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Why has mainstream cinema suddenly become so dark? The obvious reason is 9/11, but ageing audiences and Asian influences have also played a part

By Mark Cousins   January 2007

As Prospect’s multiplex moocher, I would like to report a trend in mainstream cinema: it has darkened, both thematically and psychologically. The trailer for Spider-Man 3 shows that in the next instalment, arachno-man merges with a black creature from another world. The film’s tagline is “the battle within.” In 2005, Star Wars: Episode III depicted Anakin Skywalker’s own battle within. The same year, Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins saw his parents slain and had a traumatic experience in a dark cave, setting him on his, and the film’s, tenebrous course. Also in 2005, The War of the Worlds was so…

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