How to Do Violence in Movies Right

There’s so much violence in movies that it doesn’t even matter anymore.

People get hurt, nameless bad guys get killed, cities get destroyed and we’re just like, “Oh whatever.” Superheroes fight superheroes and we don’t even care. That’s because most movies are numbingly uncreative when it comes to movie violence. Most films just use violence for the shock and the spectacle (which can still be fun to watch when done well), while movies by Shane Black—Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, The Nice Guys—use violence awkwardly which is much more brilliant.

Obviously, not every movie can use awkward violence. We don’t want to see Captain America and Iron Man in a silly slap fight. We want to see armored suits and shields get broken. But as Nerdwriter explains in the video below, Shane Black’s brand of awkward movie violence is more creative and realistic, and it accomplishes more than a normal movie’s fight scene because it goes beyond the violence. We get more background on a character. We laugh. We learn more about the story. There are layers beyond just the violence.

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The violence in Children of Men and Saving Private Ryan was so visceral and realistic that it actually made me physically uncomfortable, whereas the violence in movies like Crank or Transporter always feel contrived and almost humorous... well, I guess in Crank that was pretty much the point.