But comic book fans need to feel perpetually beleaguered and disenfranchised, marginalized by phantom elites who want to confiscate their hard-won pleasures. And this resentment — which I have a feeling I’m provoking more of here — finds its way into the stories themselves, expressed either as glowering self-pity or bullying machismo. There are exceptions: Mark Ruffalo’s soulful Hulk (though not Eric Bana’s or Edward Norton’s); most of the X-Men. But even that crew of mutant misfits turned protectors of humanity exists in a circumscribed imaginative space.
That’s from the New York Times’ discussion between movie critics A. O. Scott and Manohla Dargis about superhero movies and comic book culture. There’s lots of sweeping statements in there, but this one stuck with me as being close to the truth.