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Humanity still means big business on the big screen

Is it any wonder why our newest model of heroism is in the shape of Chris Pratt? Granted, his breakout role as Parks & Recreation’s underachiever Andy Dwyer hardly made him an obvious choice, but that’s kind of the point.

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With Guardians of the Galaxy Pratt may have traded his beer gut for a different kind of six-pack, but it only served to make him more relatable on and off-screen. After all, everyone knows that the best (and by extension, most profitable) superheroes are tinged with age-old human imperfection. When social media is abuzz with the story of an autistic child identifying with Drax’s inability to understand metaphors, you know you’re writing the right kind of superhero. Without humanity we’re left with anti-plot; without humanity we’re left with Tr4nsformers.

But cinema’s search for ‘the real’ means we must also face the world’s inadequacies. Much to the chagrin of critics, The Inbetweeners 2 holds the record for highest gross on the opening day of a comedy in the UK. This shouldn’t come as a surprise; the puerility of its plot underhandedly articulates British disillusionment – a familiar feeling for more than a few of its audience members. It’s for this reason why the film generated £12.5 million in the UK in its first week alone.

Hope remains, however. Richard Linklater’s crossover hit Boyhood continues to be the year’s highest watermark for humanity in film, presenting the most relatable narrative trope of all: the ageing process. Meanwhile, through Frank’s titular character Lenny Abrahamson provides a graceful yet creative portrayal of mental illness.

Indeed, it didn’t take the loss of Robin Williams to rekindle the light in theatres; rather it served as a reminder that it will always be there – and sometimes in the most unlikely of places.

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