Superheroes and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Test of First-Rate Intelligence

While reviewing Kick-Ass 2 for—the place I used to go for the late great’s wonderful writing—Mr. Ali Arikan made some sweeping statements about superhero films that not only insulted the genre and its fans, but also undermined the whole fabric of pop culture and criticism. So let’s try and put the pieces back together.

It’s important to note that I don’t care a thing about Kick-Ass 2. If Arikan found it “reprehensible,” it’s his duty as a critic to shout that warning from the rooftops of the interweb. The big missteps start in his second paragraph, where he digresses to bemoan the perils of reviewing this kind of movie.

If a critic takes a superhero movie seriously and chastises it for its shortcomings, fans pounce with the age-old...

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