I watched Iron Man the other night and I decided that I'm tired of sequels and remakes and movies based on comics (The Dark Knight is an exception). The list of the highest-grossing films over the last eight years or so is dominated by sequels and "franchise" movies (The Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Spider-Man, Shrek). These are just the most successful; there are many that simply suck (Fast and the Furious, the Scary Movie franchise, Fantastic Four, X-Men, Rocky VI, Rambo IV, Ocean's 11, 12, and 13, and so on). Where is film as art? Genre films, like the above, lack quality. The movie studios and producers understand that their main audience is 18-25 year old males, so explosions, "flash," and sex abound.
I liked Juno. I liked Little Miss Sunshine. I liked Million Dollar Baby. These were all nominated for Best Picture Oscars (Million Dollar Baby won), but they are not atop the highest-grossing film list. It's the difference between art and entertainment. Curiously, I think The Dark Knight is so successful because it is able to bridge a gap between art and entertainment, explosions and philosophy. I'd say the same about The Matrix, but The Dark Knight is far more serious.