For whatever reason — perhaps Warner Bros. was focusing on its other superhero film at the time — Jeff Nichols‘ first studio film Midnight Special seemed to come and go fairly quietly earlier this spring. However, we named it one of the best films of the year thus far and we imagine it will segue nicely into a “cult” status in the years to come, another testament to the director’s much-needed brand of patient, well-crafted mythic filmmaking.
If one would like to explore the film further, Digging Deeper has done just that with a stellar new video essay in which they show how it offers “a piercing critique of modern big-budget filmmaking and the current cultural infatuation with the superhero genre.” The video goes on to argue how the film directly confronts the current tendencies of the genre in a potential rebuke of it overall, showing how Alton doesn’t want to bring destruction unlike many of our superheroes, and how his followers are obsessed with reclaiming a certain joy and exuberance (see: Hollywood’s obsession with bringing back one’s favorite characters and franchises time and time again).
Even if you don’t agree with the video essay, it brings quite a fascinating insight to the themes of the film and certainly a few I didn’t pick up on first viewing. So, even though there are a few superhero films left to go this year, we can virtually guarantee none of them will have a lens on the genre in this way. Check it out below (pay no attention to the X-Men framegrab), see another video essay on Nichols’ influences, which we discussed in great detail here, as well as our discussion.
Midnight Special is now available on VOD/Blu-ray.