small pressure.
That being said this feels a lot like the last gasp of the “Spaghetti Western” era, where a general look and feel was all that was needed to launch flimsy rockets at ever decreasing altitudes. I’m not going to open the fanboy flashmob gates of DC vs Marvel peak debate here, but it certainly feels to me like the best years are behind us with Endgame. I could still be wrong, with Gunn putting together another Guardians of the Galaxy for mass consumption and Deadpool teasing Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine…. but it all feels like so much fan-service.
I think that it might be worth a try to challenge the creativity of the writers with something ridiculous. Keep the same framework, but make some absolutely ridiculous concepts. I feel like the 80s may have been better at this, not in small part due to the copious amounts of cocaine moving through the industry at that time.
Art is more than just putting lines on a canvas to sell. If that was the only motivator, it’s possible that portraiture would be the solitary art form (possibly caricature). Do we really need to warp expression in the framework of efficiency and profit margin? When do we take a step back and see our means of accounting for “value” are distorting the very methods of humanity’s self-expression?