Comic book movies aren't immature, so don't tell me I'm too old to watch them

Apparently, it’s time I retired my movie collection.

Not that I’ve lost interest in Jurassic Park, or no longer hanker to revisit Tim Burton’s Gotham City. It’s just that my film faves are not age appropriate – or so I’m told.

It’s time to grow up, to put away childish things. And once I’ve cleared the shelves and taken black bin bags bulging with Kick-Ass and Transformers discs down to my local charity shop, I can start collecting all over again.

Although to be honest I’m not quite sure what I’m meant to watch. I need the BBFC to introduce a new age category: perhaps ‘50’, signposting those films containing themes suitable for old codgers. In the meantime, as a sign of good faith, I’ll buy a copy of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and plan a movie marathon of slow-paced dramas about divorce and senile dementia…

Old age of Ultron
Amy Baer is the latest Hollywood bigwig to age-shame my movie habits. A former executive vice president of production at Sony Pictures, Baer is now running Landline Pictures, an indie studio that plans to target a demographic she says has been forgotten by major studios – the over 50s. Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, she noted:

‘I’ve always had an affinity for, as I like to call them, people movies as opposed to visual effects or, you know, superhero movies... movies that speak to a more mature audience that [are] about a phase of life that everybody reaches but that sometimes gets overlooked in the development and production process.’

Maybe I’m being overly sensitive (put it down to my age), but I think she’s echoing a line taken by Martin Scorsese back in 2019. The legendary director then famously dismissed superhero blockbusters, declaring them ‘not cinema’ and ‘theme park rides.’ His mate Francis Ford Coppola agreed, branding them ‘despicable.’

I could never invite either around for tea. They’d be horrified by my disc library.

I’m conflating a couple of viewpoints here, of course, but the unifying assertion is that superhero and VFX movies are somehow for youngsters, and that over-50s should know better.

As someone in said high-risk group, I respectfully disagree. It’s a lazy conceit – and just like the similar shorthand that ‘video games are for kids’ (various surveys from the last decade put the average age of a gamer at around 30-34, and over half of all adults aged 36-50 playing games) – it doesn’t stand up to much scrutiny.

The MCU may be crafted to ensnare young film fans but it clearly has multi-generation appeal. I started reading Marvel and DC comics in the late 1960s, and I’m invested in the mythology. I’ve known Peter Parker longer than I’ve known my wife.

The real issue isn’t that superhero movies are immature, it’s that studios tend not to favour older characters. But could that be about to change?

Michael Keaton, who last time I checked was older than I am, is reprising his 1989 iteration of Batman (pictured) in Andrés Muschietti’s upcoming DCEU project The Flash, donning the rubber suit again after a 30-year hiatus. And new on Netflix is Mark Millar’s Jupiter's Legacy, which recounts the story of superheroes who became powered in the 1930s, but are now The Old Guard.

If it's okay with Baer and Scorsese and Coppola, I quite fancy watching those. I just need to find some Sanatogen-flavoured popcorn first.