Sanguinaire E wrote:This exchange above seems to reflect a common misconception. Namely, many people think that the only adventure film protagonists who take lives include R-rated films starring reactionary Republicans. However, most film protagonists that I can think of take the lives of their opponents, or the main opponent otherwise dies at the end of the film, even in PG or PG-13 films. This does not automatically get one an R-rating. Nor, despite what some people think, does it make you a Republican, even though many people associate this with Republican reactionaries (who mostly have not had their films in theaters in the last ten years).
Omega Man wrote:
Least liked: SUPERMAN RETURNS. (Actual quote from the oldest nephew: "His costume is stupid.")
They were right; Singer's redesigned costume with the three-dimensional "S" and blue-burgundy tones was stupid. As to how the real Superman should appear, look no further than the Reeve films...which, when you sit back and consider, did add a great deal of depth to the character and were lauded by critics for that fact. The first two anyway. If one wants to make superheroes palatable to adults, that's the way to do it, by adding those extra layers of emotional resonance whilst simultaneously remembering one's young audience and the wholesome traditions built up over not just years but decades. That's great. Just leave the nihilism, psychopathy and navel-gazing at the door. Seeing Michael Keaton kill people right and left in BATMAN, which I hated even as a 9-year old, is a fine example of how far astray things have gotten. Who in their right mind would look to something like that for a role model?
Examples: Indiana Jones (remember he cut the rope bridge), Luke Skywalker (blowing up the Deathstar), etc.
Thus, in most adventure films, the main opponent dies. However, I can think of a few counterexamples where in a film the main opponent did not die.
Doc Savage (in fact, in prose, after his first few adventures, Doc Savage may have started the technical pacifist trend); brainwashes his main enemy into reforming
The Saint (1997), even though the prose version had no such qualms about taking a life, in this film, both main opponents live to stand trial
The Harry Potter films?
Masters of the Universe: We find out that Skeletor did not die in a post-credits scene (whether or not he counts as undead serves as another matter-this happens when you make a distaff Thulsa Doom)
Obviously, films based on comic strips and comic books generally (or at least one would expect them to) have protagonists who would generally refrain from taking lives, so Luthor has survived all live action Superman films he has appeared in since the 1970's. Similarly, Magneto has survived all live action X-Men films (did Mystique?) in which he appears.
Note that I do not count the original Star Wars trilogy as fitting in this deliberation, even though both a reformed Vader and the Emperor do not perish till the end of the last film, since those films serve as more of an integrated arc as opposed to just another pearl on a string, as some would say. Nor does the first TMNT live action film count, even though we retroactively find out in the next film that the Shredder did not in fact die.