I can't decide whether or not this is a new phenomenon, or whether I've just started to go to more action movies than I used to, but to me, this all seems like really lazy storytelling. A way to stretch a thin plot out over 2 hours. I guess before CGI it was the car chase. But I don't remember car chases taking up 40% of the movie, even in car chase movies.
And what are the options? Here is the upshot of my imaginary conversation with Hollywood:
Maureen: Why don't you show more character development?
Hollywood: Oh, that's hard. I'd have to think about these people. And hire good writers. Or at least listen to their opinions... N'ah, I'll blow something up instead.
Maureen: Okay, but clearly you should show some character growth? Haven't you read Christopher Vogler or Michael Hague? The main character should have an arc.
Hollywood: Did you not read my answer to your first asinine suggestion?
Maureen: So, you don't like doing character stuff... How about an interesting subplot?
Hollywood: But the audience might get bored or confused or go to the bathroom. I'd rather blow stuff up.
Maureen: Here's a novel idea. (No pun intended.) How about exploring other means to ending conflicts beyond fighting? Like, maybe diplomacy or actually talking about a problem?
Hollywood: What are you a commie or something? Let me know, because we have this list...
Okay, I guess I'm not getting through. But even one of my favorite directors, Guillermo del Toro relied a little to much on battle scenes during Pacific Rim. Although, for me, he got the balance close to right. In Pacific Rim, we learn something about all the characters, even the bad guys. We can tell the good guys from the bad guys during the battle scenes. We cared who won.
I can't say the same for a lot of action movies. (Don't even get me started on those Transformer movies... Okay, I only saw the first one, but that was enough.)
Last week I took my niece to see the new Superman movie and had to sit through it again (I know... but she really wanted to see it) and then we saw The Wolverine. And while Wolverine was better than Man of Steel, there were way too many long fight scenes, and while they didn't show any blood (that almost started to annoy me--there should be blood given some of the action) the squishing, gross, there-obviously-is-blood sounds were almost worse than seeing the gore.
And my niece sent me a link to this great "how it should have ended" video for Man of Steel. After seeing this, I completely concede the former cage match about Man of Steel to Molly. Yes. Why the hell didn't superman fly that phantom drive thing out into space???